Authentic Personal Branding
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Authentic Personal Branding

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Authentic Personal Branding

Interwiev with Dr. Hubert Rampersad


Authentic personal branding starts with the real you. Hubert Rampersad explains how to create a professional brand from your personal values


With all of the social media opportunities today, personal branding is frequently being used not just in personal, but also in professional roles. It can be quite a dilemma for people to brand themselves successfully without losing their real selves in the process.


I am frequently asked questions about branding because of my success at "marketing me." For a different perspective, I called Hubert Rampersad, an authority on authentic personal branding, and asked about his thoughts on the subject. Rampersad recently wrote a best-seller entitled Authentic Personal Branding: A New Blueprint for Building and Aligning a Powerful Leadership Brand. In it he provides a sorely needed guidebook that shows us all how to build our own authentic personal brand—and just as important—how to persuasively communicate this brand to the world.


Hubert and I talked about his blueprint for authentic personal branding, the connection it has with personal brand coaching, and how his holistic system helps to attract success, build credibility, separate individuals from the crowd, and cultivate happiness. Edited excerpts of our conversation follow:


Hubert, what is authentic personal branding?


The image of your brand is a perception held in someone else’s mind. Personal branding entails managing this perception effectively and influencing how others perceive you and what they think of you. Building an authentic personal brand is an evolutionary and organic process that should emerge from your search for your identity and meaning in life. It is about getting clear on what you want, giving it all your positive energy, doing what you love, and improving yourself continuously.


What are the benefits of an authentic personal brand?


Having a strong authentic personal brand is an important asset in today’s online, virtual, and individual age. It is the key to personal success, and it's the positioning strategy behind the world's most successful people, such as Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates. Everyone has a personal brand, but most people don't manage it strategically, consistently, and effectively. It's important to take control of your brand and the message it sends, as it will help you distinguish yourself as an exceptional professional.


How does your innovative approach differ from traditional personal branding concepts?


Traditional personal branding concepts focus on personal marketing, image building, selling, packaging, outward appearances, and self-promotion. As a result, people may perceive you as egocentric and selfish. Rather, your personal brand should be authentic—it should reflect your true character. It should be built on your dreams, purpose, values, uniqueness, genius, passion, specialization, characteristics, and favorite activities. If you are branded in this organic, authentic, and holistic way, your personal brand will be strong, distinctive, relevant, meaningful, and memorable. You will create a life that is fulfilling, and attract the people and opportunities perfect fit for you. This new approach places more emphasis on understanding yourself and the needs of others, and how to meet those needs while staying true to your values.


You mentioned that your system entails a guide for turning personal financial crisis into opportunity. How do you see that working?


Especially in times of financial crisis you need to be independent and redefine yourself in order to create and attract new creative opportunities. Remember what Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" Now is the best time to engage in meaningful dialogue with yourself and to build your personal brand to better master the financial crisis with your unique value proposition. This can be realized successfully according to my four-stage authentic personal branding model.


Based on your approach, how do you build, maintain, and cultivate an authentic personal brand?


Building an authentic personal brand consists of four phases:


1. Define and formulate your personal ambition. This means [assessing] your personal vision, mission, and key roles—and make them visible. It is about developing self-awareness and identifying your dreams: who you are; what you stand for; what makes you unique, special, and different; and what your values are.


2. Define and formulate an authentic personal brand promise that you can use as the focal point of your behavior and actions. Your personal brand statement entails the total of your ambition, brand objectives, specialty, service-dominant attribute, and domain.


3. Formulate your personal balanced scorecard. The emphasis at this stage is to develop an integrated and well-balanced action plan based on your personal ambition. It's about translating your personal ambition and brand into manageable and measurable personal objectives, milestones, and improvement actions in a holistic and balanced way.


4. Implement and cultivate your brand. Personal branding has no value unless you make it a reality. So create and maintain your brand effectively.


What does Google say about you?


If brands matter more than ever (and they do, just ask Apple, Starbucks and Twitter), then the ability for individuals to build a personal brand has never been more important. Maybe the idea of "branding yourself" seems ridiculous. It's not. It's a subject that famed management guru and author of the best-selling business book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters, first tackled in 1997 for an article in Fast Company magazine titled, The Brand Called You.


"Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. ... You're every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop... To start thinking like your own favourite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times."


Peters gave us the beginning of an insight: like big corporate brands, all of the people we connect with have some kind of similar emotions and thoughts when they think about us as people. That mental tattoo that our personas and reputations create in their mind's eye is the essence of our personal brand.


But Peters wrote this in a world where individuals were limited by how they could spread their personal brands - the Internet was just taking its commercial shape in 1997. Now, in a world of Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, our personal brands are resonating 24-hours-a-day, and the content we put in there and link to says more about who we are, as individuals than any one-page resumé ever could.


There's a small caution.


People working on their personal brand sometimes seem a little snake-oil salesy-like. They would state that they were working on their personal brand in a way that made it look like they were trying too hard. They were the same kind of people who manoeuvred through the local chamber of commerce event dumping business cards in any available and open hand No need to be that person.


The amazing thing about developing your personal brand online in social networks and by blogging, is that you can hone in on connecting with those that have shared values and similar interests.


One of the best places to get started is a search engine. Start looking for blogs in your industry, and start following some of the more notable people on Twitter. After you get a feel for the type of content people are publishing, you can dip you toes into the personal branding waters by leaving comments on those blogs or spaces. You can even go neck deep and start your own blog to demonstrate your own, unique, perspective.

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