Personal Branding Workshop For SMU Students

We see their logos everywhere – Apple, MacDonalds, Starbucks, Singapore Airlines etc. And we instantly recognize the brands behind these logos. Successful brands like these have created enough mindshare in all of us.
 
But less you think the term ‘branding’ applies only to big companies and corporations, think again…
 
Every individual (yes, that means you and I included) has a personal brand too. Think David Beckham, Madonna, Beyonce, Andy Lau, Lee Min Ho and all the other public figures we see in the media. They too used to be ordinary people like us before they successfully used their brand to skyrocket their careers.
 
Now that you know this, it still isn’t too late to consciously cultivate your personal brand. Start thinking of yourself as a brand. And no one else knows your brand better than yourself. And trust me, it will take you places if you do your personal branding correctly. 
 
Sharing personal branding strategies with the School of Social Sciences alumni students from the Singapore Management University (SMU) this morning, I discussed effective yet easy-to-implement ways to start building an awesome personal brand. In this blog post, let me take you through one of this technique which I term ‘SIM’. It is actually an acronym that we can all remember. Here’s why.
 
Your cell phone cannot operate without the SIM card. It is the key to activating your mobile device. Likewise, your personal brand will not be awesome unless you have created a SIM brand persona for yourself. It is the key to your ultimate success in life.

 
‘S’ Is For Story
 
Everyone loves a good story. From time immemorial, we have been entertained by stories from different sources – family, society, religion and politics. We especially love stories of how the weak become strong, the skinny becomes fit, the ugly becomes beautiful, the lost gets found and the fallen rise again…

Stories attract, entertain and invoke emotions. When you hear a story, you can instantly recall a similar episode in your life or identify it with someone in your life.
Stories also embody values we hold dear in our lives. 

What is your that one personal story that makes you stand out from the rest?

Remember, your story has to tug at the heartstrings as it connects human beings. And it has to be a true story. 
 
In my case, my story is how I have transformed myself from a sickly, skinny and low self-esteemed nerd into a multi-award winning business entrepreneur. And my story continues to inspire others through the years.

 
‘I’ Is For Image
 
Perhaps the simplest way to up your brand quotient is to create a desirable image. It is not difficult to do so. Here’s a quick 5 point checklist for you.
 
• Do you choose styles that flatter your body shape?
• Do you wear your best colours?
• Do you dress accordingly to the occasion?
• Do you feel good wearing what you wear?
• What image do you want to project to others?

Honestly, dressing is both an art and a science. There are certain key rules to follow (like the 5 point checklist I gave above). Yet, it is also an art because you have the choice to decide how you want to carry yourself.
 
Out of the 5 point checklist, I would suggest you pay extra attention to the last point – what image do you want to project to others? In other words, what are some of the connotations people associate your personal brand with?
 
There is a saying that goes – you dress not only for yourself. You also dress for others. 

Personally, I know for people associate me with adjectives like fit, confident, charming…How about you?

 
M Is For Message
 
Is there meaning and method in your message?
 
We get bombarded by messages of all sorts on a daily basis that we learn how to filter easily. And very often, we are closed to ideas, suggestions and proposals. This is because almost all messages are similar in nature. They are attempting to sell us something.
 
Stop selling and start caring! You are not a salesman.
 
The last thing you want to do is to meet someone new and start selling your product or service. Selling upfront does nothing good for your personal brand.
 
Ask yourself this – will you buy a gym membership from a guy who looks like he has many spare tyres around his tummy? Will you buy cosmetics from the lady behind the counter who does not even makeup on her face?
 
Authenticity is key to everything. Try to fake it and you will never make it. Do you walk the talk? Will you buy YOU? 
 
A personal brand can open doors and bring you places if people sense that you are real. 
 
When you care, people instantly know you are building a relationship of sorts for the long term. And they feel connected. Only when there is a connection will your message get across successfully.
 

If I were you, I will start thinking of myself as a brand. And I will want to start creating a powerful SIM brand that will give me that extra mileage of others so that I will always be remembered as the best in my field or go-to person in my industry.

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