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Personal Branding in the Digital Space – Just like Steve Jobs & Elon Musk, you can do it too.

Personal branding today is not just a good-to-do activity, but a necessity for all

Kunal Shah

Much has been written about brand building and how it is an absolute must-do in today’s competitive climate. Business owners across the globe spend huge chunks of marketing monies to build and sustain their companies’ brands.

There is no doubt that this is necessary to stand out and be noticed, given the information overload we all deal with on a daily basis.

However, the immense demands on our attention spans today also require business owners to market themselves as a brand, which in turn reflects back on their companies.

Hence, this puts the spotlight on personal branding.

We have some shining examples of business luminaries that have done this beautifully, right from Steve Jobs and Apple, Richard Branson and Virgin, Elon Musk and Tesla, the Tata lineage and their group of companies to name a few.

These are testimony to how their powerful personal brands have given not just a face, but a personality to their businesses.

However, personal branding need not be restricted only to those who manage large corporations.

Even when it comes to smaller businesses or ventures, people are more likely to trust companies when they have a certain level of familiarity with the owner, or when they are being promoted by someone they trust.

The same holds true for consultants, freelancers, self-employed and those looking to be employed – those with stronger perceived brands are more likely to get noticed and get more work.

The real reason why personal branding works so well

To understand this, we would need to go deeper within the realms of the human mind. We are essentially social beings seeking new ways to connect, be it offline or online.

If we find others with whom we can relate or resonate with, it is only natural to feel a sense of familiarity and connection.

This is an intrinsically human trait and is reflected in our preferences as consumers, as well as in the rise of influencer marketing.

In fact, even a lot of hiring at the senior positions today happens primarily through personal branding or referrals.

It is for this reason that personal branding today is not just a good-to-do activity, but a necessity for all.

Building your own home in the digital world

It is difficult to conceive of building a brand today without considering the digital world.

After all, the internet is where most of the action happens! There are innumerable benefits to having a strong personal brand.

Apart from being more noticeable in your area of work, it can help you stay on top of mind for those who are looking for your products or services and allow you to earn credibility and trust.

This can positively add back to your company’s brand as well, or in the case of a job seeker, can help you get noticed by the companies you want to work with.

Having your own presence online is the first step – whether it is your own website or an active social media profile or channel.

Thankfully, the popularity of social media makes it very easy to find and build your base.

Strengthening your online persona with the right digital tactics like SEO, PPC and more can also help you be easily found on search engines.

Some personal brand building basics to help you get started:

I. Define your brand purpose

Do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Do you want to expand your network? Do you want to increase sales or build an audience for your services?

Whatever be your core intention, spend time to clarify that for your own self, which will allow you to streamline your online actions and behavior accordingly.

II. Have a strategy

Once you know where you want to be, it is time to plan a roadmap to get there and stay there.

Figure out which will be the best online channels that will get you the most relevant visibility and reach, and how you will promote them.

It might help to hire specialists in personal branding, who can help you in creating a well-thought-through strategy and implement it better.

III. Build your network

You can start by building online relationships with those you know offline, and gradually expand your circle from this core.

Doing it this way will allow you to get a better foothold in the online space, and feel more confident about reaching out to a wider base.

Look for ways you can add and offer value to others, as that is a great way to earn respect and build trust.

IV. Be authentic and consistent

Being genuine is a quality that is immensely valued. No matter how slick the packaging may be, people can eventually see through what is fake and contrived.

Adopt a tone of voice that feels true to who you are. It does require courage to follow your values and hold your own space in the very judgmental online world, but I can assure you that the rewards are more than worth it.

Personal branding can be an eye-opener for oneself

While these are some basics that will help you get started, it is also important to remember that every single online interaction will likely continue to live on the digital world in some form or another.

Hence, be very careful about what you put out online.

Doing personal branding is an interesting exercise and one that can be a real eye-opener for oneself as well.


Kunal Shah, Director, Rank My Business

The author is currently Director at Rank My Business, a digital solutions provider, based in Australia.

Headquartered in Melbourne, the company has currently spread its footprint in India to manifest a global presence including the USA, Spain & UAE.

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