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How important is personal branding

Your story Attract the right audience and reaction.

Your story Attract the right audience and reaction.   | Photo Credit: Mykyta Dolmatov

Personal branding is the new cool, and it starts with narrating your own story — succinctly, and with credibility

Recently, I had the opportunity of attending a storytelling session. The presenter was talking about how stories can liven up any presentation, and are probably the best way to engage your audience. I am a huge fan of stories, so I asked myself, who will tell my story? My story is my brand, and I need to narrate it well.

Personal branding is a subject I have discussed in this column once before. I return to it now, to highlight something I feel strongly about.

Creating a personal brand is not a choice, anymore. Brand ‘you’ helps in more than one way such as staying relevant in the job market, increasing your chances of growth and employability, building trust with your clients, and so on. Given the abundant reach of social media, it has become easy to put yourself out there and reach the audience you want to connect with.

Credibility is key

Most branding gurus will agree that you need to focus on what your brand represents and be credible for it. For the brand ‘you’, this essentially translates into mastering one area and building credibility around it. You would need to build one or two primary skills, expertise in a niche area and start telling a story about it.

For example, say, you want to be considered as an expert in a particular branch of technology or management — rather than calling yourself a ‘management consultant’, it would be better to narrow it down. Your profile needs to be specific, detailed and spot on.

Other than your profile, there are additional innovative ways to do it, depending on your area of expertise. You could start recording one-minute videos on your subject, write articles and post them online, contribute to forums with your opinions, host live chat sessions on platforms like Workplace by Facebook, and so on. There is much more credibility when you interact with your audience than just writing long descriptions about yourself. Videos and online conversations are highly interactive and give your audience the opportunity to offer feedback. It is a great way to show that their views matter. And in a way, they begin to participate in building your brand.

Now, while it is important to build a personal brand and let the world know about yourself and how it needs your skills, it is equally important to be credible. It is always better to ‘under promise and over deliver’, which means, do not exaggerate your accomplishments and skills. You must narrate your story with an understated elegance. This becomes significant, especially in a world where there are too many experts, too much competition, and almost everyone telling the same story. Testimonials from your colleagues, clients and other associates will also strengthen your story, as your brand is being endorsed by others.

Your brand stands to gain not just by establishing your story, but also by how you say it — with integrity, innovation and ingenuity. Whether you are someone trying to create your brand for the first time, or someone looking to add more value to it, remember to walk the talk, say only what you mean, and nothing else.

The writer is a poet and literary journalist. She also heads Corporate Communications at UST Global. Twitter: @anupamaraju

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:15:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/branding-yourself/article27183377.ece

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