#26 – Personal Branding: Reviewing Self as A Brand

Personal branding cases always begun from this one question—how do you want to be perceived as? 

Similar to product-based brands, humans create a layer of shadow character, a persona, to reflect how he/she want to be perceived as. This layer of character may directly reflect his/her essential values, or rather in direct opposition to it. Using branding analogy, these characters are similar to brand identity—a set of elements built up by brands to reflects his/her ideals of imagery. This, however, can go on a different level than brand essence or the perceived brand image in consumers’ minds.

In today’s Brand Management class, we talked about how Mario Teguh’s scandal affected his personal branding as a motivator. His brand identity, which was associated with wise and family-loving personality are in opposition with his personal values and acts, which include domestic violence acts. He was deemed as inconsistent with his brand essence, the promises he shared to his public. And so, the inconsistency triggered response feelings of betrayal within his previously loyal public.

The discussion got me thinking on how far a person can create a commercialized persona without being associated with his/her overshadowed true self. It reminded me of United’s crisis in which their branding strategy turned sour when product quality didn’t meet the promised identity, ‘Fly the Friendly Sky‘. In this case, a person’s overshadowed self is the underlying foundation of branding—its product quality. It cannot be measured separately with the person’s built brand image.

No matter how good a politician is, he will always be associated with his mannerism, tone, choice of clothes, or even personal relationships in any social settings. That’s the main risk of being a public figure—keeping every part of yourself open for the public’s eyes, figuratively speaking.

Personal branding sees a person as product-based brands, with his underlying characters and traits as product qualities. Those characters may change, and so will people’s perceptions of us. It doesn’t see us as these dynamic entities who are fickle at heart, but rather built a baseline to measure our values. For that reason, each one of our conducts and the things we speak of will be reviewed, not unlike the doomsday angles who will be waiting for us by the end of the day.

So how do you develop your personal brand continuously?

The answer is simple, be honest. Create a persona that is so similar with your core values that people would perceive you, as you. This strategy will lessen the number of expectations people have on you that doesn’t align with your essences. You are you, and they will see you as so.

Easier said than done, I know. Humans are essentially a bundle of jumbled emotions rounded up together that cannot, at any level, be stable. And we don’t want to be seen as such. There’s always this big tugging on the back of everyone’s mind to establish him/herself with this alluring persona—with the attention of being popular or simply stand out from the crowd, on some cases even by being alone. People are afraid to not be accepted, to not be seen as cool or established. 

And so the cycle of doom begun.

Just remember to not lose track of yourself when establishing your personal brand. Also, remember have a killing list of everyone who would most probably say bad things about you, as Ms. Pulung had said.

Lintang Cahyaningsih


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