We all are constantly working towards attaining our goals in life. With our skill sets and endurance in check, we endeavor to attain what we had set out for. But are we all communicating our self-worth and potential effectively? Does your message reach the observer before your words do?
Every entrepreneur nurtures an idea close to his/her heart. It’s a dream they provide structure to, feed it with values and vision and cultivate it into a value system they believe in. What most of them often overlook is, during this journey of actualisation, they are the dream they envisioned, and they are the values they have attached to the venture. One needs to be consistent across. Are they in solidity with each other?
As professionals and entrepreneurs, we are our own brand ambassadors and need to be an embodiment of our brand values. For years now, Personal Branding, despite being the best medium for professional effectiveness, has been long dismissed.
For ages, entrepreneurs have taken up roles, which allow them to work across departments ranging from Finance to Marketing to Communication to Human Resource. While over a period of time, they are able to excel undertaking multiple roles; they severely discount the importance of their own Personal Brand.
Personal Branding today has taken a larger role than it ever did. It is not just restricted to non-verbal communication: Image, Attitude and Action of an individual but extends itself to the digital space: online presence across social media, blogs, video content and so on. Perceptions run deep and one needs to modulate brand value across the spectrum to remain authentic and credible.
An entrepreneur with a start-up idea in mind needs to be able to impress credibility on his/her perspective clients and investors. He/she should be able to inspire trust in others. Hence, a question they need to ask themselves is, is it worth their while to put in this effort to be consistent, is it worth their while to impress correctly upon the entrepreneurs in their everyday interactions. How is that you can create that lasting impression. Simple. Be your brand. Be your values. And here is how. Personal Branding!
Your Personal Brand is your own story. Its how people describe you when you are not in the room or what we call “perception management.” Strong first impression doesn’t cut it any more. One needs to take into account a lasting executive presence.
As an entrepreneur, you are the living embodiment of your venture. The first level of trust in your idea can be built by projecting the right message. In no way am I suggesting that adorning an expensive suit or wearing make up will do the task. You need to introspect and question yourself about what is it that your venture aspires to be. Is it creative in nature? Is it purely white collared? Is it for the masses? or Is it niche? The reason I request you to probe into these questions is simple: A creative man looks stifled in a structured suit and an investment banker does not adorn a beach shirt EVER! Your nature of work becomes you! Hence, coming back to my previous question, are you your brand?
Also, Personal Branding is not restricted to just your visual image. How you craft your introduction, your body language, posture, social media presence, professional picture shared, video content, if any, all add to your Branding. And no one appreciates a brand story where there is a disconnect over mediums.
A good personal branding story helps you attract the right client; win clients easily by creating a better impact and gain higher profits. In an event where people fail to create a brand story not only do they not stand out amongst competitors but also they are unable to carve credibility amongst new business associates.
Hence, as an entrepreneur, you are to keep a track on every message that you sent out. Be it in terms of your emails, your telephonic conversation, the way you present yourself or the brand logo. Consistency is the key word!
Here are best ways in which entrepreneurs can enhance their personal image:
1) Know What you Truly Stand for: Are you a compassionate leader or are you a democratic leader. Do you want to come across as someone who is Authoritative or Approachable? Once you have these answers, it will be easier to create a brand aura around yourself. Always dress to project your brand. Do not underplay or overplay. Nothing kills the first impression faster than an interaction that does not inspires trust.
2) Wear What Suits You: Clothes need not be expensive but they need to fit well. Understand the right fit for your body design and make sure your clothes look like you own them.
3) Don’t Discredit the Importance of Grooming: Clean nails, personal hygiene, check on body odour and bad breathe, all need to be taken into account.
4) Be Prepared Before Entering the Market: Have your website in place and keep a track on downtime. When sending e-mailers, do not spam. Make your content relevant to your audience. You do not want to auto direct them all to junk mail in future.
5) Learn about your power colours: Colours have a language of its own and its imperative that you find your fit.
6) Be Ready With an Elevation Speech: A two-line introduction about your identity and what is it that you intend on doing.
7) Be Consistent: You should be consistent about your online presence and don’t leave it to active default. You don’t want people to notice a brand gap.
8) Be a Good Listener: Some of the best personal brand stories were not of effective talkers. They were of incredible listeners.
The author of this article is Sheena Agarwal, Director, Urbanista Image Consulting LLP, a premier Image Consulting firm that caters to youth both at Individual and Corporate levels.