Posted by : Amitha Amarasinghe Thursday, July 29, 2010

personal branding


Branding; whether it is corporate or personal, is an art of managing what people 'think' and 'say' about you or your brand. In that sense, what matters most in branding? Here is my formula.

What matters most is what you think who you are. What matters next is what others say who you are. What matters least is what you 'say' who you are.

Unfortunately, most brands (personal or corporate) go on the exact opposite order of priority. They weight, 'what I say, who I am' as the most important factor in branding. Just look at an average TV commercial you see every day. It is guaranteed to be full of all 'self centric' corporate crap. Then talk (or chat) to an average 'personal brand' you know for quite a sometime. Again, you are most likely to be bombarded by a string of self-centric explanations of 'what I can do, and what I am planning to do'. Does this really matter?


Who I am? What Do I do?
I believe, before building any brand (personal or corporate) you have to be honest to yourself and answer the first question. "Who am I? What do I do?". Be honest as much as possible, and get a clear idea about what you think as the reason for your (or your brand's) existence. Because this understanding of ‘what is your stand among other brands’ is important for you to be in focus of what you are suppose to do best. If you know for sure what you stand for, then the competitor’s moves will not distract you.

Yes, it does matter a lot what others say about you (your brand). ‘What others say’ will immensely contribute to the positioning you or your brand is going to earn in the mind of customers. Mind you that, your customers will believe what others say about you, than what you say about you yourself. Isn't this the whole point of social media and word of mouth obsession? Marketers are going after social media this fanatically, because they know the importance of ‘what other people talk’ about you. So, in practice the old self centric and individualistic arguments like 'I don't care what others say about me or what they think of me, I'll do what ever I want to do' becomes no more relevant, if you are truly aspire to build a strong personal or corporate brand identity.

In essence, you have to listen to ‘what others say about you’ more actively and make sure they say good things about you. If you want others (your customers) to talk good about you, you have to be empathetic with them and their needs. Do not be so self centric and opportunistic, to sell something always to those who listen to you. Instead, take some time and see if you have been able to solve a problem for them, or if you have made them feel better. Think about that, if you have given your followers, fans, customers enough opportunities to talk to you.

So isn't it the right time to have a re-look at your communication to the world? Are you talking too much of yourself, without even taking a breath and letting yourself listening to what others say about you?

Take out all your marketing communication messages and see if this is the case with your brand's communication to the world. Now, this will be the starting point of a real social media branding strategy.



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