Branding Your Way to the Top

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘branding’? Is it advertising, marketing, boosting sales or, in general, a methodology adopted by businesses to accelerate their growth? All these factors come under a subset known as corporate branding. However, there is another, more crucial type of branding: the individual behind a company. 

Apple, one of the most valuable firms in the world, is a powerful brand known for its iconic innovation in both technology as well as aesthetic simplicity. Its tremendous success over the years in building products that people love arguably wouldn’t have been possible without the much more powerful personal brand of Steve Jobs. The legendary entrepreneur always believed in two key things: the first was advancing humanity by thinking differently, and the second was following one’s heart no matter what. Job’s personality and dressing etiquette made his keynote presentations magical and memorable, thus building a community of dedicated fans in an almost religious fashion.

Personal branding kickstarted in the late 20th Century as visionary founders of companies like Apple and Microsoft built a legacy that would transform their industries forever.  Since then, the brand of entrepreneurs has resonated strongly with their company brand.

Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.’
— Jeff Bezos

However, it’s imperative to understand that personal branding goes beyond being a social media influencer. It’s about defining one’s philosophy towards life that makes us who we are as a person, how we make decisions, and how we execute future actions. Projecting one’s core ideals and purpose can have a substantial impact on the growth of one's business since the perception of a product or service offering to the customer is derived from the capability of the founder in executing his vision. 

Elon Musk, well-known for his exceptional track record of building multiple billion dollar companies, has an extreme workaholic attitude—he works more than 100 hours per week. Despite his hectic schedule and the paramount importance of time, he understands the potential of personal branding in realizing his dream. As of 2018, Tesla is the 3rd most valuable company in the automotive segment with a $65B valuation compared to world leader Toyota’s $195B. By transmitting his vision of replacing fossil fuels, Musk has managed to spark a huge fan following, thus inspiring Tesla’s customers to pursue a sustainable future.

As time progresses, personal branding is bound to transform corporate branding by redefining the way a product is marketed to the customers. With the effectiveness of sponsored advertisements eroding rapidly, consumers are shifting towards a more credible brand to which they can relate and trust. An implicit marketing model portraying a message far stronger than the obvious short-term benefits is rising amid the current increasingly competitive economy. Presenting the personal brand of leadership as an extension of the company brand will play a key role in acquiring loyal customers who connect directly to the root vision of the company.

Google yourself! You already are a brand through your internet profile and online activity. You just have to tailor it to convey what makes you unique. Branding yourself effectively can play a crucial role in starting your venture. In the process, it can help you realise the problems that you are passionate to solve and your vision of changing the world for the better, thereby providing an ultimate purpose to your life. The key to success is finding something you care about and inspiring the whole world to join your cause.