BRANDING, put simply, is a way of saying that something belongs to you. You own your body and your personality, so you are, in every sense of the word, your brand.
Brands carry values. These can be functional, expressive and central values.
Functional values are related to product performance. For example, Rolex watches deliver quality timekeeping, Coca-Cola refreshes and Singapore Airlines offers "a great way to fly".
Expressive values focus on what the consumer wants. For instance, Harley-Davidson motorcycles epitomise freedom and adventure, while Tag Heuer watches convey youthfulness and athletic prowess.
Central values are the key to any product, and they permeate the very core of the consumer's belief systems. For example, Virgin, through its founder Sir Richard Branson, conveys an image of irreverence and derring-do. Apple, through its iMac, iBook and iPod products, conveys iconic ownership status.
How, then, can you express yourself as a brand?
our functional values can be expressed through the way you work and the way you solve problems.
You can convey dependability and integrity by the way you carry out your duties and responsibilities at work, in the family and in society.
Punctuality, thoroughness and efficiency are manifestations of your functional values.
You can convey your expressive values through your attire, hobbies and adornments, such as the watches and jewellery you wear and the car you drive.
Your values are also revealed through the music you listen to, the books and magazines you read and the movies you watch.
These tell people about your personality, how you feel about yourself and how you want the world to see you.
Your expressive values can work for or against you, depending on the image you want to portray and the environment you are in. For example, trying to look Bohemian in a legal or accounting firm may affect your credibility as a professional.
Your central values are revealed in the way you treat your family, co-workers and friends. They are unveiled in times of crisis, in times of celebration and in times of achievement. They tell people what you really stand for in life.
All these values make up your personal brand. How you want to position yourself to others is entirely up to you. But your values must match your positioning, otherwise your "branding" lacks authenticity.
To have a more successful career and a more fulfilling personal life, try seeing yourself as a brand. Discover your own unique selling proposition and attract your share of people who appreciate you, are interested in working with you and who believe in you.