“Personal branding is all about building rapport at scale and rapport is one of the most fundamental sales techniques. Whether you call it personal branding or charisma, it’s a very powerful tool that veteran salespeople naturally employ to close more deals with less effort.” – Mark Roberge 

Digital technologies are clearly redefining how people and organizations market themselves today. We are living in times when India’s digital connectivity is expected to grow from 15 percent in 2014 to 80 percent access in 2034, with rural Internet users increasing by 58 percent annually. From virtual learning to online shopping, the digital reset of the Indian economy has seeped into almost every aspect of people’s lives.

As per a report by AnyMind Group, in India YouTube is influencers’ most chosen social media platform with about 68 percent of them being macro-influencers. The report also said that nano-influencers prefer Facebook and Instagram. And that is not all. Today, India has 357 million Facebook users, 201 million Instagram users and 24.5 billion Twitter users. This brings our attention towards understanding the importance of a buyer or customer’s journey and the need to improve one’s ‘personal branding’ to achieve this. Let us now delve deeper into personal branding by understanding what it means along with examples and tips to develop a successful brand. 

Understanding Personal Branding with Examples 

When one wants to define personal branding, normally the first thought that comes to our mind is of celebrities and business tycoons like Ratan Tata, Amitabh Bachchan, Virat Kohli or Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. What is less clear to a layman is that a personal brand can be of non-celebrities too. Every individual is a brand as their friends and family hold a certain perception about their overall personality which makes them a distinct brand. Personal branding is not only for celebrities or someone who owns a business, it is also crucial for any business coach or any person who wants the world to know their story. 

  • The process of influencing and creating the public perception of an organization or an individual is known as personal branding. In other words, it is a practice of marketing them and increasing their reputation as a brand with the help of unique selling proposition and consistency. 
  • The biggest myth people have here is that personal branding is all about a name and logo. However, the truth is, it is much more than that. It is how an individual promotes their own self, the unique combination of experience, skills, and disposition they want their followers to notice and storytelling which will help in building a digital reputation.  

Many experts believe that the best strategy for personal branding is creating fresh content all the time. However, examples stand testimony to the fact that creating more videos, audios or blog posts alone will not suffice. A content strategy and funds to advertise the content you have already generated works better. 

  • For instance, Paytm, mobile wallet and e-commerce firm spent rupees 600 crore on branding and marketing in 2016-17 and rupees 500 in 2015-16. The company also launched a rupees 50 crore advertising campaign across print, broadcast and social media for its mobile application. 
  • As per media reports, leading consumer companies in India are planning to spend up to 12 percent more on advertising and promotion year-on-year in the remaining financial year. Companies such as LG, Tata Consumer Products, Parle Products, Dabur, Marico, Haier, Emami and Voltas have said that they will use the unutilized budget in the first half of the fiscal year due to the second wave of COVID-19 to step up spending on sales, launches and expanding market share. 

Tips and Tricks to Create a Successful Personal Brand 

While most people understand the importance behind curating a personal brand, only a handful of them know how to create a brand that has substantial credibility. So, how can one work on an effective, profitable and authentic personal brand that attracts followers and loyal fans?  

  • Breaking down the creation process might help. It is critical to first get clarity on the goals and objectives. One must ponder over questions like what do they want to be known for and what do they want their brand to represent when their audience see or hear it.
  • Based on the inferences, one should implement those ideas while developing social media channels, presentations, service decks, and business cards.
  • To garner the attention of the audience and generate awareness for the brand, one needs to use different mediums such podcast, television interviews, digital publications, blog posts and online advertisements. The last step would include retaining the audience over the long term. This can be done by giving bonuses and discounts and sharing the reviews given by customers. 

With increasing competition in all industries, building a strong brand image has become a necessity as that enables the audience to distinguish a particular brand from others. However, creating a prestigious brand identity can be a tough row to hoe, but not impossible. 

  • Leveraging social media in the right way at the right time can yield fruitful results and amplify the brand. 
  • Creating interactive and engaging content is a prerequisite. 
  • Understanding the audience and keeping up with trends can help in building an online presence. 
  • As one lists the reviews given by viewers, it is crucial to focus on the negative ones as well. Paying heed to negative feedback can help in addressing the gaps and do better. 

When creating a personal brand, it is important to ensure that the social media platforms are consistent and present content that showcase the type of influencer one wished to become. 

  • Kusha Kapila, an Indian content creator and influencer with 2.2 million followers on Instagram is one of the best examples of someone who is consistent and serves her audience in various ways. She found her niche where she could take digs at the rich and address challenging issues women face in India today. By giving free content and sticking to her idea of branding, she serves her audience every day and is recognized as a successful social media influencer.
  • Another example is of Ankur Warikoo, a social media influencer who develops short videos and blogs on personal finance, startups, personal growth, and entreneurship. With 1.2 million followers on Instagram and 0.3 million on Twitter, he guides people on starting a business. The consistency in his content has helped in influencing many young professionals who wish to succeed. He time and again talks about storytelling which is an integral part of a founder’s journey. Considering storytelling as a personal journey, he has built a strong personal brand.
  • Vir Das, an Indian comedian and actor is known for taking a dig at politicians. Due to his witty and humorous content, audience can relate to his videos on social media and feel that he is one of their own. He has been successful in his personal branding due to consistency and topicality. His monologue on ‘Two Indias’ got global attention. Albeit his work has ignited controversies, he still remains one of the fearless comedians.
  • Other examples are Kenny Sebastian, Kanan Gill, Jay Shetty, among others. 

The Importance of Finding a Unique Selling Proposition 

If you have not created a personal brand yet and are planning to work on one, start by asking ‘what makes you different and what is the main message you want to convey to your audience or customers.’ 

  • One cannot write about personal branding and not mention the story of one of the most well-known brands – Coca Cola. The company’s successful branding story offers an insight for businesses looking to build their personal branding today. Coca Cola is built on the idea of bringing family and friends together and bringing happiness. Instead of focusing on products, Coca Cola sells the emotion that people can relate to. This brings more consistency in content creation and eliminates marketing related complications.

Being Topical and a Trendsetter 

  • Personal brand is a critical component for any individual or organization as its development can change their entire lifestyle. 
  • Almost two years into the pandemic, we have witnessed a significant change in the way the world operates. For instance, the coronavirus has pushed companies to make crisis related changes which entailed embracing technologies like never before. 
  • As per a survey by McKinsey & Company, there has been a quantum leap of three to four years in digitization of the customer and supply-chain interactions and the internal operations of companies. Moreover, there has been an acceleration of seven years in the share of digitally enabled products in their portfolios. 

Given the status quo, to make a successful and a long-lasting impression on your audience, it is imperative to invest in the development of a strong personal brand online. 

Thinking About the Way Forward

A quote by Accelepoint Webzine can conclude the discussion on the importance of personal branding in the 21st century – “Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of YOU when they think of your field.”

No individual or organization becomes a global brand overnight. It is a journey. A journey in which your audience or customer holds prime importance and brand always comes before the product. 

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