Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin, has executed a master strategy to get awareness and get (more) benefits for his company: he, after losing a bet, has disguised himself as an airline competitor hostess (Air Asia). He left the seriousness aside and showed once again, with eccentricities, which he and his brand represents: the discontent, rebellion, breaking with the established, the courage to be different and to always go further.
Virgin is well-known for being a brand that has conducted multiple Brand Extensions: from being just a record company to being an airline a telephone company and even a gym, for example. All these services have had credibility since day one because the reputation of the person who is behind the company is essential for both partners to invest and the consumer. And this brings us to the concept of Personal Branding.
Richard Branson is just an example of people with a great handling of Personal Branding. Steve Jobs, Johnny Depp, Kanye West or Lady Gaga are other examples who have also defined a whole universe itself around. In fact, most pop culture characters think themselves as a brand. A simple name can evoke multiple meanings. This is because most celebrities have an advisory team of image and communications setting both the look and the attitude, gestures and, ultimately, the communication strategy.
Thus, in the age of connectivity, professional success depends more than ever to create and manage a clear and distinct identity. Everyone can (you too!), and in a sense we position ourselves as unique in the world, with skills and facets that no one else can offer.
Some tips that you can follow to create a proper Personal Branding are:
- Stand out
Standing out means taking a different image and a tone, having a unique style, even to get to become a trendsetter. Watch out! This is not about being strident. The explanation for this is that people do not usually pay attention easily. We need a different stimulus to help them remember you.
- Specialize: What is your message?
We are all experts in something. It could be your professional dedication or just your favorite hobby. Find your area of expertise and make a message of its own, distinct and simple. If you want to give a boost to your professional career think an area related to your work, that is trendy and that few people know. In no time you will become a thought leader!
- Your online presence (website, blog, Social Media)
Nothing you have done until now will be useful if you can’t make yourself known. Forget geographical distance: your city is now the whole world and your home is digital. Your universe (ie, your Personal Branding) needs a site where you can be known (an owned website where the domain is your name), a blog where you expose your ideas about your expertise and some social media channels to communicate with your followers and your peers.
In a short term a good strategy to give impetus to the sea which is the network is to create a polarizer message, which forces people to position themselves for or against it. It's better to have authentic followers and also some people against you to discuss than everyone ignoring your message because you don’t produce them any emotion or encourages to review.
Once all these steps and Personal Branding a clear and defined, should focus your life so that every day intener meet new people and make new contacts. Having many contacts is crucial to collaborate on professional projects, getting assistance in any aspect of life and even to find new jobs when you need them.
Think about Personal Branding as the way José Mourinho (Real Madrid coach) does: he sends a clear message with his non-verbal communication ("I'm the best") having a direct and polarizer attitude because of his arrogance that places people in favor (value their extreme sincerity and confidence) and people against (not tolerate his rudeness at times).
One sentence of him says it all: "Please do not call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm the special one". Since then, Mourinho differenced himself and got to be known as "The Special One".
Joan Collado is Strategic Planner and Psychologist. He lives in Barcelona and is currently running a digital communications agency.