By Priya Sarkar with K S Ramanan
It’s been a journey of learning… and we’re ready to take stock. What have you learned along the way? What’s working? What’s not? What do you need to change? Where do you need to put in more? And so on.
This is a really important step in the whole process of building your personal brand; one that you may need to visit periodically so that you stay firmly in the driving seat. It’s almost like looking into the rear-view mirror and ahead at the same time. The retrospective view helps you to navigate the way ahead!
Inspect: turn the magnifying glass onto yourself
There come (or we make them come!) times in life when we turn inwards to introspect; in your brand journey, you need to do this and also look back on the ground covered. Sometimes this is a time of reckoning, sometimes just a simple evaluation. How do you do this?
- Maintain a log: this captures key milestones on your journey. They could be the smallest to the most important ones i.e. participating in an event to publishing your blog to counts of views/likes/comments you got to public recognition and media coverage etc.. Looking back at this ‘brandscape’ will give you a great sense of all that you did and achieved.
- Review feedback: earlier in this series we spoke about getting feedback and mentor inputs. This may be a good time to check back on these and see if you were able to act on them or why you chose not to act on them!
- Revisit your roadmap: among the first things you did was to create your personal roadmap; how close have you stayed to this? How far have you strayed? How do you feel about either?
Iterate: there is always another opportunity, another way!
Based on what you see per the above exercise and based on what you like or don’t like, you may want to look at iterations.
If something worked well, you would want to repeat it. So, look for similar opportunities to capitalize on your strengths. If a talk resonated with your audience, it may be a good idea to sign up for more such forums and work on variations of the content that you can share. A particular article that got the highest response may be where you want to work your brand by doing more of the kind.
Conversely, something didn’t work well but you are convinced that it’s the right thing to do as part of building your brand, what do you do then? Here’s where the feedback bit comes in – did you not do a good job of it even though there is potential? Do you need to change the way to do it? Is the timing for it right?
An aspect to be mindful of here, as you iterate, is to watch out for the ‘comfort zone’ syndrome. You may unconsciously (or consciously) stick to a particular medium or style because a) it has done well or b) you are most comfortable doing it. Evaluate if this will help or hinder your brand; a little deviation or variety may not be bad!!
Invest: put your money (and more) where your mouth is
It may be time to count your chickens! What began as an experiment may be now working well enough to invest more in. Investments can be in money, time or effort or all of these. Clearly your assessment of your successes so far, the viability of your journey and the future you envisage will prompt these investments. However, you may have done very well and may still feel that no further significant investment is merited… and that’s completely fine if you are fine!
Another yardstick for making investments is how your peers/competitors in the field are doing, or rather what they are doing. If someone is benefitting hugely from creating and running a professional website, while you are chasing straws in the wind and trying to get a presence everywhere, it may be worthwhile to consolidate your presence on a similar powerful platform. On the other hand, you may not see that extra money and effort spent adding to what you are doing and already getting. So, this is where you make the choices, always keeping in view how every action and investment gets you closer to your goal.
Read further >>> Interesting insights on investing in your brand
Coming up next week: K S Ramanan’s true-life account of how he has been developing his website using some of the principles mentioned in this post.
It’s critical to do periodic stock-taking of your brand journey
Evaluating past milestones will give you pointers on what and how to go ahead
It may also be the time to choose if you need to make further investments to where you are headed