What is your personal or professional branding?
Creating your brand identity. To find your place in the market and be known for something without being pegion- holed.
If there is one thing I can teach you in 5 minutes about branding. It is the most important lesson you will ever learn in Branding.
BE YOURSELF DELIBERATELY!
Sounds simple but it’s not easy. Most people never achieve the success the seek because the do not know who they are.
To “Be Yourself Deliberately” you must first understand:
1) Who you are
2) What you are doing with your life.
By “Who you are”, I am not just talking about your name and biodata. I am talking about your psychometric profile. Who you are as a desicion maker and participant of life in your natural state.
Who you are is influenced by the life you have lived and how you have responded to that life. And how your life experiences have influenced the Culture, Values and Principles and Attitudes that influences the way you live your life.
And “what you are doing” with your life is your decision. It is who you want to become as a person and a professional.
Being pigeon holed means that your brand identity limits what people think of you to less than what you can do. Don’t pigeon hole yourself.
However if you are awesome, you will have alot worth saying. The key is not to overwhelm your audience with your awesomenss. The secret is to CONTEXTUALISE!
Okay personal story time, because everyone has a story to tell.
How do I personally practice what I just preached to you in every day life and my career?
Firstly, to know who I am, I actively seek to learn about myself and not live in my own head. I invest in Psychometric Assessment tools like MBTI and C-VAT to give me a proper objective assessment of my personality and personal traits. To learn what I am naturally or programmatically inclined to and why I tend to function the way that I do, And how my belief system affects the decisions I make.
My MBTI profile is an ENTJ, the same profile as that of Bill Gates, Margeret Thatcher. The natural leader / CEO profile. The big picture visionary macro manager that has an organised eye for micro details. The ability to comfortably delegate comes naturally to this profile from a natural ability for knowing where everything fits and what roles they play, and what to prioritise and when.
MBTI indicates Intrinsic Traits. Traits that we are born with and do not usually change.
C-VAT indicates inclinations based on our Culture, Values, Principles and Attitudes.
My C-VAT profile shows that I have the following inclinations: low for hard work, high for planning and organisation, high finish work, high quality of work, low for time and high on loyalty, medium high affection and empathy, with a low on status.
What this says of me is that I try to minimise unnecessary work, work smart and plan things to save time, I am very flexible with deadlines and patient with people, so I push for the most important tasks to be completed first and allow non-critical tasks to the put aside until the relevant important tasks are completed. In short I am an effecient and effective multi-tasker.
In reality I work hard and because I am a smart worker, get more done in the same time that a person that focuses priority on the time pressure rather than the heirarchy of importance and quality of work.
I am in control of my work load, my work load does not control me. That is the desired trait that companies look for when hiring leaders for high pressure jobs with heavy responsibility in making executive decisions.
And because of my medium high affection and empathy levels, I am usually a more likeable leader because of my style of communication and focus on relationship building within my team, but I am also selective in how invlolved I am with different relationships. The latter is very important for professional life, knowing how to be a good colleague without being a nosy busybody.
A high loyalty score means that I am more inclined to be loyal and form long term bonds with those I have personal and professional relationships with.
My low status inclination means that I don’t usually care what other people think of me and rank and popularity are not important to me.
Knowing that about myself helps me understand why I usually find myself in the professional appointments I am given and why I am able to sustain my volunteerism long term without the need for recognition for my efforts.
Understanding my psychometric profile ultimately influences how I create my Personal Brand based on who I am.
Both profiles are consistent for the desired traits of top management and strategic networkers. And that is the basis of how I developed my brand as a professional and as a friend or family member.
And on understanding what you are doing with your life. You must know what the heck you are doing lah!
I am deliberate in everything I do. Every decision I make and action I take has a specific purpose to achieve an intended outcome and output that I want it to.
I do many things as a businessman, educator and philanthropist. I develop real estate, buy and sell energy companies and mines, design and build solar powered robot buildings, I do counselling for young people and families, I run a sports school as a social enterprise to keep youths on the path to being professionals not prisoners, I give lectures on social enterprise, corporate social responsibility, communications and behavioural science at universities whenever time permits.
How do I create a Brand that helps people think what they need to about me to appreciate me as the “go to guy” for them?
I do it by clearly identifying the relationships that I want to build with each specific party I am associating myself with for a specific function.
So my “Brand” is specific to the target audience.
To the kids at MClub’s Young Minds’ Club I am Abang Eman the Faci/Mentor that “keeps it real” and they can talk to about almost everything and get counselling about stuff that they don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents and teachers. To them I am just Abang Eman. This brand fits the purpose of the Mentor-Mentee Relationship.
To my Institutional Investors, my brand is that of the project development and due dilligence guy that they can send anywhere in the developing world to network and acquire primary intelligence and establish connections for resources and resolve potential conflict before it happens so deals can be made and projects realised.
As a System Architect, my brand is easier to develop because my specialisation is a niche. I design and implement Building Intelligence Systems for the Millitary and Green Technology Projects. There are only a few people in the world with that specialisation and the niche client base makes it easy to establish brand equity. The psychometric trait on high loyalty also means that I am naturally very patriotic and I am contrary to what some people might think extremely good at keeping secrets and upholding confidentiality, this was actually one of the reasons I passed the psychometric testing required to enter this line of work.
As a property developer, I specialise in commissions for high end residential real estate. For this my clients build the brand for me. To them engaging me as Principal to design and build their homes, is like getting Steve Jobs to customise their DIY home PC. Again it is niche by virtue of the target market. Because of the nature of the service, it is a premium service and exclusivity is the actual selling point. Every new client must be recommended by an existing client. I do not advertise this service because it cheapens the value proposition. Again the Brand is about quality and quantum value not quantity. For this part of my career, it’s actually a creative hobby for me and the clients know that it is a privillege to engage me. Apart from due dilligence to confirm that their funds are legal, I actually have to like them before I do business with them. It is a relationship business and every person has to become a friend before I take them on as a client.
I could go on to talk about my brand as a professional adventure racer, philanthropist and social entrepreneur but being highly empathetic I know that would piss off the people that are highly time sensitive and competitively status conscious.
By managing my brand according to the specific target audiences it is easier to be myself because of the clearly defined relationship I build with that audience.
Yes, obviously when people learn that I am doing several highly specialised careers simultaneously they always ask me how I do so much. And because I can use my psychometric profile to explain why I work smart and prioritise how I spend my time, it improves my brand.
Knowing that the common thread for all those career specialisations namely creative problem solving, planning and relationship management, both of which are all stronger natural inclinations for me, means I truly get to be myself all the time.
Rounding up, remember the core message, “Be Yourself!”
And to be yourself, you must know
1) Who you are,
2) What you are doing.
In closing, “Be Yourself Deliberately!”.