BizGuide from The Accra Hub with Terry Mante
“Your identity is what you deliberately make yourself. Your image is what you deliberately show people.”
The evolution of the digital age has accentuated human capital value in the global economic space. Knowledge is the primary factor of production. Invariably, the human mind is the repository of knowledge. The challenge with knowledge in the digital age is that – because it can be accessed over the Internet by almost everyone with a smartphone – knowledge by itself does not give much leverage.
To be able to leverage the knowledge we have acquired, it is imperative we position that knowledge within the framework of a brand. Building a brand enables you to bring your uniqueness to bear on a particular strand of knowledge.
Many times, when it comes to building personal brands people tend to focus on the physical evidence – sometimes to the detriment of fundamental building blocks. Often, you will see people changing the way they dress, adopting phrases they use consistently in their public engagements, and sometimes taking well-edited photographs for their social media pages.
The challenge of personal branding sits right in the middle of ensuring harmony between what is seen and experienced by others and what is actually the case. When there is a conflict between these two, it creates a situation of misalignment. When a brand is not properly aligned, its integrity, credibility and durability waver.
An individual brand that has harmony is undergirded by a unique identity. You don’t build a brand by starting from the outward appearance. You build a brand by creating an authentic identity. A strong personal brand is established on the basis of character. Character is your unique, authentic personality. It is who you really are. Your character is expressed in your beliefs and actions.
Your character is shaped by your innermost beliefs and your utmost desires. What do you believe to be good or evil? What do you consider to be important or unimportant? What is the dream of your life? What would you like to do if you had all the resources in the world? What would you not do if nobody were watching you? What would you do if the eyes of the world were on you? The answers you give to these questions give an indication of your character.
Certainly, character is a solid foundation for building a strong personal brand. However, when people are unaware of your character you will only occupy high places in obscurity. Sometimes, people can be aware of your character yet they will not place much weight on its value. There are also instances when your character can be misconceived. All these scenarios have ways in which they could hurt your brand.
For your identity to reflect in your brand, you must build an image that synchronises who you really are with what people see. Your identity is what you deliberate make yourself. Your image is what you deliberately show people.
If you build an identity of excellence, you must ensure that everything you do is characterised by excellence. If you believe in punctuality, then let people see punctuality. If you admire simplicity, let simplicity be your hallmark in your public conduct.
A personal brand doesn’t build itself. You are responsible for your brand. You must build it to endure. For it to endure, ensure that there is no mismatch between your private identity and your public image.
Terry Mante is an author, Lead Consultant at Terry Mante Exchange (TMX) and Community Lead/CEO of The Accra Hub. Email: [email protected]