On September 12, Mandela Washington Fellow Nomalanga Ndlovu joined our #YALICHAT to share her insights and answer questions on the importance of personal branding in today’s globalized, interconnected world of social media and entrepreneurship. Here are the key take-aways from Nomalanga’s chat with our YALI Network:
1. Define yourself and how you want to be perceived in the world.
“A personal brand is who you are and the process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about yourself,” Nomalanga writes. She highlights the importance of defining who you are in terms of how you dress, how you carry yourself and how you interact with others: These features are all a part of your personal brand, which impacts all areas of your life. She states that “personal branding is for everyone.”
2. Use your personal brand to squash negative stereotypes.
Nomalanga mentions how individual and collective rebranding of Africa can help ameliorate the negative global perception of the African continent. In order to reshape this image, she mentions the need for using personal branding to highlight the entrepreneurship and positive leadership initiatives taking place.
3. Leverage your social media accounts.
Your online presence plays a major role in the opportunities that are available to you: Be smart and thoughtful in what you post online and how you portray yourself. Nomalanga cites two studies that indicate the increasing importance of social media in personal branding:
“A study from CareerBuilder revealed that 70 percent of employers now use social media to screen job candidates before hiring them, up from 60 percent a year ago and 11 percent in 2006. …”
“According to Business News Daily, one-quarter of hiring managers expect candidates to have some sort of online presence, and nearly 60 percent are less likely to call someone in for [an] interview if they can’t find them online.”
4. Target your brand to a specific audience.
Be clear and concise in your goals and who you are trying to reach with your brand:
5. Make yourself memorable.
Personal branding is good for business. It’s best if your personal brand complements the brand of your organization or company. When customers or clients remember you, they are more likely to want to work with you. Make your personal brand unique to who you are.
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Nomalanga Ndlovu is a public speaking coach and founder of Outspoken, a startup that specializes in effective communication, personal branding and public speaking. She believes in the power of communication to connect people and promote conflict-free environments. Nomalanga works with several women’s networks to connect and empower young women, and she hopes to utilize this fellowship to better develop these skills with African leaders in government, parliament and the private sector.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blog posts contributed by members of the YALI Network.