In the previous blog post I had spoken about the imperatives of personal branding both for the individual and organizational success. The response to the article has been, well, overwhelming. This is not surprising at all for me as I understand that everyone sees the need to do it and are keen to understand perspectives. If I were to summarize all the feedback I got from various sources, it is as follows:
- Most comments agreed with the need for personal branding as an urgent action by organizations
- There were a few questions around how to choose the area around which one builds the personal brand
- The third topic is – how does one start doing this. So here goes…
Step 1: Identify 2-3 areas/topics which you are knowledgeable and passionate about. This is the most crucial step in the process. The selection should meet the following criteria:
- This should be an area in which your expertise is sought/expected
- Selected areas/topics should be broad else you might be constrained for content or thoughts as you progress
- You will need to continuously educate and refresh on the topic. Therefore, it is good to select areas in which you are constantly learning about from within as well as outside your organization
- It is desirable (but not mandatory) that you select an area which is of strategic importance to your organization. You will get more support from your organization if the areas are aligned
- To arrive at this selection, make an exhaustive list of topics that you have been working on over the years, and shortlist the ones which meet the criteria above. With this you are done and all set to go! This step might take you about 2-6 weeks, but as mentioned, it is too crucial to be done in a jiffy.
Step 2: Once you have identified the area, make a list of all the resources at your disposal to build on this topic. These would include organizational content, press clippings, analysts’ reports, books, academic material (whitepapers, research papers, journals), speeches, presentations, websites, blogs, tweets etc. Arrange all the resources systematically so that you can swiftly run through them when you need to. Keep refreshing your resources to stay current.
Step 3: Start to tap into these resources and over the next 3-4 weeks, build content and perspectives around the topic. Follow 5 blogs on this topic. Read a bestseller which has been published recently. Read up three whitepapers written by professors from leading institutions. Subscribe to a professional journal. Attend a global conference on the topic. You will soon be in a position to understand the current thinking that is going around in your ecosystem. You will also be in a position to develop perspectives and opinions on what you think and what your experiences have been teaching you. Based on these, formulate your topics and position that you would like to take.
Step 4: Manifest your brand: Once you have arrived at the topics and the positioning, start to plan your blog. Deciding the name of the blog and designing it to suit your brand messaging are next steps. Prepare a write up on why you would like to blog and others should be visiting the blog. This will help you shape the blog according to your choice. Launch the blog to your professional community and seek peer review. In parallel prepare a list 10-15 titles for next blogposts. One word of caution – I would strongly suggest that it is better to bifurcate your personal and professional blogs as two different ones.
Step 5: Write a whitepaper: Based on your study and opinions, write a whitepaper. Typically 5-10 pages long this will help you put on one single place all the content, perspectives and resources you have on the topic. The paper should be as detailed as possible and something that can be presented at an external forum for validation and critique.
Steps 1-5 mentioned above will ensure that you have achieved the basic level of branding and thought leadership. You are now set to expand into other formats of thought leadership.
Continue the Learning Journey:
Till then keep visiting the blog and giving in your comments.
Sunder Madakshira is Head – Marketing, Adobe India. He is a recognized speaker in marketing forums. Published with permission from madakshira.com
First published September 10, 2013.
Last update September 12, 2019