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Improve your image to get ahead in your career

Promote your personal brand in alignment to your aspiration, says brand management specialist

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Thee way you package yourself, communicate and act have to be consistent with your brand mission and mantra.

Are you conscious about your personal brand? You should be if you want to get ahead in your career or in life, according to a marketing and brand management specialist in the UAE. 

"In marketing, branding is very important as it makes the difference between a non-memorable generic product that people don’t care about, versus a brand that is special and connects with its consumers. Branding promotes what is unique in a product, and shapes not only what people think, but also how people feel about the product," said Lalaine Chu Benitez, managing director of Illustrado Communications.

The same holds true in personal branding, Benitez said. "If you aspire to be regarded in a certain way, you will only be credible if you promote your personal brand in alignment to that aspiration," said Benitez, who is one of two key speakers at "Bringing the Brand to Life", a workshop on marketing and advertising fundamentals at Copthorne Hotel on September 23.

Shouldn’t a person be judged on their performance and not on their looks?

"In the ideal world, all of us should be judged by our intellect and talents, our strength of character, and the value that we bring to the table. But in reality, we get assessed first by the way we look, because people are very visual beings," she said.

According to experts, people form an opinion of you within the first seven seconds. 

"Hence, making a good first impression is very critical. Before you can impress people with how smart or how friendly you are, you will get judged for the way you look and the way you present yourself. So always put your best foot forward," she said.

Benitez added that dressing appropriately also "shows that you not only value yourself, but you are also according respect to the person or people you are meeting".

She shares her top five tips to how you can use marketing principles to improve your personal branding.
1. Determine your brand mission and your mantra

Before you can even promote your brand, you have to determine what your personal brand is all about. Ask yourself: who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you bring to the world?  

Establish what your mission or aspiration in life is, and then form a three to five word phrase that explains the essence of your brand, or what you are all about. This is your mantra. Start from this basic principle. If you understand who you are and what you want to be, you will understand how to take your brand forward.  

2. Determine your unique selling proposition (USP) and do a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis

What makes you special?  What do you have that others don’t? You need to identify your most unique assets and facets that put you ahead of everybody else, so that you can capitalise on it. But it’s not only about your best features, you also need to have a reality check and find out what you are good at, where you lag behind and what upsides and challenges you may be facing.  

Knowing your USPs and understanding your SWOT will not only help you promote your best features, it will also give you an idea of what you need to work on to continually improve yourself, or the challenges you need to address moving forward.

3. Be consistent in your communications and promotions

Is your personal branding about quality and setting high standards? Then you should look, sound and act the part. Promoting yourself as a progressive thinking artist? Then you shouldn’t be looking stiff and old-school. There are so many other examples. The point is, the way you package yourself, speak, communicate and act have to be consistent with your brand mission and mantra.  

The only way to gain credibility is by consistency. Walk the talk at all times. And if that doesn’t come naturally to you, develop discipline to do it. That is key.    

4. Use the internet and social media mindfully as tools to promote your brand

You can leverage your presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, your personal blog, and other social media outlets to promote yourself. It’s there and it’s for free; a ready platform to promote your brand, right at your fingertips. Use it well and use it wisely. 

Gone are the days when social media’s sole purpose is for you to link up with friends and show goofy photos or share viral videos. These days, people will look you up on social media not only if they want to know if you’re a suitable employee or business contact, but also if you are good enough to be a friend, or even a future partner in life. So use these tools wisely. The savviest of personal branding experts leverage social media 365 days in a year to project the image they want to promote to the world. 

5. Be authentic. Keep it real.

There is a huge difference between pretending to be something that you’re not, to living and projecting an aspirational life that gels with your goals. Remember: go for aspirational, not fake. Just as it is in advertising, the truth is bound to reveal itself. In personal branding, people can sniff a poser from a mile away. Deceptive advertising will never pay off. There is a lot of value to staying true to yourself. The best version of yourself, that is.

Don't miss it

What: Bringing the Brand to Life workshop  
When: September 23
Where: Copthorne Hotel, Deira
Contact: 0553960088 
Email: email