Brands are a legacy, they outlive people or products. For example, look at brand “U.S. dollar”. It is a global brand although it is just a piece of paper. When we think of Ratan Tata or N.R. Narayan Murthy, do we only look at their designations or are these personalities much bigger than their professional tags? They are industry stalwarts and leaders, not only chairmen. This difference is called personal branding.
You are not limited by your profession in India Inc. It is up to you to establish your existence. Corporate India needs leaders and the onus is on you to establish yourself as one. Otherwise, be happy to join the pack of followers.
Brand persona is not just your job. It is you as a human being. Here are a about a few critical brand attributes that you need in the corporate world:
Demonstrating leadership: The core objective of creating personal branding is to be noticed. And demonstrating leadership traits is critical to reach that goal. It is not dependent on your hierarchy, not dependent on your seniority, not dependent on anything external – it comes from inside. Whether you are convinced that you can lead and lead well. That trust makes all the difference.
Pursuit of excellence: Corporate India craves to see leaders who value excellence and will not rest till it is achieved. Compromise on outcome or quality is not acceptable. If you want to build your brand you need to be in pursuit of excellence — always.
Treasuring core values and ethics: Our core values and ethics make what we are. A fallen leader who compromises on the same can never regain his/her brand image. The core makes you and thus your brand persona needs to be true to it.
For students, it is critical that they identify their core competencies. Your core values, pursuit for excellence and leadership traits will only be effective once you know where you can demonstrate them. The process should be:
1. Identify your core area of expertise
2. Aim to excel at it
3. Try to build on brand attributes mentioned above
Be consistent. Do not imbibe any model persona that is not aligned with your core. Your brand image has to be yours and yours alone. College is a protective ecosystem; what lies outside is not so kind. You need to understand that your brand attributes will constantly be put to the test. It is only when you have managed to develop those attributes being true to your core that you will succeed in finally transforming yourself into a true leader. India needs leaders and stalwarts. Your personal brand needs to rise to the occasion!
The author is Head of Corporate Communications and Branding at mjunction, a Tata Group company.