By Priya Sarkar with K S Ramanan
In the last article, Building Your Personal Brand: the 3 R’s – Reality check, Roadmap, References, we spoke of a self-reality check on aspirations versus reality, creating a personal brand development roadmap and building the right networks that will support your brand.
To follow, we had K S Ramanan’s inimitable account from his personal archives that brought these aspects come to life.
Let us move further down the road; this time it is the 3 P’s: Preparation, Positioning, and Persona. Let’s take them on.
Preparation: the devil is in the detail!
Your personal brand is important – no, critical – to you; and you want it to unfold perfectly to your audiences. So, a little preparation is warranted. Actually, a good amount of preparation is mandated!! How does one prepare, and what does one prepare, you may ask. Broadly, a few things listed here, but you could have many more… it’s your brand, and the sky is the limit to what detail you want to put into it!
a) Researching: So, you’ve figured that you have the talent, the commitment, the core elements and attributes that will make your personal brand, be it that of a sharp business magnate, a young corporate professional wanting to make a mark or a gifted artiste. Where do you start? Reading and researching your role model in your field is often the best way; you learn of their endeavors, the things they did right, the ones they didn’t, their style, distinctive characteristics that set them apart, etc.. If you have the fortune of meeting with them, you will be forgiven many fangirl/fanboy moments if you ask them the right questions that could help you. If you are even luckier and can get to shadow them for a few days, you could get valuable insights into what makes them tick. Make notes, mentally or otherwise, and incorporate the tips you pick up into your brand ‘language’.
b) Coaching and mentoring: Now, here’s the tricky part; your brand is not always what you see in the mirror; it’s what it appears to the other person. A good way to know what’s working or not is to get ongoing feedback from a knowledgeable, trusted (AND candid!) person. If you want to invest a little more into building your brand, you could even go in for a professional coach who could also become an ongoing guide.
Read further >>>How to Find (and Keep!) a Mentor
Positioning: being in the right place at the right time
Just as commodity brands are all about positioning, yours is too! If you hide your light under a bushel, there is no brand proposition; you want to position and project yourself.
Now, don’t let this daunt you! It’s not about being in the spotlight; it’s only about being seen in the right light. At work, you want to make sure that you are included in the right meetings with the right people. As an expert in your field, you want to mark your presence at the right forums, seminars, exhibitions, conferences. As an opinion-maker, you want to be on the right social media platforms. Positioning is a lot about association. If you are consistently seen in the right environment, whatever that may be to your personal situation, you get positioned the way you want, simply by association.
This works conversely, too. Having the wrong association or positioning detracts from your brand. The more you do it, the more your brand consistency is dented. So, watch for the actions and places that will go contrary to the brand you are building.
Persona: masks are not always bad!
Persona is a mask or role that someone dons for a purpose. You may want a certain persona for your public self that aligns with the brand view you have of yourself. Most often, our persona has to fit in with our occupation or profession. For instance, a rock star may be shy and introverted, but his brand demands that he comes across very differently in the public domain. As a professional at work, I need to meet and mingle with a number of people and I have to consciously be pleasant, correct and outgoing. At home and with my dear ones, I may be moody and quiet (not necessarily what you want to be!), but if I were to do this at work, my personal brand would be very off!!
Figure out what is expected and right for your brand with your audiences and work on that persona. The caveat here being we are not talking of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome. We are simply urging you to bring in the ‘plus’ factor that will add to your brand and to your authentic self!
Coming up next week: K S Ramanan’s illustrative true-life account of a leader who happened to pick the wrong battles and the consequent impact on her brand.
1. Do prepare for the brand you want to build… read and research role models!
2. Positioning happens by association – be in the right place at the right time
3. Your preferred persona must align with the brand you build for yourself