What is Self-branding?
Self-branding, or personal branding, is how you make yourself known and heard. It is this fine mixture of skills, experience, and personality that makes you unique. It is the story you tell, how you tell it, and what this story tells about you and your attitude towards yourself and others.
Your personal brand in simple words is your image: how you allow people to see and perceive you and your actions. It goes all the way from a mere first impression to a livelong belief in you. It can be built up face to face, or upon the digital foundations of online communication, which is the dominant form of self-branding nowadays.
Stepping stones to self-branding
Step 1: Know who you are
The first step on the journey of self-branding is to assess yourself. A simple yet effective tool to achieve that is to undertake a SWOT analysis, where you define your strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) on the horizon, and threats (T) that can stand in your way while accomplishing your personal brand.
Step 2: Know where you can go
After you assess yourself, you should assess your environment, the people around you and the resources that you can use. This is a step of investigation and collaboration, where you get to know your audience and plan to build solid bonds with them.
Step 3: Know how to go there
Now that you know where to go, you should find out how to go there. The key to this step is to have focus. Like any corporate or commercial brand, your personal brand should be based on a focused message with a genuine content and a specific scope.
Step 4: Know how to stay there
To make your personal brand ever-green, you should have a legacy, or an everlasting impact that you will leave behind and that you will always be known for.
Bonus step: Follow the footsteps of successful individuals
This is a step that you should constantly consider. You should shield your personal brand with lessons learned from others, always seeking success stories to look up to.
The following are two self-branding success stories that can be inspiring to you.
Mohamed Salah, the young Egyptian from Nagrig Village in Gharbia Governorate, Egypt, who had a dream as a child of becoming an international footballer, has become much more than that.
Salah’s brand has been of this successful and charismatic yet humble young man who is a star, not only on the football pitch, but also outside it. Through his support to the anti-addiction campaign in Egypt, his several generous charity acts, and his good manners and self-discipline, Salah has turned into a national hero, an international role model, and one of the most chased after personal brands worldwide.
Elon Musk is an American entrepreneur of South-African origins. Since his childhood, he developed interest in computers and technology, and by the age of 12, he created and sold his first computer software. This was the seedling for the technology guru we know of today, who, at a young age, founded and managed a number of leading entities in modern technology, such as Tesla motors and SpaceX. By his late twenties, he became one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world, owning billions of dollars.
Musk’s personal brand emanates from his constant enthusiasm and curiosity to explore the unknown and conquer the future and the mysteries of the universe. His innovations and inventions, on the surface of the Earth and beyond, have been the talk of the hour in many tech-based and non-tech-based communities.
In a nutshell, your personal brand lies nowhere but within you. All you need to do is to dig deep, focus, work hard, learn from others, and believe in yourself and your unique capabilities.