In the former times, branding involved the burning of marks on livestock, slaves or criminals as a form of identification or differentiation. The meaning of the concept gradually evolved and became a phenomenon in marketing which includes putting a logo or trademark on a product to give it an identity, differentiate it from other products and make it more discernible. In recent times, branding is now defined from a customer-centric perspective and it is viewed as the mental association customers have with brands. A brand can be a product, a person or a company with a mental or emotional connection to its target audience. However, this article focuses on the type of branding that has to do with individuals personal branding.
Have you ever wondered why David Beckham is overly idolized even among non-football lovers or why Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs is still among the most loved hip-hop megastars in the world? These celebrities are not just individuals with money and fame; they are brands with financial value, they are businesses that can be franchised and their names sell products and services they endorse. This is what personal branding entail, that is, transforming your individuality from a prosaic being to an adorable, influential and valuable entity. There are seven steps to becoming a brand and these steps are detailed below:
1. Define your identity and stick to it
Your identity is who you are. It is what sets you apart and makes you unique from others. Two people cannot have the same identity in this world; the more reason why you have to clearly define yours and know who you are. As a brand expert, I am well aware that, your brand identity encompasses your brand personality, values, norms and beliefs. Therefore, who you are, is a summation of your kind of person, how you act or behave, your attitude, what you believe in, the things you do and how you do the things you do. It is imperative to define that identity you want people to see and differentiate you with. In order to become a brand, you must define who you are and love that identity you have created for yourself. Never have the cause to change who you are even if people seem puzzled by it.
2. Exude confidence all the time
A confident person is always the subject of esteem and respect from others. Confidence is like deodorant, its scent brings forth awe and admiration from people. There is nothing more appealing than the confidence you exude when you speak, walk or interact with people. Never be the type with low self-esteem no matter the flaws or shortcomings you have as no one dwells on this earth without imperfections. Be the type who is confident of his/her identity and imbibe the culture of showing it to the world that you love who you are, what you do and what you stand for. People might mistake you for an arrogant or cocky person but don’t worry, they will get to know the confident you when they get close, as people who judge from a distance can’t tell who is who.
3. Strive to stand out
Make it your point of duty to be unique and different from others. When others go right, go left. When others wear black, put on white. It is not only a matter of doing things the opposite way but desisting from following the crowd. When you are around people who are accustomed to a mundane way of life or method of doing things, you can create your own method or invent your own way of life. That uniqueness will make you easily recognizable. You will always be the subject of attention and people won’t have a choice but to notice you.
4. Appearance matters; personality is everything
Good appearance will sell you; good personality will get them hooked on you. People say looks attract the eyes while personality attracts the heart and I tend to agree. The first thing people judge you with is your appearance, level of appeal and suaveness (swag), therefore you must endeavor to look attractive if you want to create an impression. You don’t have to be a fashionista to dress well neither do you need to spend your life savings on your wardrobe. Nevertheless, you should invest some time, interest and money into your appearance. Since people will always judge you by appearance anyway, you might as well give them something good to judge you with.
Good personality is key in personal branding. If your attitude stinks, no matter how good you look, you will become extremely repulsive to people. You need to have the right personality, good attitude and positive demeanor. In marketing context, while brand image is how the customers perceive you, brand personality means how you want to be perceived. You are responsible for designing your own brand personality and the type of personality you create will inform the type of brand image that is formed in the minds of customers or how people perceive you. In other words, the opinions people form about you, their impressions and your reputation will largely depend on the kind of personality you project to them.
5. Always leave a mark
Anywhere you go or wherever you find yourself, be it among your colleagues, amidst a group of friends or a team, you must give them something positive to remember you by. There has to be that thing that you do or say that makes you unforgettable. People should feel your absence and miss your presence when you are not around. That thing they miss you for or remember you by will keep you in their minds. It is called unique selling proposition in brand marketing. It is that value you possess and distinctively offer. The absence of that value automatically increases the demand for your presence.
6. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s
Forget about attaining perfection, that attempt is a futile one. Just focus on being you all the time and work on your flaws. Indulge in constant self-evaluation to ascertain your strengths and weaknesses. Carry out a SWOT analysis on your self and look at how you can increase your strength and decrease you weaknesses. Any area where you seem defective, try to correct the flaw and improve.
7. Occasional self-adulation- Toot your horns at times
You have to be your own advertiser at times. If you don’t toot your horns, no one will do it for you; therefore you must enhance brand recognition and awareness by subtly talking about your abilities, achievements or accomplishments. But be careful, people don’t like braggarts so while you blow your trumpet aloud, make sure you don’t over do it. Be tactful and modest about it; self-adulation must be succinctly expressed and sporadically communicated.