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Personal branding is all about finding yourself and then connecting with your tribe. Trust me, your business shall automatically be taken care of.
This is the decade of influential marketing. The consumer is no longer interested to buy a product simply because a celebrity who has never used it is endorsing it for a hefty sum of money, which shall most probably be borne by the consumer’s pocket. Instead, they are increasingly looking for products that are recommended by people whom they can identify with.
Recent statistics prove that if the consumer has some kind of relationship with the person recommending the product, the conversion ratio is much higher than celebrity endorsement. The reason is simple, TRUST.
This is the main reason behind the growing demand of influencers, specially on social media. Brands are in constant look out for influencers that resonate with their brand identity.
However, if you are an entrepreneur or solo-preneur, who is extremely passionate about her work, I would highly recommend that you focus on self-branding and become an influencer yourself for your niche. Because you can build a community of your own, like none other.
If you take the spot light and speak up, your tribe will find you and connect. An engaged community online has a much higher conversion rate than running ad campaigns, as well as a higher ROI. Once the converted customers are delighted with your product/ service they become patrons for your business, and often help you by referring other prospective clients. Only because of the ‘connect’, they feel that they belong to same community, or share some commonality with the entrepreneur, like standing for the same cause.
However, this is where the biggest challenge comes.
Contrary to what most people believe, personal brand marketing is not ‘pretending’ or some false ‘perception building’, neither is it some form of ‘marketing’ of a ‘concept’ of an individual. It is everything that a person stands for, believes in, and is made of, voicing her opinions and building a strong connect with the people who resonate with her.
However, for most women in India, that still is surreal.
Our society conditions a girl child in a manner that ‘guilt’ and ‘shame’ become the intrinsic fabric of her individuality. She is exposed to a social structure that disintegrates her sense of wholeness, into feelings of being ‘not good enough’ by herself. As someone who constantly needs to buy tummy tuckers, padded bras, stilettos, mascara, false eye lashes, conceal her wrinkles, and count every single calorie she takes in, she has to be ‘good enough’ for society (read men), seeking external validation for her self worth.
I would like to share something important from my personal life here.
I am someone who has been speaking about Body Positivity, and creating performances around it. However, after developing hypothyroidism and gaining some thirty kgs in just a span of three years, I was in constant denial of my self and my worth.
It was in 2014 that I had purchased my domain name, but I waited for a period of five long years to publish it, as I wouldn’t feel ‘ready’ or ‘good enough’ to face the world, to get my professional profile shot for my website and blog. I was scared that the photographs would capture me in the most unflattering version, the one that I didn’t want to confront. With each passing year, I would blame myself, and decide to ‘take better care’ of myself.
This was basically a manipulative tactic to postpone the shoot only in the hope that someday I would stop looking the way I do and transform into someone I would feel very proud of, someone I would feel is ‘me’.
I want to ask, who made ‘that’ person from the future who doesn’t even exist anywhere except in my mind, more REAL than my current self? more ME than myself?
After spending half a decade in the useless pursuit of trying to ‘fix’ myself, I learnt to grow comfortable in it. Last week I decided, this is it. This is who I am, and I like it, and I am going to get that photoshoot done finally, people like it or not, deal with it.
The fear can no more stop me from reaching out, finding my tribe, connecting with my community, and taking the limelight, anymore. I know I have immense value to create for my women folk, I have dreams that I wish to see fulfilled, and this is how I choose to live now, fearless!
I would like you to take a moment and consider how would a girl turn out to be, if she grows around woman and men who reinforce the belief that she is ‘good enough’ & ‘worthy’ just the way she is? And that her life is not about pleasing others but discovering herself.
We suffer from what I like to call the ‘good girl syndrome’. And it takes years before we really get to know who we really are, what we really
want and desire. And this is exactly what authentic personal branding is all about!
Finding yourself and then connecting with your tribe. Trust me, your business shall automatically be taken care of.
So, this new decade, I encourage you to take a vow of no more shying away from your true self. This is who you are. You are much more than other people’s opinion about you. Remember, Personal Branding is the Art of discovering your desired tribe and connecting with them. It has nothing to do with creating or responding to people’s opinions about you.
Be beautifully you, unapologetically you. As an entrepreneur, you ARE your brand & everything your company stands for!
Author’s note: My photographs from the shoot have arrived, and I feel thrilled to see me just the way I am, the beautiful me, the unapologetic me!
Image source: a still from Tumhari Sulu
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