COVID-19 is definitely the number one reason for global lay off at the moment. But is it the only one? The answer is NO. Besides, COVID-19 the ongoing reasons are either corrupt political systems or employment biases. While some businesses are going out of their way to do everything they can to retain and grow their human asset in most innovative and profitable ways, some businesses are using COVID-19 as an excuse to lay off people that they are not comfortable working with. So, should we be just passively suffering all negative influences or prepare ourselves to overcome the odds?
So, what’s this preparation I’m referring to? Well, it is about building a Personal Brand using SWOT Analysis. At this precise moment, you have to start on self-promotion by breaking free of the confines of a very shy culture in the background. Remember, it is not the 19th or the 20th century where there are too many opportunities and too few professionals to fill those opportunities. This is the 21st century, where talent and technology have minimized job opportunities; either through an eclectic mix of highly-irreplaceable professionals or with advanced technology that requires zero to negligible human intervention. At this juncture, if you do not stand up for yourself, if you do not upgrade yourself, if you do not talk about who you are and create a brand of yourself, you are missing on vital soft skills that distinguish one professional to the other from a barn of degrees and certificates.
So let’s get started.
What is Brand?
I’m sure that you guys are aware of what a brand is and what it does. For those who do not know what a brand is, it is-
- Lifebuoy by Unilever that goes beyond promoting its own handwash to encouraging people washing their hands with any soap or hand wash available to them.
- Brand is Uber thanking the world for not taking a ride.
- Brand is Fujitsu, Japan, which has declared moving its 70% of the workforce to a work-from-home setup because of COVID-19.
What is Branding?
In short, a brand is a name that sells. Now we know what a brand is. Let’s get to what Branding is. Branding is an action that builds and sustains a brand. Lifebuoy really had to recruit passionate people in administration and marketing to go with such an advanced mindset to promote a cause before thinking of its product.
Uber, on the other hand, promoted stay-at-home while trying its best to retain its partners and employees by ideating alternative services such as food or emergency delivery to put up with its huge business expenditure.
What is Personal Branding?
Brand or Branding is not limited to companies and products. There are stellar personal brands that dominate the world with their brilliance. You must have heard about radiant personalities are Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Indra Nooyi, Meghan Markle, and Sushmita Sen, among others.
What makes these people stand out is not only who they are, as you know them by their designation or social status. Each one of these individuals has their own journey, and there is not something made up but documented at length by worldwide media. They have stories that you must go through to find your resonance.
So, Guys, this is what I sincerely ask of you; I want you to build your brand; I want you to bring out your most authentic, self-determined, confident and skilful personality that’ll take you through any situation.
You know that according to an article published by Northeastern University, “an overwhelming 85 per cent of hiring managers report that a job candidate’s personal brand influences their hiring decisions.” Do you know what that personal brand comprises? It starts with a character of resilience, reputation, & respect. A personal brand is like that invisible tiara that signals the world that you exist, have a voice, and skill to make an impact and deliver to any standard business expectations.
How to Build a Personal Brand using SWOT Analysis?
Are you thinking how difficult it must be to develop a personal brand? See, I can say that it is not an overnight game. But it is doable through incremental steps. Your journey in personal Branding starts with ample time invested in self-reflection and introspection. The most effective approach to self-analysis is to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, also known as S.W.O.T or SWOT analysis. If you can follow my instruction thoroughly, I bet that halfway through this video, you’ll have great clarity of who you are, your strengths and opportunities and how you can work on all of them to build your brand.
To follow me, get yourself a pen and paper and markdown things as I instruct. First, we begin with assessing your strengths, then weaknesses, followed by opportunities and threats.
To analyse your STRENGTHS, you create lists and name them A, B, C, and D.
In List A, write down the skills that excite you. Go on until you are done.
In List B, write down skills from List A that you are very passionate about
In List C, write down skills from List B that you have so much to share about
And finally, in List D, write down skills from List C for which many people appreciated you.
Now, you see, what you have in List D are your strengths. Isn’t it easy? Listen, don’t be afraid if you have more than 1 skill. It is absolutely fine.
Moving on. To analyse your WEAKNESS, you create similar lists and name them A, B, C, and D.
In List A, write down your fears, doubts, apprehensions, & insecurities. Remember that this should be chiefly your assumptions independent of any external influence.
In List B, write down those from List A that control you the most and further club them as things you are shy about, things you hate, or things that you are afraid of.
In List C, put down the ones you shy away from, or you hate as per List B
In List D, put down the remaining that you are afraid of as mentioned in List B
So, List C & D in your weakness analysis are the challenges to solve which we will discuss once we are done with analysing THREATS after OPPORTUNITY analysis.
In OPPORTUNITY analysis, we will create a similar set of lists we created for STRENGTHS and WEAKNESS analysis.
In List A, you create a column of your skills as per List D of your Strengths Analysis. Adjacent to each skill, assign related professions. If you don’t know the use of a skill in your list, you can always Google or ask me in COMMENTS.
In List B, write down the professions you figured in List A on the basis of your preference because some of those professions may be salaried or commission-based.
In List C, Make a list of offline/online assessment programs based on your shortlisted professions in List B.
In List D, Get the skills pertaining to your shortlisted professions in List B verified by assessment programs in List C.
Can you guess how far you have come down from a point of anxiety to a point of self-discovery to build on your personal brand that’ll turn the world around you? Of course, we are not done yet. We will now get into THREATS analysis.
Please note that THREATS are distinct from WEAKNESSES. While WEAKNESSES are internal, THREATS are imposed and therefore it is important to tackle them early on.
For THREATS analysis, you have to create just a single list. Call it List A and write down all the threats if any. They can start from someone threatening you to either take your life or their own life, someone suggesting unfound defamation, someone threatening to terminate a relationship (professional or personal). There is one exception though: In this list, also include if you have any impulsive or intrusive thoughts often a mix of both internal and external provocation.
Plan of Action to Counter Weakness & Threats
Summarize your findings in List A in Threats Analysis, and Lists C & D in Weakness Analysis
- Consult with your immediate and most trusted member who has been a source of all support and strength in your life. If they can give you a permanent solution at no damage, go for it. Else, seek further help
- Go for a registered counsellor with an MA in Psychology. Take their advice. Go legal if asked, embrace therapy, or accept to be recommended to a well-known, experienced, and compassionate psychiatrist
- Basically, secure yourself from any potential threat or danger to your wellbeing. A lot also depends on your personal motivation to overcome a situation.
- Once you have help to monitor List A in Threats Analysis, and Lists C & D in Weakness Analysis, time for healthy distraction. Focus on List D in Strengths Analysis and build on the observations in List D of Opportunity Analysis.
Now that you know how to go about dealing with your weaknesses and threats, you have a plan in front of you down this SWOT analysis, let’s discuss the-
Plan of Action to Leverage Strengths & Opportunities
Now, you have List D in your Strengths Analysis that talks about skill/s that excite you, make you pursue them with passion, and have earned you appreciation on many occasions. Here are skills that you can pass on to others, also known as transferable skills.
Next, you have List D in your Opportunities Analysis. What do you do with this? With this finding, you know the good skills you have that you now should further develop, upgrade, or keep pursuing. Unless it is a very challenging situation or an emergency that you have to prioritize, you have to at all time keep working on the current findings of your Opportunities analysis. Here’s the roadmap to your epic personal branding that we started from a SWOT analysis that you are ready with. Basically, here are the actionables to build on your opportunities from the SWOT analysis we just conducted.
1. Determine your Calling
With reference to the skill or skills or assignment of professions in List B of your Opportunity Analysis in this SWOT exercise, you know if you are going to be a salaried professional, a consultant, or a creative freelancer. Now you have to find your true calling; the purpose you are going to meet as a professional. For this, seek yourself, spend some time reflecting on things you have discovered about yourself through this video. The more you seek yourself, the more you probe your interests, the easier it will get to figure your next move.
2. Invest in Learning
When you have a piece of land you can build a house. When you have knowledge and skills you can market them to build your personal brand. But how do you ensure that the knowledge and skills that you have are the best or next to best? You have already identified in the opportunity analysis section skills that you have which you are proud of, skills for which you have received an appreciation. But just because you have not been professionally utilising the skills, you are unsure of where you stand in order to pitch those skills to win an opportunity over this CoVID affected job market. So all you have to do now is to find out courses relevant to your skills and you can easily do so by signing up for skill enhancement through Coursera, Skillshare, and Udemy. You can either Google them or use the links in the description. What you must also remember is there are gazillions of learning opportunities that are actually scams or overpriced. Also, when you sign up for any courses, ensure that the program has the latest syllabus because you are not learning for a degree, you are learning functional skills.
3. Find your Tribe
While I love doing things with minimum interference, I absolutely love working in a community of the like-minded. Experts in one’s community challenge you to exceed their impact, which is a healthy competition we need to evolve for good. Here, one is a community to draw your energies, and the other is a community to channel your strengths and make your impact. Both are important. Learning & Teaching are two-way traffic that game up your financial possibilities.
4. Find your Cause
Cause Marketing is gradually gaining momentum. Whether with corporations or high net worth individuals, any brand must have the power to influence a cause to the notice of people to seek a desirable impact. In your journey of personal branding, you too must identify a cause. You can either support financially or in any other way you can have a significant impact on the success of the cause. If you are seeking a job, it is your employer; if you are a consultant, it is your clients who will be happy to know this human side of you. If you may, you too can evaluate your prospective employer or clients on this.
5. Ready your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a 20 to 30 seconds long brief and persuasive speech to spark the interest of a potential client. An elevator pitch helps a business owner attract a potential investor on the fly or win a new client. Job seekers can use an elevator pitch to attract a prospective employer, consultants use it to gain a new client. An effective elevator pitch informs of i) Who you are, ii) What you do, or your company does, iii) What’s your value proposition, and iv) What now? What action do you want them to take?
6. Find a Mentor
Identifying a mentor is about finding someone whose success aligns with your goals. It’s from this place where a mentor can give you tried and tested shares of experience and help you scale ahead of what you could not achieve without their advice. So, the way to go about it would be to i) ask in person, ii) be specific about what you hope to get out of your mentor/mentee relationship, & iii) emphasize the mutually beneficial nature of this potential partnership. At no time you can be disrespectful or even take them for granted. Remember that the person who you want to be mentored by may already have seekers like you. So, if you approach with sincerity, it is not binding on the person to accept your request. But let no hard feelings hold you back from finding those who may be willing to support you.
7. Harness the Power of Social Media
Social Media is still the most-effective medium to get started with your personal branding. If you aren’t actively utilizing the medium, now is the time you do it for three good reasons- i) They don’t cost you like a LinkedIn Premium account. ii) They help you establish your brand transparency and engage with peers, employees, customers, and the broader public, which further promotes your brand voice and social acceptability. & iii) Depending on how you trigger the platform’s algorithm, who you engage with and you don’t, you learn things first hand. An active presence on social media also has to be proactive instead of reactive. If you only post on LinkedIn when you fear a possibility of unemployment, it may not work for you as you need to build a support system through constant engagement.
8. Build your Online Presence
Done with social media, you need a website- your home on the web. On your website, you can share your portfolio, talk about things that matter to you, write blogs, monetize the website, make new connections, and so much more. You are far away from establishing a personal brand without a website that brings new people to learn about you and collaborate with you when there is an opportunity. You need to exercise your influence to make this world work for you. Wait. If you are back to self-doubting your skill and talent, you know why I recommended you to see a counsellor help you overcome weaknesses. So, do go for it. And then come back home to your comfort zone to give building your personal website a think. Check a super simple website I designed for a senior corporate professional I met over LinkedIn. You can be an entry-level executive or at C-suite level, if you haven’t invested in a personal website, you are missing out on so many possibilities. I highly recommend you build a Personal Brand using SWOT Analysis
Once you are ready to build your Personal Brand using the findings of your SWOT Analysis, reach out for my digital marketing services here.