Personal branding is all about having a strong and consistent personal brand which is essential for gaining and maintaining a successful career.In todays world, that include blog posts, social media profiles, pictures you are tagged in, articles or blog posts that you are featured in, pictures you like on social media, tweets, comments, shared articles, LinkedIn connections among many other online profile or account that you have created. The shift toward networked forms has seen the rise of the “personal branding”, particularly in immaterial and knowledge-based. For professional meaning makers of all kinds from advertisers, marketers, journalists, political and policy advisors, academics and researchers, success increasingly depends on each individual’s ability to “brand” their value skills, networks and immaterial qualities as a competitive advantage to potential employers and investors.Those who don’t know, crafting of the personal brand began with what in 1959 Irving Goffman referred to as “impression management”, evident in a more conscious attention to attire and corporate accessories like business cards, personal organisers and mobile phones.Personal branding has evolved alongside the development of corporate culture for the past six decades.The arrival of mainstream social networking platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in the past ten years has intensified and expanded personal branding in two ways. Nowadays, aspiring professionals can adapt the techniques of corporate brands in their identity and it matters a lot the way an individual present him or herself as personal brands gets mixed up with private social lives.Few days ago, I had a discussion about the private-public nature of social media that focused on the potential negatives.
Africa’s mainstream media have fed panic about drunken photos on Instagram harming future job prospects, and many employers report “googling” and “Yahooing” potential employees. This panic has subsided as Africa’s professionals use social networks to scout for talent, interact with leaders in their industry, and build their personal profile.Developing a personal brand can be a strategic and savvy activity for aspiring professionals in the cultural industries.I hold the view that if someone who is not online is probably isn’t going to be the right person for online media consultancy even if he’s a seasoned journalist with all expertise.In cases am familiar with, strong personal brand is the basis of career opportunities. For an exceptional few personal brands can also be commercialised. Those who have time, I can advise that you create a valuable personal brand because it could be the route to career success.Online presence, profile and connectedness are valuable commodities deployed by individuals to enhance their professional profile or to make money.When it comes to aspiring professionals in the knowledge and creative industries, making yourself more visible in a strategic and managed way cultivates a valuable self, visible and strategically positioned for future opportunities.Aspiring professionals can use platforms like LinkedIn to follow the conversation within their industry, establish a presence, and interact with industry leaders. Employment in these industries revolves around personal connections and who you know.
Social media platforms like Twitter adds another layer to this process of image and impression management. Advertising in the pre-social media era was accompanied by sophisticated forms of market research. However, that has changed as personal branding has become embedded in work cultures with the emergence of online tools and services that track personal brand value.Personal branding is part of branding becoming a ubiquitous platform for social communication. On Google plus, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms, creative folk both interact with brands, incorporate brands into their identity and present themselves using the codes and logics of branding.Undoubtedly, branding provides a model for imagining our self, constructing our identity, and our place in the global village. As different spheres of societies individuals imagine and present themselves using platforms and techniques once exclusive to organisations and state, are they becoming more empowered participants in economic and political processes.In Africa, Robert Alai in Kenya and Linda Ikeji in Nigeria are some of the examples of how to make money by having strong personal brand online.Personal branding has made individuals like Alai, Ikeji “richer” within the current system of cultural production in Africa, but that doesn’t mean it enriches Africa’s social, cultural and political life. The danger is when personal branding value addition makes such individuals more interested in out-manoeuvring fellow competitor online rather than contributing to meaningful public conversations. There are both utopian and dystopian views of personal branding. In my view, the main task is to assess the possibilities and limits of branding as a platform for social communication.