Why you need to build your personal brand- in conversation with Raj Shamani

Raj Shamani shares why you need to build your personal brand more than ever!



3 years ago | 6 min read

The concept of a business building a brand for itself is a pretty common idea today. Most, if not all, businesses are branded, and they make money by developing those brands.

So why can’t people do the same thing?

A personal brand isn’t that much different from a business brand. Instead of marketing a store or product, you’re marketing yourself.

What kind of benefits you can leverage through your personal brand? Does personal branding work in your industry? How to start working on building your personal brand?

Founder of the Shamani Industries, a United Nations representative, and one of the top 10 young entrepreneurs of India, Raj Shamani talks all you need to know about personal branding in this exclusive interview with CoFoundersTown!

Q. Personal branding was earlier associated more with athletes, models, and celebrities. But, now we could see business professionals trying to establish their personal brand. Why do you think it’s getting more attention in the last few years?

People have always associated personal branding with charisma. People with charisma were seen as brands and everyone aspired to be like them.

Earlier, aspiration was the only element associated with personal branding.

With time, individuals and organisations have realised that personal branding need not be only ASPIRATIONAL. They now know that the potential and impact of a personal brand can be much wider than just being Aspirational.

If you want to become a brand, you just need to strike the chord with a particular emotion, and that emotion no longer needs to be just aspiration.

Q. While personal branding is becoming a buzzword on social media, there are still many many people who believe that the concept is not beneficial for their industry or the kind of profession they are in. What’s your take on this?

Personal branding works everywhere. No matter which industry you belong to, personal branding is always gonna give you an edge over your competitors.

And, the only reason it works everywhere is because, PEOPLE TRUST OTHER PEOPLE.

If you have a proven authority in a specific industry, people are going to look at you as the go-to person, people are going to believe you are an expert, and that automatically gives you an edge over who is not looked upon as an expert of that particular industry.

No matter which kind of industry it is, if people recognise you as an expert and you are helping them in a way that strikes an emotional chord with them, (whether it’s about education or helping them achieve financial stability or anything else), people will always want to do business with you.

Q. What are some of the major benefits that one can leverage through their personal brand?

People always want to work with individuals they see as brands. People want to do business with individuals they believe they could trust, could make money with, and feel good about being associated with.

Better authority, access to a bigger network, more opportunity, more money, and a much larger impact are five major benefits one could leverage through their personal brand.

People with voice can bring change.

Some people in your family/friend circle may have more knowledge and better opinion than the current political leader of your area and you might believe that this person in your circle could have been a better leader.

But, this person doesn’t have any voice in the system. And, that’s where having authority and a personal brand comes into play.

Q. Now, suppose an individual understands the importance of personal branding, they now want to work on it. What’s the very first thing to do? How to start working towards it?

Start creating content. Start getting active in the local communities through the medium which suits your industry more. Start interacting with 10-15 people who have the same visions and thoughts like yours.

Q. How has the emergence of various social media platforms affected the concept of personal branding?

People have promoted their personal brands through TV and newspapers in the past too. Many people were a part of panel discussions and expert comments.

Personal branding was always there. But, it wasn’t accessible to everyone. Not everyone can leverage it. For example- People might not have access to Times Now to express their opinions, but they can certainly do so on LinkedIn or WordPress.

Social media has now made it accessible to everyone.

Q. Are there some social media platforms that tend to be more beneficial than the others in establishing a personal brand?

It all depends on what you want to achieve. It all depends on what kind of audience you want to cater to.

If you wanna be seen as an expert in a certain field, go for podcasts. If you want to strengthen your professional profile, Linkedin is the place for you. If you wanna sell something to young people, Instagram could be the place for you. Youtube could be an excellent place for you to talk about how you can improve things for clients if you are content writer/digital marketer.

Q. What, according to you, could be the future of the video industry and Youtube?

The video industry is on a rise and videos are soon going to be the primary source of communication.

If we try analysing the radio industry, it all started with All India Radio (Aakashvani) but with more players coming in the market (like Radio Mirchi, Big FM, Red FM), the audience gets segregated.

The same might happen with Youtube. Right now, it’s the primary source of everything, but soon, there would be niche-based video platforms coming up. It’s gonna be community-driven.

Earlier, people used to watch long (20-30 minutes) entertainment videos on youtube. Now, when people wanna do that, people shift to netflix/amazon prime. People who wanna watch short videos are getting to Instagram. As time evolves, there would be more niche-based content platforms coming up!

Q. Speaking about LinkedIn, do you think there’s any aspect where it can improve as a platform.

There’s no check/validation. Everybody claims to be an expert in something.

It’s a place to do business, where you are gonna trust someone, and if there could be a procedure to verify what people are claiming, it’s going to bring more credibility to the creators and their content.

Q. What are some of the very common misconceptions people have about personal branding?

The biggest misconception is with how people look at numbers.

People believe that numbers work with awareness. It’s not true.

In reality, numbers work with influence. There can be 10M people who know you, but that number won’t be helpful if these numbers are not influenced by your thoughts, choices, and opinions.

Influence is going to create an impact that would bring the desired result. Awareness alone is going to bring only fame.

Q. People tend to make some mistakes and then learn from them. Can you list down some mistakes you made or you see people making while trying to build a personal brand?

Not being themselves, trying to clone what everyone else is doing, and losing originality in the process are some of the deadly mistakes one could make.

People should produce content according to their users, customers, and readers. And, not according to what’s working for someone else.

Q. Which professions, according to you, have underutilized the concept of personal branding and have huge potential?

Two spaces which have a lot of potential are lawyers and doctors. They cannot market themselves so all they could (and should) do is create good content, and make people trust them through the advice they give out through their content on various platforms.

For example- A new doctor can build the authority and credibility in a city by partnering with a journalist and publishing home-remedial ways to cure something. The next time someone has to visit a doctor, that doctor’s name is the first to pop up.

Q. What would be your advice to every individual who wants to establish a personal brand?

Start putting out content on various platforms for the next 3 months and see which platforms work best for you. Triple your efforts and content on the platform that’s working more while simultaneously creating content on the other platforms too.


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