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Brand yourself

by J Devarprakash
Indian Management March 2024

Whether you know or not, whether you like it or not, you are a brand. Your ‘branding’ happened soon after you were born, and has happened through the various phases of your life. In this age of branding, it is not just companies and products but also people who need reputation management.

Whether you know or not, whether you like it or not, you are a brand. Your ‘branding’ happened soon after you were born, and has happened through the various phases of your life—a crying baby; a silent kid; the smiler; the moody; and many more moods. From toddler to childhood to adolescence to adulthood to middle age to old age, as you go through the human life cycle, your branding travels along with you at all stages. And, usually, this branding lasts till your end. It can be beyond that, if you are exceptional. In this age of branding, not just companies and products need reputation management, but people do as well. While companies and products crave branding for getting a hold in the marketplace, people require it to have an identity in workplace or society.

Personal branding

What others largely think about you based on your attitude, knowledge, quality, morale, values, nature, work, commitment and so on is known as your ‘Personal Branding’. Jeff Bezos, founder of the world’s largest e-commerce and cloud computing company, Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” For instance, look at the brand ‘Homi J. Bhabha’, the founding father of India’s nuclear power programme. His dynamic personal branding raised him as an internationally renowned personality. He was a nuclear scientist, but he was also recognised as a visionary, artist, and an ardent nature-lover. His personal brand value led India to enter the sophisticated list of countries having scientific prowess. Even today, after several decades of his time, brand ‘Homi Bhabha’ lives on.

Understanding the relevance of personal branding

Personal branding remained a lesser-known subject until management expert Tom Peters came up with his startling essay The Brand You in 1997. Since then, it became an intriguing part in management and personality development studies and is now regarded as a distinctive field. Though the concept of personal branding is relatively new, several organisations and people who have realised its relevance in business and workplace are employing personal brand strategies and are reaping its benefits. Consider the brand ‘Ratan Tata’: He is known more as a philanthropist than as an industrialist. Drawn by his personal brand that reflects his vision, leadership, nationalism and commitment to social causes, over 126 lakh people follow him in social media. Besides the fact that he is one among the most admirable personalities, his products and organisations have also gained high reputation among the public.

Brand yourself—if you don’t, others will

Your personal brand is a significant trait that travels along throughout your life, but you hardly manage it, leaving it to others and circumstances. Understanding your own brand and managing it yourself will undoubtedly help in many ways —achieve self-realisation, improve performance, job satisfaction, and of course, fame. Also, it often reminds you about your own strengths and weaknesses. And in organisations, it will pave the way for good work culture, improved productivity, and recognition. There are plenty of tested personal branding strategies to adopt. In fact, with the exponential emergence of social media you can build your brand overnight. It is much easier to obtain than maintain. Therefore, the key is consistency. Remember, your organisation is your identity. Immerse yourself into the system, values and ethos of the society or workplace. Amidst these, try to find a place for yourself.

Here are some ways to steer your personal brand along with that of your organisation:

  • Be passionate towards your work

Be fanatical about whatever you are today and try to give full justice to the work you have been assigned. With the ambition to achieve something you might have joined an office. But things might not work out the way you had planned. In such a circumstance, you have two choices other than leaving the job: one, you remain frustrated and work insipidly. Two, keep your annoyance aside and work passionately. Surely, choice two will make you stand out and will increase your reputation among your colleagues.

  • Appreciate others

Everyone is talented in one way or another. When one of your colleagues accomplishes a task, you be the first person to appreciate him or her. Acknowledging others’ work or ability is crucial in maintaining and retaining good personal relationship in the workplace.

  • Face challenges

Do not fear the challenges that come on your way in the workplace. Taking up challenging tasks will give you a chance to put your best foot forward at work. It will certainly allow you to network with new and more people and open up many opportunities. Face challenges, but take calculated risks.

  • Mere branding will not take you anywhere

A customer buys a brand new luxury car and drives it home. After a mile, the car comes to a sudden halt. After all his attempts to start the car go in vain, the customer calls the store manager in anguish. The manager, from the other end, politely replies that the car does not have an engine. Taken aback by this response, the customer asks the manager that how did the car ran for a mile without engine. The manager says, “Because of the brand value. “ This story is for those who believe that branding alone is enough to acquire esteem. Actually, your personal brand will take you only up to a mile, to move beyond that you must work consistently, and to move beyond with same reputation you must toil.

J Devarprakash J Devarprakash is the author of Brand yourself.

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