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POV:Don’t ignore your personal brand!

Date: 02/28/2017

Author: Elena Badea - Marketing Strategy Consultant


Why is it good for you to build your personal brand? Because it is your right to define you as an individual. Where cultural models favours the individual and then the community, the personal brand derives from the right of expression. When you have the freedom to express who you are and what's important to you, in fact, you tell the entire world what are your values.
Personal brand in the VUCA world

VUCA is the name given after 2008 to the business environment which became volatile, marked by uncertainty, complex and ambiguous. In this world value works as an anchor, and the systematic and relevant delivery of value to each customer segment makes you to be favoured in their options. In other words, whether you are an entrepreneur, employee or freelancer, your personal brand, in addition to solid skills, competencies and the qualities that make you unique, gives you a positive differentiation and credibility.

Personal brand and personal values

The personal brand is a promise of value. It is your individual brand values that differentiate you. If your ID defines your identity from an administrative point of view, your personal brand attests the identity created by the expression of your values in the public space.

Your personal values reflect our perpetual aspirations and needs and allow you to focus your actions towards the fulfilment thereof. Each value is rationalized as a set of beliefs which justify it. Altogether, they form your system of values and beliefs. When you build your personal brand starting from you key personal values, authenticity is a natural and normal result and the differentiation effect is immediate.

Expressing personal values comes with a great responsibility. It's good to be accountable to what values you promote around so as to build a better world. Your personal brand is anchored in personal values, but has a different means of expression depending on the personal or professional goals that you have.

A young man who wants to become an entrepreneur will choose other channels of personal brand-building than a colleague who wants to become a famous lawyer. Career goals will make the strategies and methods chosen to build the personal brand to be very different in the two cases given as examples.

To build your personal brand is good to have a goal and to structure all activities so that you can achieve it. So, your personal brand contains the right to express your individuality, responsibility and targets.

Personal brand versus corporate brand

From another perspective, this time using the professional life’s lens, the personal brand also contains a freedom an employee may want to differ from the company's brand. The people we meet would be good to talk to us first for what we are, not for the company we are working with.

Since the company's image is often louder than the one of the individual, there is a risk of false interactions. When the employees of various companies meet, it is not a meeting of the people there, but of the company brands, functions and resources behind them. There is the impression of a personal relationship that actually had never taken place. Well, with the help of the personal brand you can detach yourself from the corporate image, whether the expressed values are much different, or you can express both consistently and in a relevant way, if they are aligned.

There are three common situations when you can verify the robustness of your personal brand:
1. When you do not work in the company anymore and want to access the people you used to meet with, this time in your new capacity as a freelancer.
2. When you get hired by companies based on the personal brand you’ve built and the values and skills validated by your professional record.
3. When you represent your business that you created as an entrepreneur and where, as the founder, your personal values are now the values of your firm.

The transfer of reputation is verified in all the above cases, not depending on the resources behind it, but through what you are as a personal brand, as the amount of the projected values which are consistently and systematically supported by your behaviours.

Personal brand as a shortcut for decisions
In the very competitive business environment we’re all facing today, your personal brand ensures your differentiation. It is a shortcut to access decision-making in situations like choosing business partners, or getting promoted to leadership positions.
If the corporate brand is an intangible asset the company can measure, your personal brand is the capital of trust people would invest in you. Dividends returned by a solid personal brand range from friendship to recognition as a remarkable leader. Your personal brand gives you soft power and opens you career opportunities, personal fulfillment and prosperity.

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About the author
For 15 years Elena Badea was Director of Business Development and then Director of Marketing of an international company operating in Romania. She has extensive experience in business development, account management, corporate marketing, operational and digital marketing. She coordinated 38 research on the domestic business environment and entrepreneurship in Romania and was involved in training and coaching for managers and businessmen, but also in social responsibility projects and education. Elena publishes frequently articles and point of views and is invited as a speaker at numerous national conferences on current topics of marketing and business development.

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