In an era where virtually everything is at our fingertips, from acquiring new skills to facilitating seamless financial transactions, the smartphone has been the catalyst for a revolutionary change in society. In my opinion, when the first smartphone was launched, the tech revolution 2.0 began. Today, with smartphones being accessible to over half of the global population at an affordable price, they have evolved from a luxury to a necessity. Concurrently, social media has emerged as a powerful force shaping the lives of individuals worldwide.
People roughly on average spend 2 hours a day on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat and whatnot. Nevertheless, amid the massive rush of posts and updates, how many individuals have pondered the notion of branding themselves strategically for personal and professional gain? Today, I would like to delve into the realm of personal branding—a crucial factor for survival in this digital age.
Personal branding is essentially the art of presenting oneself to a target audience, showcasing areas of expertise or skills and positioning oneself as a formidable and impactful figure. The reputation one establishes in the eyes of a larger audience is intrinsically tied to effective personal branding. A recent study conducted by Harvard outlines five essential steps for building a robust personal brand, with a particular focus on aligning personal values with organizational goals and increasing visibility.
Identify Your Driving Force: The primary stage in developing an influential personal brand entails identifying one's genuine motivations and impulses. Understanding your passions and aligning them with your professional pursuits forms the bedrock of a legitimate personal brand. Develop this self-awareness to construct a story that effectively connects with your intended audience.
Align Your Values with Organizational Goals: Harmony between personal values and organizational objectives is pivotal in establishing a coherent and impactful personal brand. By ensuring that one's principles are consistent with the values upheld by the organizations with which one is affiliated, one not only cultivates an atmosphere of sincerity but also makes a significant contribution to the organization's ultimate goals.
Map Your Stakeholders: Identifying and understanding your stakeholders is a strategic move in the realm of personal branding. By recognizing those who have a vested interest in your professional journey, you can tailor your brand messaging to resonate with their expectations. By adopting this focused strategy, you increase your significance and impact within your professional network.
Make Yourself Visible: Visibility is crucial in a digital environment filled with data. Effectively interact with your audience by curating content with care, contributing to important discussions, and utilizing social media platforms to enhance your visibility. Maintaining a high level of visibility not only serves to validate your expertise but also strengthens the principles that are intrinsic to your personal brand.
Reflecting on my own journey, I embarked on the path of training at the age of 18, facing the initial challenge of convincing people to entrust me with opportunities. It was a mentor who believed in my potential and provided that crucial opening, catapulting me into a trajectory of growth. Starting with a single session for class 12 learners on career preparation, I steadily carved a niche for myself. Word of mouth became my ally, propelling me to where I stand today—imparting training to over 45,000 individuals, authoring a book on public speaking, and delivering talks at over a thousand conferences over the past 12 years. All of these accomplishments are a testament to the power of personal branding.
In conclusion, the digital era has ushered in unparalleled opportunities, and personal branding stands as a beacon guiding individuals through this dynamic landscape. It is not merely a self-promotion tactic but a strategic endeavour to authentically communicate one's values, skills, and expertise. In an era of constant technological advancement, developing a robust personal brand emerges as a strategic asset that not only provides a competitive edge but also enables one to make a lasting impression in a globally interconnected world.
One of the tools that I have been consistently using to share my thoughts with my audience has been YouTube. Here is an example video that I created for my learners.
What's the point of a Personal Brand - A Harvard Case Study - Link