Personal Branding Across Cultures Blogathon – Day 6 / Dr. Amit Nagpal
In spite of the increasing westernization, Indians are clinging to their cultural roots and community centric attitudes. The joke doing the rounds is that, “Indians don’t talk about sex, now they are opening up to talking lovemaking. Indians don’t talk about personal branding, now they are opening up to storytelling (for inspiring others & branding as a byproduct). Passionate knowledgepreneurs & early adopters are taking the lead and demonstrating to the fellow countrymen, the power of personal branding through social media.
In fact, personal branding via mass media and books has existed in the country since decades and is restricted to celebrity management, rather than celebrity creation. Now only the celebrity creation through social media game has begun.
Challenge 1: The myth that Personal Branding is done by celebrities only as it’s too expensive
Hugging Opportunity – Social Media is new to India (from professional and branding perspective) and majority of the professionals and entrepreneurs are yet to realize the power (and affordability) of personal branding through social media.
Offline personal branding tools are either too expensive (hiring PR agency for example) or too slow (writing a book for example). But internet particularly social media has changed the rules of the game. Even a middle class person (into a full-time job or business) who has an internet connection can build his brand over 2-3 years.
Challenge 2: The perception that Personal Branding is about self-promotion
Hugging Opportunity- Personal Branding is about communicating your value. In fact one can inspire others by sharing one’s success stories and the brand can be a byproduct. In community centric cultures like India, where the focus is on the community and not on self, storytelling is already becoming a popular tool to inspire others (and build the brand too in the process). Here is my story on how I realized the power of storytelling and became a professional storyteller.
In fact, personal branding can help you grow as a person, make you a better collaborator and make you even more large-hearted. Here is an interesting article on the subject, “7 Personal Branding Lessons you Learn by Falling in Love”
Challenge 3: The belief that Personal Branding is not necessary
Hugging Opportunity- Majority of the people who know about personal branding also believe that it is not necessary unless you are in top management or top entrepreneurs league. We need to remember that human beings have some illogical tendencies, jumping to conclusions and halo effect for example. If we have not communicated what we stand for, we are giving chance to people to jump to the wrong conclusions about us.
Others may create wrong perception and may do enough damage to your brand before you start the process. Personal Branding is the process of becoming what you aspire and communicating what you stand for. Personal branding also takes care of countering wrong perceptions which may be becoming popular about you (in the online and offline worlds).
Challenge 4: The ideology that any branding including Personal Branding is very slow
Hugging Opportunity- Very few people understand how brands are built but many people understand the term goodwill and believe that it takes a very long time to build goodwill.
If you are extremely hardworking and can spare 6-8 hours per day, you can build a strong brand in less than 1 year. But even if you are an extremely busy person, you can still build a strong brand in 2-3 years with consistent efforts and learning the social media strategies. Though many personal branding activities are DIY (Do it Yourself), if you take the advice of a professional, you can do it much faster and in a more effective way. The one who sows the seeds of personal branding efforts reaps higher salaries in job, higher profits from customers and higher respect and recognition in society.
Challenge 5: Personal Branding is not required at all (only organizations and products should become brands)
Hugging Opportunity- Many Indians also think that personal branding is not required at all as people only serve organizations. Hence, only organizations and products should do brand building and people need not do. If we go by this logic, parents should not give names to their children because even naming our children is also branding. If have already been branded by our parents through the names given to us, why let our names be like weak and local brands, why not make them strong, respected and over a period of time global?
Challenge 6: Personal Branding is about image manipulation and not about uncovering our potential and inner greatness
Hugging Opportunity- Branding is about manipulating the perception and image and thus fabricating a lie. Here is an interesting comparison between Personal Branding and Image management on Google trends (search of both keywords internationally on Google over the last few years)
Social Media in any case requires hard work, which necessitates passion. Here is an interesting story about how we can bring out our peak potential and creativity in the personal branding process and bring out our inherent greatness, “3 Life Lessons that led to Social Media Success”
Challenge 7: The herd mentality behavior is strong
Hugging Opportunity- My prospects tell me, “If personal branding is such a powerful tool, why are others not doing it.” Being a developing country, most of the people tend to avoid risk taking and wait for others, encouraging herd mentality.
I used to receive many queries for personal branding coaching (and outsourcing of social media activities), but almost everyone wanted to see success stories of others.
Recently, I began to publish the success stories of my clients, which is finally resulting in conversion of queries into clients. But I want every knowledgepreneur, every SME entrepreneur, every journalist, every academician, every author, every student, every introvert to Enlarge, Excel and Evolve into a personal brand and express their deep passion.
So if you respect your individuality and want others also to respect it, then embrace personal branding and give it a tight warm hug. Rest assured, you will love it like mad.