This is a guest post by Herbert Sim — CEO of WardrobeTrendsFashion, Asia’s High Fashion & Luxury Online Portal. The portal a.k.a. WTF, won the most coveted title of ‘Best Lifestyle Website’ GOLD award at 2015 Asian Digital Media Awards, jointly presented by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and Google.
Personal branding, is the art of building a unique brand around yourself as an individual, to give you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets, be it in your personal life or especially more so in your career.
There are many famous examples of personal brands — in technology and business we have Steve Jobs and in fashion we have Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel. You get the idea. Every celebrity or well-known person in every field is a great personal brand, and we have lots to learn from them.
But superheroes are the ultimate brands. They make an impression, leave a mark, and people are attracted to their power and personalities. Perhaps, we can learn a thing or two in personal branding in its truest form from these superheroes.
TIP 1 — Have a purpose
While it may sound philosophical, everyone needs to have a purpose; it is the 101 of Personal Branding — best understood in terms of defining your overall aspirations. Be specific and clearly define your goals and objectives.
Your purpose is who you are and what makes you distinctive. Whether you’re an entrepreneur at a start-up or the CEO of a Fortune500 company, a call center rep or a software developer, your purpose is your brand, what you’re driven to achieve, and the magic that makes you tick. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do your job and why — the strengths and passions you bring to the table no matter where you’re seated.
Like Superman, whose purpose is maintaining world peace, or like Captain America’s fight for liberty, a clear purpose will give us a reason to go to work, to strive harder and to keep us motivated to grow ourselves or our businesses. Without a purpose you can’t have a brand. With a purpose, you will be an impact.
TIP 2 — Know your personal powers
Batman knows his own unique strength and skills (to learn quickly, and develop advanced technological gears, etc.), so much so, that he literally took on Superman in a one-versus-one match in the recent movie “Batman Vs. Superman!”
Likewise, find out what your strengths and skills are — your unique selling proposition — and develop and incorporate them into your own personal brand.
TIP 3 — Consistency
Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving. Managing your personal brand requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and/or a voice that others can depend upon.
For example, imagine Wonder Woman drops her armour, changes it for an apron, and starts posting photos of food, taking selfies of herself cooking, instead of being her usual warrior princess, out saving the world, championing female empowerment.
Building a successful personal brand requires conformity in applying the same logic, accuracy and fairness pattern to identify you. Consistency allows you to measure your ideas if they work or not. It makes you accountable, establishes your reputation, relevance and maintains your message.
TIP 4 — Never stop Improving
Every assignment and every challenge tests our skills and makes us grow. While Ironman and Batman are always creating new gadgets, every Captain America or Spiderman movie sees them doing stunts they haven’t done before. So achieving one goal — like defeating one bad guy for our heroes — is not the final goal. It is just a step to get to the next level of making a difference.
A brand that doesn’t grow is stagnant, and may fade out easily, especially in the face of new competition. Many established companies are case studies for being disrupted by innovation, such as Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders, taxi companies disrupted by UBER.
This is especially true for entrepreneurs who are trying to sell their service and expertise. If you’re not the most up-to-date with new skills and knowledge, someone else might take your place.
So keep learning, be you, be confident, and be authentic. For example, when you have a powerful personal brand, you become a person to take notice of and get opportunities to serve others through your work. And that’s what helps you grow.
TIP 5 — Network, network, network
On social media and in the real world, the key to sparking growth in your personal brand is networking — to have your presence known, and seen. Same way that Superheroes make sure that they are seen somehow: Superman swooping in to save the day, Batman with the bat-signal in the sky, Spiderman scaling skyscrapers — all in public view.
Engage with other individuals in your field, social influencers — especially on LinkedIn and Twitter — who have many connections, and anybody else who could be valuable in helping you spread the word about your expertise. Attend professional networking events to meet influencers in your area, and in the online world, engage in community discussions whenever you can. The more opportunities you have to meet people and talk, the better.
You should also consider looking for speaking events in your area, which will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while connecting with new audiences.
A personal brand is like a garden. Once you lay the groundwork and plant the seeds, you’ll be in a great position to eventually reap the benefits. However, it still takes time and dedication to nurture and expand your creation.
As you continue to develop your personal brand (Tip 1 and 2), stay consistent with your efforts (Tip 3), pay close attention to how your audience responds to your content, hone your direction until your focus is razor sharp (Tip 4), network and publicize (Tip 5). With a little bit of effort and consciousness, we can all be superheroes in our own niche, with our specific audience, in our own authentic way.