Cocacola and Safaricom are two words that pretty much resonate with many people including kids, perhaps because of the strong brands they have struggled to build over the years. Cocacola itself began in 1886 and I bet they would sell everything but not the trademark – because building a brand is not as slopy as anyone with a middling view would think!
Branding has long been relegated to companies but as individuals, we do have brands as well. Your personal brand is how people see you, how they’d describe you. It is simply the set of characteristics and values that describe who you are and guide your choices in life. Your personal brand is what makes you, you. It is that je ne sais quoi that people know you for. A robust brand is preferrable to one that is uninteresting and unpolished.
I recently went for an internship interview with KCB Kenya and was asked to say how people describe me ‘out there.’ What a phenomenal question? I told them this: “Majority of people I come into contact with say I look older than atually I’m, because the level of self-actualisation and maturity portrayed by me is not something you would expect in 21 year olds, I tend to carry all my dealings professionally and I don’t reasonably justify activities and behaviors that are frankly mediocre.”
Building a signature brand might sound elusive to young people but it is really an important ingredient for your personal growth. The image you take on reflects the person you really want to become, it relflects on your beliefs, values and dominant thoughts. And it is not all about faking who you are – all show and no substance, it involves genuinely representing to the world the real, best you. Building your brand on your true strengths allows you to discover exactly what makes you fascinating which will help you to navigate your road to positive recognition.
The mode and capacity in which you represent yourself on social media can make or break your image. Are you the guy who imports sordid pictures from Kilimani women’s facebook page and distribute ad naseum to WhatsApp groups you come across? Well, you may delude yourself to be that creative and funny but it just dents on your image. You create an impression to the rest of the world that your mind reasonably justifies activities and behaviours that are frankly mediocre and low quality. Building a strong brand will require you to monitor on an ongoing basis how you appear and come accross online and to improve upon whenever and wherever possible.
Infuse your personality, values, passions and beliefs to your everyday behaviours. People should know you and identify you with a specific area of understanding, behaviour or expertise, which will make you the go-to person in your industry. Branding will also help you to build authority and following. Building a recognizable personal brand creates a vision for your future and also opens professional opportunities.
As you struggle to sharpen your personal brand, folks will begin to see that you are important and interesting and they will begin to invite you to be a part of their stories.
Meanwhile, I’m thankful that you continue to read OneStepBeyond. This blog is nothing without my audience who keeps me going and inspired.