The world we live in has evolved beyond what most of us can comprehend and, most of the ideas we have about how the world operates are constantly being challenged daily. Ideas such as the need to have certificates and education before you can get a job or become anything meaningful in society. All around us we hear about people who have little to no formal education performing and excelling at their different endeavours. This if not anything, is a clear indication that education, certificates, and skills alone can’t guarantee success in today’s economy. More is needed.
When you look at different kinds of literature on growth and personal development, you’ll observe a trend, they all have one message in common. These messages are often oblivious to most of us because our minds are condition to think in the old ways and also, our world is full of distractions.
Before we look at what this key element that is required for success for professionals and entrepreneurs, I’d like to relate a story that caught my attention recently.
Just a few days ago, I had a conversation with my girlfriend about one of her cousins that graduated some few years back. He has a PhD, a Post Doctorate, and other numerous certificates we love to acquire these days. She told me how this cousin of hers took to drinking alcohol and has been constituting nuisance for the family. He is depressed and resentful because after all the years he spent accumulating his certificates, he couldn’t get a single job.
When I heard about his story, I’m reminded of so many other graduates who are jobless, employees who have ambitions and desires but don’t know how to go about it. Also, I’m reminded of entrepreneurs who can’t articulate what they are all about, what problem they are solving or hope to solve to make money. These problems persist because most of us haven’t realized the potential of personal branding, the need to package ourselves in such a way that people in our environment respect us, acknowledge, and also give us their business.
It is said that an average person switches jobs every 2 to 3 years and that by 2020, contract workers and freelancers will make up about 43% of the U.S workforce. The implication of this is; employers would seek out people to work on a contract basis or as freelancers.
Personal branding helps us to realize that even though we’ve acquired many collaterals like certificates, skills, and so on, we also need to tell people about them and show them – we need to continuously market ourselves.
Personal branding is one key component in the chest of success that most people fail to engage in. Just like how marketing for business draws awareness and attract customers to a business, personal branding is all about marketing one’s self so that potential customers or intended audience can take notice and patronize us.
The truth is that no matter where we school, the skills, degrees, and certificates we have, if no one knows about them, it is useless. Another truth that most people fail to acknowledge is that there are no jobs and the few jobs available are constantly being shipped to countries with lower pay. Our environment has gotten more competitive like never before and the only way to thrive revolves around personal branding – marketing our speciality and uniqueness.
Why is Personal Branding Important?
Personal branding clarifies what we can offer as professionals and entrepreneurs:
One problem that technology brought is noise. It is said that on average, we are bombarded with about 5 thousand adverts per day. These distractions make it hard for us to discern what we want, and what we are good at. These noises according to psychology has made our brain to always tune out things it deems unnecessary and, it’s the reason why we find it hard to make decisions. Our attention span is getting slim by the day and as such, any information that is not clear enough is filtered out.
Having a reputable brand helps you to break through the noise in our environment and helps you get your message across to our audience precisely, it helps us to easily get noticed and distinguishable.
Personal branding helps us become a Leader in our Domain:
The whole essence of personal branding is to demonstrate our leadership capability through our knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviour. And the key to being a competent leader involves having the right attitude, knowledge, and behaviour.
People respect those in authority consciously or unconsciously, and this respect is born out of the fact that they perceive authorities as either knowledgeable or have certain resources.
In building your brand, your resources will be predominantly your knowledge, skills, and character. When you show people that you know something very well, they will respect you and help you get what you want – i.e. job, contract, funds, etc.
Moreso, leadership is all about leading. And the best way to lead is to demonstrate competence and elicit trust from people around us. With a strong personal brand, building a dedicated followership becomes easy and the level of trust that a brand elicit is lasting.
Personal branding inspires trust:
Trust is hard to come by in today’s world and there are so many reasons for that. To inspire trust and respect in today’s world requires one to show that they can be trusted, for instance, if you tell me you can help me make a million dollars, you have to, first of all, be a millionaire, and you have to show me, people, you’ve made millions for. Social proof is everything today.
Personal branding is an important way to become trusted when properly executed. It is the social proof you have againt everyone else. It works with the law of reciprocity – give and take. When you give people what you have, things like knowledge, you’ll observe that they’ll trust you as an authority figure and they’ll believe most things you say or offer. On the other hand, if you have the knowledge or something of value and refuse to share it with others, the consequence is that you’ll be unknown and it will be hard for you to convince others because of lack of trust.
Take a look around you and observe all the people you admire, people who seem to be getting the things they desire. When you observe keenly, you’ll notice that all of them have developed a reputation. It’s their reputation that makes it easy for them to be respected and cherished.
If you want to get anything worthwhile in today’s competitive economy, you must develop your personal brand. It is the only guarantee leverage you have in today’s dynamic environment.