Get on the shelf and be seen.
In 2006, I stumbled on a very insightful article written by Tom Peters for Fast Company. I later found that it was originally written in 1997. It was the first article he wrote on personal branding.
Tom’s idea was so cool. In fact, the world has never been the same since the release of his write-up. In a nutshell, Tom predicted that humans would be the next most desirable brand on the shelves. Humans would compete with global brands like Coca-Cola. He made those assertions twenty years ago, long before the advent of social networks.
Today, an instagram bio is more like a shelf where individuals display personal services whilst making attempts to lure potential clients with every post. Everyone is up for sale. The market is crowded. The noise is deafening. You have to do something exceptionally different to get noticed and picked off the shelf.
As a result, people now invest in themselves. They spend valuable time to master their craft and commercialize it. We have suddenly realized that being talented is not enough, work must be done to build an appealing and likable persona which is interwoven with our unique personal stories.
Every individual is a walking corporation. Like most products on the shelves, we are all vying for attention.
BrandYou And Social Media Pomposity
The emergence of ‘Me Incorporation’ as predicted by Tom has become our daily experiences lately. The Internet via social networks has made it easier to share personal stories and shape public perception about ourselves.
Social media has produced many prominent and powerful personal brands whose products are nothing but relatable true stories. Some call them instagram or twitter celebs, but these were just ordinary individuals who discovered a niche and built a reputation there.
I’m often in awe of Woli Arole. He has developed a very successful personal brand that transcends comedy. He’s become a strategic content marketing expert through a single medium – Instagram.
I have seen ads that should have gone on traditional media on his platform. Why? well, because companies believe in the power of his personal brand and its coverage.
Why Brand You?
If you don’t brand you, be rest assured that people are controlling your narrative. It’s a dangerous business to let other people control who you are. We should try as much as we can to control the image, reputation, ideas and overall perception that other people have about us.
A strong personal brand is the outcome of deep understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to be know for. If these are clear to you, it will be obvious to anybody else out there.
The benefits to be derived from self-branding is endless; let’s take a look at some of them:
- It helps differentiate you from others in similar field.
- It helps position you clearly in the minds of others.
- Project credibility
- Develop loyalty
- Make emotional connections
- Establish truth
Before you get on the shelf
To thine own self be true. That is the fundamental ideology upon which self-branding is built . You need to ask yourself some salient questions and give the most sincere answers.
Personal branding is not just about telling the truth; it’s more about being the truth. Everything else, including personal identity and self-promotions are built upon this truth. And at the end of the day, all you have to sell is your truth. Therefore, this requires a lot of self reflection in the beginning. What are you passionate about? What are your values? What do you want to become? What do you want to be known for? Any idea what would be written on your tomb when you die?
From this self examination comes the basis of who you are and what you stand for. It might take some time to figure it all out, but ensure you give sincere answers.
To brand you, you have to be true to you.
Displaying yourself on the shelf
Many of us still feel that packaging is superfluous, but we all judge products on the shelves by their beautiful and attractive appearance. Though a beautiful wraper around a product does not guarantee that the product is good, but we tend to buy well packaged-products. Right?
Do not rule out good packaging in your attempt to build a personal brand. Be like Apple or Nike. However, make sure you improve on your skillet before packaging. Personal branding is not a make-up for shortcomings in your professional portfolio. Be good enough for packaging; So when people unwrap you, they would find something worthy.
Beyond beautiful wrapper, a package has to inform and persuade buyers to make buying decision. Coin a nice name for yourself. Get people to know about our social network accounts and website. Pay attention to your speaking style and tones in ways that reflect the core of your brand.
Seize every opportunity to put yourself before potential clients. People have got to see your works. And more importantly, they need to know the man behind the great works. Give them room to experience you.
Get out there. Show your artworks on Behance. Publish a book on Amazon. Put your music videos on YouTube. Write on Medium. Get people to experience your authentic self by sharing your unique story.
There’s no better time to begin. But first, know thyself.