The Value of Personal Branding
The value of Personal Branding has become a force that we, as women, can no longer ignore. How you present yourself physically, professionally and digitally, influences how others perceive you. Personal Branding specialist Franziska Schaat says “Personal branding is not a “nice to have” accessory, it’s your “must-have” outfit in your wardrobe”.
It’s no secret that women have to navigate the world differently to men. Since the world was designed with male benefit in mind, women have to define themselves in a world filled with gender stereotypes and archaic expectations of what a woman “should be”.
Here are several tips to consider to help you develop a powerful personal brand:
Be Authentic – Don’t Be a Copy, Embrace What Makes You Unique
The most integral part of Personal Branding is ensuring that you present your authentic self. Who you are, your unique outlook on life and your experiences are what differentiates you from everyone else. What you want to offer the world through your personal brand is what should drive your success.
Being a woman, you will come across people who will try to dim your light but you should use that to fuel your success instead – who doesn’t like proving their nay-sayers wrong? When you’re the truest version of yourself, people might shame you into conforming. However, you can’t let yourself become the weaker version of someone else.
Dressing for Power
How you present yourself to the world is extremely crucial for your personal brand. Ideally, how you dress should be an expression of who you are. Whether your personality is bright and bold, calm or laidback; your clothes should reflect your authentic self.
Again, for women, this isn’t as easy as it seems. In the context of South Africa’s gender-based violence against women, there may be the temptation of wanting to wear clothes that hide your body. However, to be your authentic self, you should dress in a way that makes you feel empowered, self-assured and ready to take on the world.
Be Discoverable Online and Share Your Ideas Publicly
In a digital and online world, you’ve got to be discoverable online, and your ideas should be shared publicly. Perform an online audit (a fancy way of saying “Google yourself”) and see what comes up. Depending on the results, you’ll get a better idea of how discoverable you are.
If your audit comes back weak, you’ll have to up your game, sis! Start a website for free and write blogs (Thank you WordPress!), create a channel on YouTube and share your ideas there. Use your social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to share your content. Not everything will cost money, so you have to ensure that your online profile matches who you are and what your personal brand stands for.
In our patriarchal society, many women find themselves believing that there’s space for only one woman at the top at a time, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You need to think strategically about who you want in your network. There are many successful women in your industry that want more women in positions of power and there’s more than enough success to go around. Work on your brand so that you’re top of mind when opportunities come up.
This requires you to also leave your biases at the door. It’s 2019; we no longer do catfights. Women fix each other’s crowns now. Ensure that those around you can help you develop and strengthen your brand, keep you driven and are constant sources of motivation. Also, ensure that you put the same effort into helping the other women around you. Support each other, grow each other and continue to help build each other up. Remember, blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours burn brighter.
Upcoming Course: Personal Branding Masterclass by Nokuthula Nox Luthuli
The truth is women have a harder time working on their personal brands, especially if they don’t fit the mould of what a woman should be and how she should act. Depending on the industry you’re in, you’re likely to have to fight twice as hard to get half the recognition (we’re looking at you “male-dominated industries”); so make sure that everything you’re going to fight for is worth the effort it requires from you. You will be tested and some will make their insecurities your problem, but remember, you’re more powerful than you think you are and the effect you have on the world is a positive one! Never forget how truly incredible you are!