The 4 Essentials of Personal Branding
Although we’ve probably heard otherwise – for many of us, the word ‘brand’ refers to big names in fashion, food and other industries we interact with in our daily lives.
The idea that we exist as our own brand, in the same universe as giants such as Google, Louis Vuitton or Coca Cola – might be difficult to get used to. Which is why Let’s Fork It Out hosted their debut workshop, Unpacking The Essentials of Personal Branding.
The event engaged an interactive audience of students, professionals and entrepreneurs – discussing the four pillars of a strong personal brand.
According to charismatic host, Khetha Msane – Strategy; Weakness; Attitude and Time are the key things to focus on when thinking about your personal brand. Winning in these four areas will ensure that you are clear and in control of who you are and what you do.
This sentiment was shared by the evening’s 3 speakers, who took the stage to elaborate:
1. Don’t Just ‘Wing’ It
On strategy, Nicole Morris began by agreeing that you can ‘wing’ a lot of things. And that most of our early life might not really require a plan. However, once you are 16, social media comes into play. At 24, 26 and 30 – you are juggling a career, family and situations that leave you wondering – Where did it all go wrong?
You need to have a clear plan with a clear end result. Our strategy is affected by the little things we take for granted. Stuff like getting too comfortable, keeping the wrong company and a fear of disturbing the balance – these were some of the things our speakers mentioned as the biggest strategy killers that plague personal brands. Odwa Ngxingo echoed this by incanting, “Stick to your plan instead of competing with other people!”
2. Know Your Weaknesses
On weakness, Nyiko Chauke began by pointing out the importance of vulnerability. He added that people are expected to know too many things, and as a result; fear revealing what they do not know. Something as trivial as not raising your hand in a boardroom, class or lecture; may eat away at your all day – and mean missing out on an opportunity to learn.
The speakers added that knowing your weakness was an opportunity to learn; and one of the building blocks of your personal strategy. We need to be honest and smart about who we are, so that we know what we need to fix. Nyiko emphasized the importance of self-awareness with the words, “Know yourself and your vision from within, acknowledging your weaknesses is the only way to beat them.”
3. Have a Winning Attitude
According to the panel, attitude comes into play when your plan doesn’t quite go as planned. It is accompanied by a set of beliefs and perceptions that we develop over time. Most young people’s attitudes are influenced by a yearning to be different because their communities are old. As a result, many feel the pressure to achieve certain goals by a certain age – and might become discouraged if they fail to do so. This is made worse by the relationships that guide our lives; and to be on the safe side; Odwa warns us – Never tie goals to people because people will leave you!
4. Value Your Time
The last pillar was time; something all the speakers admitted they struggled with in their early experiences.
Nicole began with a disclaimer, “This is a safe space where we can be honest and share with each other right?”
Beware of falling into the trap of concepts like ‘African Time’ and “A lady should be late”. Time should be valued, respected – and be seen as a point of reference, rather than something we have no control over.
We should constantly be thinking about the the time it takes to build our personal brand – to the point that our reputation precedes everything we aim to do. Consistency achieves results over time, and is the final key to building your personal brand.
On a final note, our hosts ended by reminding us that we couldn’t be SWAT alone.
It requires a strong community/ team to work with. This demands sacrifice and accepting the fact that we can’t build a brand with 500 people. Furthermore, we are in the fourth industrial revolution, and have tools such as YouTube and Google to inform and educate ourselves – so the possibilities of what we can learn and do are literally infinite.
For more gems, masterclasses and forks – you can checkout @letsforkitout on Instagram and Facebook. Otherwise, use this knowledge to go forth and become a super-brand yourself.
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Lungelo Hlela is a Digital Copywriter based in Johannesburg, South Africa. When he’s not writing for brands, most of his work includes themes about social issues, history and popular culture. Follow him @lungelosam for more of his existentialist ramblings and romantic ideals.