Building a Great Personal Brand

  1. Become a Mentor

In my opinion, the best way to affirm and establish your personal brand value is by becoming a mentor.

Ted Teng, the former President & CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World and the Immediate Past President of the Cornell Hotel Society, has held a legendary status in the international hospitality industry. Besides being an outstanding leader, Teng does not miss a chance to mentor the upcoming professionals and shape the young minds. He is a sought after name with well-known global hotel bodies and schools.

Gai Brodtmann, a former Diplomat, former Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence of Australia and currently on the Board of Bodies such as Museum of Australian Democracy, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Endometriosis Australia, The Australian National University National Security College, has been the finest Mentor to me. An outstanding trailblazer in her chosen field, her largesse and lessons are remembered and put to practice to this day.

Several successful people today thank their mentors for their career growth and trajectory and the influence their mentors have had on them. Warren Buffet to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, Maya Angelou to Oprah Winfrey, Socrates to Plato who in turn mentored Aristotle are truly epitomic examples of the mentor-mentee relationship.

The website Fearless Motivation put out its list of mentors to follow in 2020. It didn’t really come as a surprise that it was heavily populated by authors, with names such as Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, Les Brown, Joe Dispenza, Jim Kwik, David Goggins, Simon Sinek, Gary Vee featuring on it. The power of the written word surpasses most other channels and has the propensity for permanence.

In the same vein, I would like to add that you must acquire a mentor for yourself. It is an extremely motivating habitude to inculcate.

Nelson Mandela regarded Mahatma Gandhi as his lifelong mentor; yet the twain had never met.

  1. Help a beginner, a new entrant, the young…..

This is such a two-edged plan, both for the goodwill it brings to you and the good value you put out.

When I started my YouTube channel – The High Priestess of Hedonism in the Fall of 2020, the insanely famous film actor Jackie Shroff was its first subscriber. Even before I had put out a video! Even before I could ask him to!

The actor has built a rich cache of innate goodness around how he lends himself with utmost ease to any request that lands at his door – an endorsement here, a recommendation there, an appearance elsewhere.

Jackie Shroff’s benefaction gives a fillip to so many people, opening new doorways for them.

Not all of us are as giving as Shroff is, but it is a great personal brand value to aspire to.

Do things genuinely and altruistically.

Ted Teng, who gets invited to appear in a zillion shows and powwows, was as happy and eager to be the first guest on my Show. He brought in so much meaning and insights to our conversation, that the episode was viewed by a large number of people and shared widely in international hospitality schools and bodies of repute.

Sanjeev Kapoor, the biggest and best-known TV chef in India, who is often lightheartedly called India’s Rachel Ray, had an almost two-hour-long tête-à-tête with me for two of the episodes – so inspiring, so hugely delightful that I shared it across my large-ish social media platforms.

The acts by the three prominent figures spotlighted their brand value. It is of little doubt as to why they are reckoned amongst the best in their fields.

In the same breath of stating the above, I hasten to add that you must be especially kind to the underdog. Your posture elucidates your personality much more than anything else.

Years back I had the great fortune of meeting the legendary Rock star Paul Simon, easily one of the most acclaimed in our times. This was at the Hotel I was the Director of Public Relations for. One particular afternoon, I introduced Simon to the General Manager and had their picture taken for the Newsletter. But I was not quite in my element on that occasion.

Those were tough, politically-charged times for me at the hotel and I was low-key and taciturn. Perhaps Simon sensed it and he waited for the General Manager to leave. Once we were all by ourselves he asked if I didn’t want a picture taken with him. And then went about telling me to pose a few times for a couple of shots.

The great Paul Simon needn’t have done any of that. But he won more than an acolyte in me that day. He doesn’t need another fan, given the followers he has earned in a career that has spanned six decades. But he showed me what a fine human being he is and just how elevated his personal brand value is.

  1. Espouse a philanthropic cause or two

You must create a circle of kindness and work assiduously towards promoting the cause(s) that speak to you. It is good to add value to the society at large. It is one of the biggest hallmarks of a true blue visionary and pacesetter.

Oprah Winfrey, the global Queen of media and easily one of the most philanthropic people in the world today, has famously said that you don’t need money to be charitable; only the right intent.

The greatest leaders have used their philanthropic gene to define their personality. Warren Buffet, George Soros, John D. Rockefeller, Azim Premji, J K Rowling, Charles Feeney, Tata Sons have time and again appeared on the lists of the most charitable.

Well! What goes around does come around. Besides; even if you don’t get an immediate return or from the same quarter you have set a great ball rolling! Plus, the joy, satisfaction, gratification you get from doing that deed is such a major reward in itself.

  1. Develop your presence  on the visual platforms such as YouTube,  IgTV and others

We are increasingly living in a visual medium-driven world. Most people find it easy to watch content. Harness the tools available to create and promote your brand value.

Also be visible, via all the relevant opportunities you get.

Today, the immensely successful 74-years old Shobhaa De, often called India’s Jackie Collins, will not shy away from making an Insta Reel.

Shashi Tharoor, as well known an author as he is a politician, will appear on fun YouTube shows, including those that want to give his Home Tour. But even in those, he will cannily bring around the conversation to his core brand value – his writing, his books, his love for words and the languages.

Barack Obama, America’s hotshot past President, would playfully appear on shows with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah and the like, allowing a peek into the multi-faceted personality he has been.

  1. Never steal credit. Never ever plagiarize

When I was working at the Australian High Commission with Gai Brodtmann as my immediate boss, I had the opportunity to be in charge of the media team for Alexander Downer, the then Foreign Minister of Australia who was visiting India for Australia’s biggest country promotion.

At the end of a particularly successful national press conference, we all were sitting in the conference room of India’s Vigyan Bhavan. Visibly pleased with the turnout and the quality of the press engagement, Alexander Downer turned to Gai to thank her for the stellar show. Without as much as batting an eyelid, Gai said to Mr. Downer, “It wasn’t me. It is Aruna who spearheaded the whole thing. The credit goes to her.”

There was no real need for Gai to do that. The accolade was after all coming to her and her Department. But that’s what sifts chaff from the grain, discerns the commoners from the royalty of leadership. That day Gai left an indelible lesson with me and put forth the virtue of an astoundingly emulative personal brand value.

The other point I wish to make is that anyone who cherishes their personal brand value will never resort to the lowbrow tactics of plagiarism. You have too much confidence and pride in your own wares, such that you will not stoop to that level.

Over and above, in today’s digitally woke world, there are a myriad ways in which you can be found out with utmost ease, ending up losing face and position forever.

There are enough examples of those who have been caught and made a case out of, regardless of the high office they have held.

  1. Stay relevant

If you want sizeable traction on activities around your gravatars, if you want to be in the reckoning, if you want your voice to be heard and words to be read, if you want to steer above the clutter and the crowd, then you must always endeavour to stay relevant.

There is too much white noise everywhere, such that you must cut across it and colour it with your brilliance and germaneness.

  1. Defining your Personal Brand Value

When I indulge in a little exploration around just what are the traits of the World’s most valuable brands, I come upon the following ten as the most paramount, wonderfully summarized by the John Wiley & Sons’ For Dummies site, and parroted almost everywhere – Simple, powerful differentiation; A clear and compelling vision; A promise consumers value and believe; Distinctive, reliable, superior products and services; A strong, memorable brand identity; A consistently presented brand message; An amazing brand experience; Brand allegiance through and through; Adaptability to changing times; AND Focus, passion, and persistence.

Now extrapolate these ten to human traits and you have a fine road map to follow.

  1. How do you want to be remembered

This final one just has to be your best personal barometer. For people in professions like medicine, writing, sciences, arts, politics & policy-making and so many others, their work outlives them.

One significant benchmark that must guide us when we wish to develop a strong, impressionable personal brand value is how we would like to be remembered.

A thought in that direction immediately brings in a lot of sense, wisdom, gravitas and overriding responsibility when etching our public portrayals.

I recently lost a dear business friend. The obituaries have been pouring in. One common note that is ringing out loud and clear in all the obits is how Ila Kumar Valia – the friend who has gone away too young and too soon – was a kind soul who went out of her way to help others.

Working with one of India’s biggest media houses and the headliners of the Miss India pageant, Ila was responsible for talent scouting, grooming and marketing the finest of beauty queens.

Not only did she groom the erstwhile Miss World and current Hollywood/Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra and other big names that have raced right to the top, Ila would happily create an opening for a newcomer, get someone a job, help connect another person with an important contact, give her advice freely and just be the kind of person who anybody could turn to in times of need.

The legacy and large-heartedness Ila has left behind is definitely the biggest personal brand value we all must chase.

As a tribute to Ila and to highlight the significance of this invaluable dimension of a very fine personality, I share below the video message from Priyanka Chopra when Ila launched her own Grooming Institute.

Remember what I said earlier about what goes around comes around. About the sheer force of Karma!

But start drawing your circle first! And watch your personal brand value get its own star on the most feted Boulevard!

L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhirhttp://www.larunadhir.blogspot.com
L. Aruna Dhir is a Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist for some of the world’s highest-ranked Hospitality publications. Her industry writings are syndicated to the finest global hospitality bodies and used as references in case studies and hotel schools. Aruna runs an exclusive channel on the award-winning media digest, BizCatalyst 360° called “Hospitality Matters” based on her hospitality industry insight and commentary. Aruna is a recognized and national-poll winning Corporate Communications Specialist, PR Strategist, and Writer. A seasoned hotelier, Aruna loves to present hospitality industry watch, insights, case studies, and analysis to her ever-increasing base of global readership. Aruna has over two decades of experience in Hospitality Communications and Brand Management and has worked with some of the best global hotel companies. In her last corporate role, Aruna was the Director – Public Relations at The Imperial New Delhi, where she was part of the core group and was responsible for re-launching The Imperial as one of the finest hotels in India and Asia. Aruna’s hotel experience includes leading the Marketing Communications and Public Relations portfolio for flagship properties at The Oberoi Group and Hyatt International. She also helped launch the Vilases as the uber-luxury experiences from the Oberoi stable. As an industry expert, Aruna has launched brands, developed training modules, created standardization dockets on business communication, written manuals, conducted Image Study & Positioning Analysis, and led media campaigns of Australian Ministers in India. Aruna Dhir’s successful work tenure with Australia’s Diplomatic Mission in India in the capacity of Media Relations Officer, saw her working on a host of never-done-before exciting projects including the hugely rewarding organisation of Australia-India New Horizons – Australia’s largest ever Country Promotion. Aruna Dhir is the first-ever Creative Writer for the Indian greeting cards giant – ARCHIES Greetings and Gifts Ltd. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice and Amanda Bradley. While with the company she came out with several series of cards sold under her byline – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. L. Aruna Dhir also dabbles in poetry and has to her credit two titles of Anthologies published and marketed by Archies G&G Ltd. Aruna serves on the Board of Association of Emerging Leaders Dialogues (AELD), a front-running Commonwealth Body that works towards developing leaders and influencers of tomorrow, with Princess Anne as its international President. Aruna has been engaged in freelance work for Doordarshan – the Indian National Television, All India Radio, and Times FM. Academically, L. Aruna Dhir topped at the All-India level in her PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. Aruna has been a Ph.D. scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, akin to an Ivy League in India. She has earned a Senior Management Course Certification from the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; V Dimension Management Company, London & Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. Aruna Dhir has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne. Aruna is a Life Member of the Public Relations Society of India A Freelance Writer since 1987, with articles that have appeared in India’s topmost newspapers and magazines, Aruna is also a blogger, a memoirist with works published on platforms like Medium and a Book reviewer on Goodreads. In her official and personal capacity L. Aruna Dhir has and continues to work on several social awareness projects – People for Animals, Earthquake Relief, National Blind Association, PETA, WSPA, Change.org, Friendicoes to name a few. Born at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), one of the world’s oldest known cities, L. Aruna Dhir grew up and did her schooling in Dehradun, regarded as a prominent seat of academia and literature. After being brought up in the sylvan surroundings of the verdant Doon valley, Aruna chose to make the Capital City of Delhi her second home.