I have written about Billie Eilish in the context of personal branding before – how she defines her self-image better than most. She’s rather famous in a cover-of-Vogue-magazine, winner-of-Grammy-awards sort of way. But not all my readers were familiar with her. Even Billie’s music isn’t for everyone. And nor is your personal brand.

What’s a personal brand?

Personal brands are essential for success in the world of self-promotion. But what does it mean to have a personal brand? Is it just about having a catchy slogan or logo, or is there more to it than that? In this newsletter issue, we will be exploring how your personal brand has to start with a GTM strategy. 

Why do you need a Go to Market (GTM) Strategy for your brand?

A step which brand owners are tempted to skip is the “Go to Market Strategy”. GTM is the foundation, it aligns your business goals with your marketing plan. It has a number of elements and hence deserves this 5 minute read covering the 7Ws of a good GTM 🙂

A GTM Plan will help you answer key questions like:

Who do you want to reach with your messages and content? 

Why are building this brand for yourself or your business (Maslow’s hierarchy)?

Does Personal Branding Mean You Will be Famous?

A little. It is often sufficient to be a little bit famous. “World famous in Koramangala” is sufficient for a single-parlour hairdresser. If everyone in Koramangala showed up for a hair-cut they would be doing roaring business. Lots of doctors have a fan following that keeps them very busy and prosperous without reaching the “world famous” status of a Dr Devi Shetty.

GTM strategy helps plan your personal brand

Suppose that the goal of your personal brand is to ensure that you are considered an expert in product management for SaaS companies. Then your audience would be founders of SaaS companies, investors in SaaS companies, and a few product management influencers. Filters like location, language, stage of the company and compensation would further narrow down your universe. If you were considered the best product manager by even a 100 of the right people, you could be much in demand and have your pick of jobs. If you wanted to be a product management consultant you’d need to be better known as you’d need more than one customer, but even then, visibility with a 1000 of the right sort should do the trick.

Make your personal brand resonate for you

Defining who should be your “fans” is the first step to determining your brand plan.

The second, and related element is why do you want these fans? 

Billie’s fans help her make money, and give her the freedom to create.  She knows that her fans aren’t just going to buy the music, but will also want merch and concert tickets.

And she can sell them all this stuff because they love her so much-they are willing  to spend a lot of time and money on what she has to offer.

Personal Brand and Maslow’s Hierarchy

When you are clear about what your goal is, the attributes and audience can be tweaked accordingly. For example, for financial security an important target might be clients or employers; for respect it might be peers or friends; recognition could require targeting influencers, media, HR departments etc. The more narrowly you define your priorities – the easier it will be to will be to devise a go-to-market strategy to achieve it.

(My ad agency boss once told me that you can always tell an MBA by the jargon they use…Maslow’s is one of my faves. Ok, favourites, but I’m channeling my inner Billie, here!)

Don’t think of building a personal brand as a job-change strategy.

I know of a person who continued to be employed into his 80s. He was the best closer the company had and they were willing to provide him with a car and driver to show up just for big sales meetings. His personal brand was not big, but it was high quality, focused, and delivered what he wanted – respect, intellectual stimulation, and the ability to work on his own terms. 

Start building your personal brand

As we move into a world where employability matters more than employment, personal brand is your best investment against an uncertain future. 

There are many examples of a personal brand – Reshama Shaikh in Python development, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala for stock trading, Debjani Ghosh of NASSCOM, Rekha Menon of Accenture.

Ready to start creating a personal brand?

Yay! Wishing you the best on your journey.  Don’t forget to build your GTM Plan first!. 

Related Articles 

Brand You: A marketing approach to building your personal brand: Jessie Paul

How to do personal branding for growth – Sunder Madakshira

Three Things TO DO Before You Begin Your Personal Branding Journey – Ira Pradhan

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GTM (Go To Market) Strategy: The 7 Elements of a GTM Plan that Drives Business Results


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