Developing a Personal Brand

Developing a Personal Brand

Research reveals that over half of the employers around the globe are less likely to interview a candidate they cannot find online. Today, a ‘personal brand’ with an online presence is indispensable – and here’s why

In early December of 2021, a new brand was launched – a sustainability-driven clothing line in partnership with Singapore-based management consultants 3 Big Dogs PTe at the CIO summit, hosting delegates from over 40 countries. The label was to initially launch t-shirts, joggers, shorts, hoodies, shoes and bags for men, women and kids; eventually adding jewellery to its portfolio.

The clothing line, dubbed ‘Djb47’, belongs to West Indian cricketer, now fashion entrepreneur, Dwayne Bravo. He aims to sell over half a million units of his line globally in a year, stating:

“The fans can expect some new designs and we’ll be dropping the brand-new edition of sir champion t-shirts as well. Understanding our social responsibility for solving climate change, we made a conscious attempt to reduce our carbon footprint. I am looking forward to this new launch and hope my fans and supporters appreciate our efforts.”

Image 1:Dwayne Bravo promoting Djb47

Bravo isn’t the first to the brand race among cricketers, of course. Based purely on their off-field personalities, he considers the brands built by ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni to be ground-breaking – levels he aspires Djb47 will reach as well.

Think unique, think Sabyasachi

In 2019, couturier and designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee completed 20 years as a fashion designer. He graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in 1991, and the story of him upsetting his doctor mother and engineer father to become the foremost in the Indian luxury fashion industry is a story as oft repeated as any.

He became the first Indian designer to amass over ₹100 crore in a single year in 2014, and as of pre-pandemic numbers, his company usually managed to notch upwards of ₹250 crores annually. In 2021, Aditya Birla’s Fashion sector acquired a 51% stake in the brand Sabyasachi, in a deal valued at almost ₹400 crores.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee is probably the living embodiment of what a unique personal brand coupled with strong marketing can bring to the table. A 2019 article from the Mumbai Mirror reported that he remains the most plagiarised designer and brand in India, with almost every major label drawing inspiration from him in their clothes, jewellery or even ad campaigns – notwithstanding the hordes of knock-off designers or fakes.

The need for a ‘personal brand’

Consulting firm Michael Page considers constructing one’s ‘personal brand’ so that “it is easily articulated in an online environment, as well as clearly communicated verbally and through behaviours and actions. Because you will ‘live and breathe’ your personal brand, it’s essential that your brand is genuine and an accurate depiction of who you are.

Irrespective of field, the concept of developing a ‘personal brand’ has grown rather drastically over the past years, especially against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive job market. Michael Page further writes:

“Essentially, it’s a way for people to know what you’re all about: your ethos, your goals and your mission in the professional world. We all know high-profile individuals with a personal brand.

Think: Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs and various public figures and politicians. They have all established an identity in the public realm – their personal brand – that enables others to have a level of understanding about the type of person they are.”

The first step to a personal brand – social media

Within a professional context as well, the ubiquitous appeal of the internet coupled with the pervasiveness of social media has made it almost essential for professionals to have a presence on the internet – and to grow and manage their own personal brand.

One’s own ‘personal brand’ is critical – it is the representation of an individual projected both in the digital and physical realms. All our activities online, including that on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any other platform is unequivocally crucial in setting up a digital footprint that traces back to the individual.

Employers and recruiters today conduct thorough background verification of a potential employee’s digital footprint in order to gauge an idea of their character/interests. In fact, a study even found that almost 57% of employers are unlikely to interview someone they cannot find online.

Managing one’s brand is literally marketing oneself – and doing so, actively allows the person to craft an accurate digital reality of self, rather than just by default. Michael Page opines: “while social networking sites are predominately about engaging in a social environment, it’s wise to view them as platforms on which you can easily start building a personal brand.”

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