Binod Shankar

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Why personal branding can advance your career by 10X

Companies spend billions annually on product branding. They also zealously protect their brand. 

In sharp contrast most managers (including ones aspiring to leadership) don’t bother much about their brand. They don’t develop their brand which due to this sheer neglect falls into disrepair and becomes invisible. The result? They lose out on many opportunities. 

So, what exactly can a personal brand do for your career ambitions? 

Visibility 

This is probably the first thing that comes to mind.

With a unique personal brand, you go from invisible and anonymous to visible. And visibility is just the start, the foundation of many things as you’ll see below. 

Exceptionality 

You don’t just become visible like many others but you also stand out for the right reasons and that’s not the same as visible.

For example, there are so many Chartered Accountants and CFA charter holders out there so it’s essential to be different so that people pick you to engage with. 

People must see something distinct in you that they don’t see in others and they must also find that impressive and attractive. 

Leadership

Leaders by definition have powerful personal brands. Think of anyone senior you respect at work and you’ll get the idea. 

Assuming that you don’t want to retire as a mid-level manager and want to be a corporate leader then what you should ask yourself is do people want to be led by you? Because unless you cultivate certain traits neither your bosses nor your juniors will ever support your argument to be a leader. 

When you build your personal brand, you’re also building a powerful argument why you deserve to be promoted to leadership.  

Impact 

If you’ve a powerful personal brand your juniors and even peers will flock to get advice and other forms of support from you. 

That’s a fab way of influencing and impacting lives and creating a legacy of sorts.

Learning 

What’s fascinating is that from personal experience mentoring, volunteering isn’t always a one-way street. It isn’t just you giving. 

Often my mentees and peers tell me insightful stuff and/or help me in my many projects such as my website, my upcoming book etc. 

Network

When you build a brand, you’re also creating a long runway of networking opportunities.

For example, a personal brand means you may end up mentoring many and a few of these high potentials that you mentor (select them carefully!) may achieve success in their careers & also be grateful for your role in their journey. 

I know because many of my former CFA students who I once mentored are now in middle or senior level positions in high profile companies and that’s a fab network. 

Speaking

A strong brand is something that event organizers love and you’ll then find it easier to get on the speaker list. 

Audiences want to listen to people who are not just successful but who are also different and who can connect. They want to learn how to be like YOU. 

I get invited to speak at webinars, live events and podcasts mostly because of my personal brand. Recently I was flown into Bahrain recently because the organizers wanted the large audience of CAs to learn about personal branding by listening to how I built my brand. 

Directorship 

Boards whether on nonprofits or commercial entities need directors who can add value. 

This value definitely includes the benefits you bring to them via your personality traits, your values, your leadership style, your contacts, your experience, your expertise, your influence etc. Guess what all that’s called in aggregate? Yep, your personal brand. 

I’ve been on the board of CFA Society Emirates twice in the past 15 years and now I’m on the advisory board of a respected UK university. 

Your personal brand will raise your profile making such appointments more likely. 

Business 

If people like you and trust you they’ll do business with you.

Your personal brand will help you grow your business, whether it’s a side hustle or full-time entrepreneurship. We are talking of growing your wealth, of money in the bank. 

Genesis, the financial training company that I co-founded in 2008, took off like a rocket mainly because of my personal brand based on my reputation as a trainer and mentor. Word of mouth was explosive and students used to eagerly sign up because they wanted to sit in my classes. The company was eventually acquired by Kaplan, the global training and publishing giant. 

These days I get approached frequently for executive coaching, financial training and financial advice all of which I charge at a premium due to the significant personal brand equity. 

Conclusion 

There are multiple benefits to building your brand. Broadly speaking, apart from rising in your career, learning and making an impact you can also grow your net worth. 

As an executive coach one of my focus areas is helping professionals build their personal brand. Such professionals are often bright, highly experienced CAs and/or CFA charter holders who want to change how they’re seen and hence move up and I spend months with them in a planned and structured process. If you wish to know more just reach out to me at Binod.Shankar@gmail.com

Your brand is both your lifeline and your passport to success in an increasingly complex and competitive world. Make sure you’ve a good one.