“We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called you.” These are the words of branding guru Tom Peters – and this was also the main message of a talk on personal branding and leadership geared towards Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s top academic achievers.
The 65 student attendees from all seven faculties of the university – all of whom are recipients of NMMU‘s prestigious Vice Chancellor’s Scholarships – learned how branding oneself links to employability or, more specifically, attracting the employer one wants.
“Personal brands allow individuals to differentiate themselves – we’re all brands,” said keynote speaker Andrew Mackenzie, creative director at strategic brand agency Boomtown. “Your brand results from a set of associations in people’s minds, based on the content that comes across that relates to you. If you’re not branding yourself, others are doing it for you.”
Mackenzie said our personal brands included three key aspects: our identity, which is who we are, where we come from and what drives us; our personality, which is how we behave, how we dress and the attitudes we keep; and our experience. “Think about the types of professional relationships you want, what you want to be known for, and what your personal goals are. A lived personal brand conveys unique value and differentiates you from the crowd.”
He encouraged students to define their audience and then broadcast their brand accordingly –