What is a personal brand? It is the persona you present before the world, be it online or offline. Simply put, it is your image as perceived by the world, whether or not it was a conscious effort on your part to portray yourself as so. Like so many other concepts, the value of a good personal brand has changed immensely over time. A useful asset to own in the past, today it has become absolutely essential if you desire to stand out in your professional life.
It is important to note that there is no sure-shot way to create a stellar personal brand. There are countless variables one has to take into account, and it would be beyond the scope of this writer to delve into those details. Perhaps it would be better for us to look at a few examples of some of the most powerful, influential brands today in order to better understand what personal branding entails.
Shah Rukh Khan
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has not heard of ‘King Khan’, and it is downright impossible to find anyone who dislikes the man. A veteran actor in Bollywood, what sets Khan apart from other A-listers is his humble, down-to-earth attitude, and the sincerity with which he interacts with both his fans and colleagues. His honed acting skills, combined with his iconic personality, have made him not only one of the most desired actors to work alongside in Bollywood, but in Hollywood as well.
Dubbed “the Father of the Indian IT sector” by Time Magazine, Narayan Murthy is the cofounder of Infosys Technologies Ltd. and is credited for virtually putting India on the IT map. By refining and implementing the Global Delivery Model, he created hundreds of thousands of jobs in India, and firmly established it as the hotbed for outsourcing work in the IT industry. Murthy and his wife (Sudha Murthy) have also engaged in a number of philanthropic activities and charitable organizations.
Long-time fans of the hit show Shark Tank will stand by this icon through thick and thin. Known for his brutal honesty, strong work ethic, and extremely empathetic personality, Mark Cuban is considered by many as the Patron Saint for entrepreneurs, many of who strive to live by his example.
Well known for his quirky, un-‘suit’-like behaviour and attitude, what makes Musk so distinct from other Silicon Valley CEOs is that he regularly engages with people through his personal social media handles, and during interviews doesn't plaster a tight-lipped smile, continuously nod, or deliver one-word answers like others. Musk is comfortable in his own skin, and not afraid to show it, occasionally behaving in a manner many would consider taboo (for instance, the infamous Joe Rogan marijuana incident). Currently the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $249 billion, Musk is a testament to the value behind a powerful personal brand.
Ratan Tata, who converted the Tata conglomerate into an internationally-reputed business, is one of the most influential businessmen in India today. While in the business world he is respected for his shrewd decisions and keen mind, in the people’s eyes he is loved for his sheer dedication towards the company’s philanthropic efforts, and actually engaging with his employees’ concerns and well-being. Currently the Chairman of Tata Trusts (which hold 66% equity of Tata Sons and transfers its dividends to all their philanthropic efforts) and Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata elevated the company to a level of employee retention, consumer loyalty, and popularity, unlike anything they possessed before.
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