A personal brand is all about your professional reputation in the marketplace. Since its a very integral factor to a business' growth, this term 'personal brand' started gaining a lot of ground recently. But before we begin, What exactly is personal branding?  

As quoted by Jeff Bezos (founder, Amazon. Com), “Personal Brand is what people say about you when you leave the room” 
In other words, a personal brand helps people in understanding who you are, what you offer, your core values and the quality of work that can be expected from you. Now Why personal branding is so important? 
Although the term branding has long been associated with the companies, today it is equally important to build a personal brand. Personal branding does not mean that you need to be extremely popular, but in the present continuously evolving internet age you can't afford to be invisible either.

At the end of the day people or let’s say 'consumers' are humans only & are always eager to hear the story behind the founders - their journey, fears, failures, struggles, and their success. For this, you need to be visible, accessible and market yourself in addition to your company.

Now let's take a deeper dive into how you can build an awesome personal brand:

1. Visibility & Accessibility- As mentioned above, to build a powerful personal brand you need to be visible and be accessible to your audience. To get started, you can secure a personal website as having your own website is the best way to rank for your name on the search engines. And well, it does not need to be a big site either. Having two or three web pages mentioning your brief bio, story behind the brand, your forte, achievements, volunteer work (if any) and links to your social profiles is good enough. If needed, you can always plan to expand your website with time.

*Bonus Tip- You need to go out and make yourself visible by attending industry conferences. And, if you are blessed with a gift of gab (I am sure you are) then you can also be one of the speakers in such conferences. Events, seminars, and conferences are the best places for networking, meeting like-minded people, and socializing. 

2. Active Social Media Presence- Participate on social media, it is a perfect and free platform for building and promoting your personal brand. However, I would suggest you to not use social media as a pure marketing channel.

Share blog posts that is of great value to your audience and also represents your brand. Follow experts in your industry, actively participate in discussions using trending # hashtags to pull traffic. Hold live video Q&A sessions to directly interact with your followers, reply to their queries, messages and always acknowledge their feedback. You can also hold giveaways from time to time in the form of some contests to keep your followers engaged.

*Bonus Tip- Maintain a balance by sharing both professional and personal content. Consumers love to see the other side of you. So share with your fans and followers, how you spend your weekend, what are your personal interests, pictures of your latest travel or party. Remember people want to connect with people not mere brands. And they start relating to you when you show them the 'real' you.

For instance- Here is an example of an individual that has built a powerful personal brand. Richard Branson (The man behind Virgin Group, entrepreneur, philanthropist and author)


His personal branding is one of the strongest reason behind his unwavering professional success. Branson maintains an active social media presence and consistently crafts unique content for each channel. He appears to be a bold, funny and a go-getter kind of individual. He keeps his audience engaged by sharing both personal and professional content, holding live Q & A sessions and is open about his journey, success, and failures. Goes without saying that his impressive business logo also adds up to his overall branding.

He enjoys a massive fan following on social channels especially twitter and has also made it to the Forbes list. Kudos Branson!

3. Strong Value Proposition- A strong value proposition is an important building block for your personal branding. Basically, your value proposition distinguishes you from others. In simple words, it is a promise of value to be delivered. It is what makes people decide whether they would like to be your forever fan or just hit the back button. For building your personal brand, you need to research more about niche market, and identify the unique value you can deliver to your industry and to your consumers.
Here are a few questions that will help you in finding your own unique perspective:

What as a person makes you attractive to your prospects?
What makes you unique from your competitors?
Why should someone work with you?

Identify areas where you can lend expertise and gradually enjoy thought leadership.

*Bonus Tip: A winning value proposition is always clear, succinct and clearly communicates with your audience. Small value-adds or boosters can do wonders for your value proposition. Try it?

4. Association with other strong brands- “Good things start to happen when you are associated with strong brands”, a popular saying. Undoubtedly, associating with other strong brands is a good way to strengthen your personal branding. Identify and leverage strong brands which can give a boost to your personal brand. This 2-way networking proves beneficial as both the parties gain. Following this approach will help you gain more connections as well as help in tapping more opportunities. Thus, it will further strengthen your personal brand.

*Bonus Tip- Until you become a well established brand name, always try to associate yourself with people who are more successful and influential than you. Besides branding, it adds to your credibility too.

5. Be yourself- Well, it may seem like a no-brainer but to build a powerful personal brand you need to present your true self in front of your audience. Building a fake persona around interests of your audience may help you gain attention instantly but in the long run will do more harm than good. So, be honest and upfront about your journey irrespective of how good or bad it is because it is yours. You can't build a personal brand by hiding yourself, so let your brand be a true reflection of who you are.

*Bonus Tip- Don't be vulnerable, just take your mask off and be open about your strengths and weaknesses. This makes you all the more authentic and relatable.

Wrapping it up- For building a personal brand, you need to have a clear understanding of your true self before you start sharing with the rest of the world. So, just take go out there, follow the above mentioned tips and I am sure you will leave a personal branding trail behind you soon. Good luck!