I shall begin with a simple question, ”What comes in your mind when I ask you to think about a KFC burger?” Apart from that drooling, does anything else strikes your mind? I will tell you what goes inside your mind, you visualize a “crunchy” bite with minimum spice. Am I right or am I not? You know what we call it, we call it “Branding”. It is not at all uncommon, its very natural to us that we link specific features to certain objects and when their names come up before us, we are suddenly reminded of its qualities.
Branding is a usual phenomenon in business world. It is also there in our personal lives but it is that we are just not aware of it. From getting up in the morning till late at night, we surround ourselves with all sort of ‘Brands’. Let us go for another example, I usually prefer eating ‘Parle – G’ along with tea. You may find it absurd to talk about Parle – G and what connection does it have with the topic of discussion. But believe me, it does have! When I hear the word Parle – G, I associate it with some qualities like ‘light’, ‘soft’ and tastes like baby food. You may say that there are a good number of mouth melting cookies out there like ‘Bourbon’ or ‘Hide & Seek’ and who can forget everyone’s favourite ‘Oreo’. But in spite of so many mouth watering cookies available in the market, no cookie can ever match the ‘baby food’ taste of Parle – G. I am not against other cookies but every cookie has its uniqueness which can never be replaced by another.
Now the question is that if we are so willing in creating a space for the products we create, then why should we spare ourselves? Are we not important as Parle – G or Bourbon? Do we not deserve a uniqueness like that? Why should we limit ourselves as a ‘Brand’ of some company, sharing its ideals and principles and why not becoming a Brand of life? Why should we live two different lives at the same time? Why can’t we celebrate our uniqueness both at home and office? This is where the concept of ‘Personal Branding’ steps in.
Branding happens everyday!
Remember the time your maternal or paternal uncle or aunt came to see you and what they said, “You look just like your mother, or your nose is like your father, or you have such a bad handwriting, you would surely become a doctor” Does all this sounds familiar? It happens with each one of us, everyday of our lives. We are branded to that extent that somebody else tells us what we must do in life.
Just like the products around us, we too are ‘Branded’ every single day of our lives. When our name comes up, people who know us, associate us with some characteristics which may be good or not, depending upon what we project outside. People mostly brand us when we are not around. There are multitudes of brands out there, some stay for long while others fade away soon, for some their features are so attractive that their fame comes before their name while for others, we need to do a lot of research. Same goes for us, if we are unique and attractive, then our fame comes before our name.
What is Personal Branding?
Branding was initially a common trend among Celebrities, Sports people, Businessmen and Politicians. Like we all know who is ‘Ambani’ or ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ or ‘Amitabh Bachhan’. We don’t need to do a lot of research about them, though distant from us but we know much about them. Personal branding means to create an authentic true copy of our self in front of others, promote it and make our presence feel in the world. It also means to create the ‘Unique You’ which never dies and is never out of trend. In other words when we consciously brand ourselves, we call it Personal Branding. We are not products, but we are no less than products if we allow others to brand us from their perspective. What makes us human is making the process of branding a living and conscious process and living it each day of our lives.
Personal Branding comes from ‘Authenticity’
We see M.S Dhoni choosing advertisements which promote his real life tag line as ‘Captain Cool’, he does so because it matches with his real self, with who he actually is! He is not pretending in front of cameras and when we see him, we know before hand that he is a man of patience and extraordinary calm. He is not leading two lives but what we see on the screen is actually close to what we are told about him. Similarly, Akshay Kumar promotes healthy lifestyle because it is something which really matters to him in his real life.
With Authenticity comes Uniqueness
Like it is said that no two DNA’s match each other, so is true when comes to Authenticity. When we are Ourselves, then we can never be a ‘Copy’, and when we are ‘Unique’, our place can never be replaced. Can this world have another Rajnikant? Of course not, there can be no replica of him, because he is one of a kind. We see that no two brands are absolutely alike, they are all different in different ways and exist side by side in the same market of life.
To become a Brand, Reputation must precede name
For instance, I need help from ‘Sadh Guru’, then do I need to enquire about him?. ‘No’! because his reputation is widespread and comes before his name. But how was it possible? Because with one tap of phone, I can know his entire world but if I need some spiritual advice from a less known mystic, then I would have to do a thorough research and there are chances that I wont trust him in the same way as I put trust in ‘Sadh Guru’. Though he may have all abilities which ‘Sadh Guru’ is blessed with, but just because there is no information about him nor anyone has heard him, he may tend to go unnoticed.
Reputation comes with a sense of Purpose
In order to show yourself and to create an indestructible space for yourself, you need to have a strong sense of purpose behind everything you say or do. There are people who post most carelessly on social media, their posts are so haphazard that one cannot make out who actually they are. This happens when we post things without a true sense of purpose.
Digital Presence makes you visible
Many people blame Social Media and think about it as waste of time. They take excessive pride in staying away from Social Media. But we don’t realize that today it is the perfect platform where our voice could be heard by using it wisely, we surely can create space in this world. Recently I was inspired by a dance team called ‘Team Naach’, a group of girls who reached to such height not solely by their hard work but by consistently sharing their videos on YouTube. They attracted a good number of opportunities by making a strong digital presence.
Say what you want to hear back and show what you actually do!
Whatever we may post on Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn, it must be in sync with our attitude. We are free to choose what we wish to share but there must be a ‘Why’, ‘What’ and ‘To Whom’, behind our each word. Also, what we show out there, must not be different from whom we actually are. Our relationships must be genuine and there is no room for pretension in world of Personal Branding even if you are the CEO of a great company! You must be what you actually are!
To conclude, I would simply say that now we have entered an era where ‘Personal branding’ must not be limited to just Celebrities or Businessmen, but it must be a universal phenomenon and each one of us deserves to use it to the best of our ability, because at the end of the day, we all wish to be heard and seen. We must always remember that the only thing which differentiates us from inanimate objects is our consciousness which no product has. We can be a piece of block hit by tags from all sides or I can jump to the drivers seat of my life and redefine the tags which I want to hear for myself. That is what makes us human. The ability to change and to create is what makes us human. Branding is passive but Personal Branding is pure creativity.