‘Did u hear what Ali say?’
‘The one whose always smiling’
‘Oh Jolly Ali’
You might come across conversations like these in offices, colleges/universities and social gatherings on a daily basis. Regardless of it being good or bad, we all have a habit of discussing our colleagues, classmates and relatives etc. We always attribute people on basis of what they are good at doing or what they repeatedly do. This becomes their identity or personality, something they are known for. So instead of letting people decide our identity we could make our identity by ourselves.
This phenomenon of attributing own-self is referred to as “Personal Branding”. It’s similar to general branding concepts and practices. A brand has a character, personality and charisma. In simple words it is building up and sustaining reputation for something and then people start recognizing and recommending you for that. The key is to live up to what we are known for. There arises a question: how to brand ourselves and why should we?
Why should we brand ourselves?
A very common emotion about brands is, we highlight and promote branded possessions. No one tries to copy an average person, people always go after brand personalities like rock stars, movie stars or social tycoons etc. because they stand out, they have that one thing that makes them prominent.
In a stagnant economy like ours, we don’t have very many jobs or opportunities to excel. We can create opportunities and capitalize them being prominent.
An idea escalated by an average employee doesn’t carry weight and appeal to make the top management pursue it seriously but same idea when presented by a shining star is immediately taken. Secondly the trust, management can’t afford to experiment on certain projects or tasks. So someone who’s not proven yet or his capabilities are unnoticed will have lesser chances of getting the assignment. We have thousands of housing schemes but we all know about Malik Riaz and trust his schemes for what he has delivered in the past (social and moral issues aside).
Branding our personality will offer brighter future prospects. A very common example is of a barber. A normal barber in any market charges Rs. 150 but another man who has made himself a brand and calls himself a ‘hair stylist’ charges thousands of rupees for same services. Brand is not something that only a foreign qualified or an elite class member can make. All it takes careful assessment of what you are, and getting so good at that, people start recognizing you for what you do rather than who you are. Steve Jobs is another example of a very successful brand, so successful that it overshadowed the organization.
It could be anything, from your technical knowledge at work to your adventurous lifestyle otherwise, from humility and friendships at work to your community service initiatives, from being innovative at work to independent research etc. branding yourself is realizing what you are good at and labeling, what you enjoy doing regardless of your career or job and adding style and charisma to that. This doesn’t mean that your passion should, in anyway, contradict your career or job, find a balance between the two. Be with right people who are capable to give you proper limelight that you require. Getting along with likeminded people doesn’t offer any value addition. In order to introduce your brand, you need to first get social acceptability among peers. Make your brand sound catchy and appealing so that people are attracted to it. Once brand is successfully introduced, all you need to do is to be consistent and do what you have to. Make your brand appearance count and noticed. Develop a new personality and character for the brand so that people follow you.
Transition from product to brands takes time, hard-work and consistent effort. Branding yourself, as I see it, is personal-development. There’s a huge difference in being unique and prominent, for unique you have to possess extra qualities and skills but for being prominent, all you need is action. This wouldn’t offer immediate success, but eventually lead to the path of success. An idea about how to shine on corporate skies among other stars.