People love brands – at least for some of us.
Why are brands popular? It really depends on the individual. One primary reason could be that the brand name makes a product memorable. Just think of a brand name and voila! You remember the product almost instantaneously. Isn’t that wonderful? More than that, you remember other products associated with the brand name, should the brand deals with more than one product – which it often does. And in a contemporary shopping mall where several brands are grouped within one shopping mall name, all the brand names will be tagged with the name of the shopping mall. One can even draw a mind map out of it if one wishes. This is what one may consider “branding by association”. We usually practise this all the time. It’s just that we are unaware of it. When we recall a person by name, all the characteristics of the individual surfaces with him/her. When we go to a job interview or a date, all the past positive and/or negative experiences surfaces within us as well. And when we travel to a country for a second time, we will form an impression of that country by our previous experiences which we were first there.
This is one particular aspect of branding that this article will like to explore, not in terms of product branding but personal branding. If products can be given a brand, why not individuals? In actual fact, individuals are already a brand the moment they are given a name. More importantly, individuals are brands when they communicate with others. Each individual bring with them an distinctive set of character, personality and passions for life. In an effort to make this world a better place for all of us, we enter different professions and take up different hobbies. And through all this, we brand ourselves. Personal branding is important not as a form of individual achievement but more importantly, it enhances every aspect of our lives – including our work, our relationships with our others and our self-esteem.
When it comes to personal branding, there are many who brand themselves through their attire, work portfolio or impactful presentations. A job candidate might dress professionally to increases his/her chances of securing employment. An individual on a date might dress fashionably to attract the attention of potential suitors. A photographer might show impressive portfolios to potential clients to secure future work opportunities and an educator might prepare a set of informative presentation slides to form an impactful impression on his/her students. All this is well and good but more importantly is the values that an individual maintains in their lives.
So, what are this values that we should brand ourselves with?
The first important value that individuals should live by- regardless of their professions – is altruism. It is the aim of instilling confidence in others and enables them to live well – as long as their endeavours are to the betterment of society. Some example includes helping students to improve in their academic studies and enabling them to contribute positively to society, helping the elderly to support themselves when they can no longer do so and donating to the needy and the less privileged in their times of need.
However, we will need the second value to reinforce the first, and this is sincerity. Good personal branding can only be achieved through sincerity. Altruism can be carried out with or without sincerity. And it is only the former that will persevere. If one were to look at case studies of corporate branding, it is only the organisations that care about the welfare of the public whose brands have withstood the test of time. The same can be said for personal branding. A high regard for others’ welfare cannot be ignored.
Personal branding is built not so much on an impressive work portfolio, a great and memorable speech, an impactful presentation, a sweet smile or even a lavish lifestyle.
Rather, personal branding is established merely on an endeavour to promote altruism with sincerity.