Personal branding has been, is, and will be a hot topic among IT professionals. The idea behind it is that we must consider ourselves as a brand and market and sell our services like brands such as Pepsi and Nike engage in.
Before getting into the personal branding front, let us understand what a brand is. Every product has a brand value. Something as well-known as Pepsi or something totally unheard of like Crimson Tyres. A brand gets its value from the general public, gets its value based on perception and emotions attached to it.
I am a bigger fan of Reebok clothing over any other sport clothing brands. If I could get a product of my choice with Reebok, I would go for it even if others are offering it at a lesser price. Why? Because I have emotions attached to the brand and my perception is that Reebok has served me well and suits my body the best.
How did I base my perceptions? Experience. My experience over the years has ingrained certain things in me, and based on it, I will always perceive a stronger pull towards one brand over the other. My experience is based on multiple instances when Reebok has come out on top and the other brands that I tried failed to impress my conscience.
That said, if Reebok fails once or twice, I will still let go of an odd failure, and am certain my next Reebok experience would be fruitful. If a similar bad experience takes place with a product like Adidas where I don’t have great perception of the product, I may never be courageous enough to give the brand another chance.
Scooting back over to personal branding, there are not many differences between a brand and a personal brand. Like I mentioned earlier, consider yourself as a brand, and the perception of others about you creates a brand image for you. Their perceptions are based on their experiences with you over the years. So, my question is, should we worry about what others think about us to improve brand value?
We have been taught from our childhood that we need to be original, be what we are and whether others like it or not shouldn’t matter. The objective should be us being contented with ourselves and not get our motivation/strength from the outside world. Now all this ancient history has been thrown out of the window. It is no longer what people aspire for. Personal branding junks this idea. Personal branding instead says that what you are perceived by the eye of the beholder. Personal branding is everything to do with perception and emotion of others about you. So, you need to work towards building a strong image that perceives you by certain values and principles.
The accepted definition of personal relationship is the perception and emotion maintained by others about you which eventually influences the relationship that they share with you.
As we brand ourselves, we expect us to be perceived in a certain way and the way people seeing us will perceive us in their own ways. If you are walking down the street and see a beautiful girl who is perhaps as old as your daughter. Her face reminds you of your daughter and you put on a friendly smile and nod at the girl. The girl sees you smile at her, and based on her past experiences with men, she might think of you as a pervert who is trying to hit on a girl three times her age. See, perceptions vary. Your intentions were different while the perceived intentions are completely contrary.
So, this difference which we are referring to – the cleft between self-perception and how others perceive is extremely crucial. If the cleft is narrow, then the relationship between the two will be productive and fruitful. If the gap is wider, then the relationship becomes sour and naturally does not bear any fruits.
So, the bottom line is that you must think of how you are being perceived by others. Work towards improving your image. How you support them, how you help others succeed and the difference you make in their lives is the key to improving personal brand.