In the sixth edition of Cafemutual IFA event, Lulu Raghavan, CEO, Landor explained the difference between brand and branding and shared deep insights on building a personal brand.
She started the session by clarifying what sets brand apart from branding. Quoting Jeff Bezos, Lulu said, “Your brand is what people say when you are not in the room.” Essentially, it is what you stand for in minds of your clients, what they associate you with, said Lulu.
Branding on the other hand is the signalling system, which communicates your brand to the audience. Your name, business card, published articles and digital footprint are all parts of branding.
According to Lulu, instead of spending more time on branding people should focus more on building a strong personal brand as ‘brand = reputation’. Giving examples of Oprah Winfrey, Roger Federer and Richard Branson, she highlighted how each of them had a clear sense of who they were and had a strong and unwavering personal brand.
While personal brand consists of purpose (what drives you to be a financial advisor), positioning (how you are different from other advisors) and personality (how you interact with your clients), she recommended advisors to spend a little more time on positioning. “Positioning clearly communicates what sets you apart from other advisors who are equally knowledgeable and competent.”
One exercise which she recommends advisors should try out is the elevator pitch, which succulently communicates what they stands for. “In 10 words and within 30 seconds share a descriptive and powerful positioning statement. It can be a mix of your skills, strengths, credibility and values,” said Lulu.
While building your personal brand Lulu asks advisors to ensure that all of their communication is aligned to their personal brand message. She explained to advisors that their attire, speech (tone of voice and delivery), email communication, social media presence all contribute to their personal brand and they need to focus on it.
To help advisors in the personal brand building exercise, she gave them 10 thought starters:
- She started the list with Greg Well’s book ‘The Ripple Effect’ which shares why is it important to eat better, sleep better, move better and think better to build a successful brand. She shared that while many people think these are unrelated, having a right balance of them is critical for career success.
- Next she urged advisors to feed their mind with insightful and knowledgeable content, because what we read is what we say, “Page 3 in, Page 3 out”, she said.
- Third, she advised the audience to nurture their soul and spirit. Having an interesting hobby makes you a more interesting person and more memorable personal brand according to Lulu.
- Fourth, she asked advisors to define their work vision. She urged them to identify which segment of individuals they wish to cater to.
- Fifth, she encouraged advisors to develop and nurture their persona.
- Sixth, she urged advisors to use their voice, that is ask questions in meetings and presentations and not be shy.
- Seventh, she stressed on the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone in building your personal brand.
- Eight, she counselled advisors to find and lead with their inner style rather than aping the stereotype of a mutual fund advisor.
- Ninth, she acknowledged that sometimes people associate a negative connotation with promoting their own brand. According to her, there is nothing wrong in sharing your achievements but you need to maintain a fine balance between showing off your achievements and communicating what you do.
- Finally, she encouraged advisors to mentor others, as their personal brand would become stronger the more they mentor and coach other advisors.
She concluded the session by urging advisors to tap into their unique potential rather than following someone else’s formula and to use the power of branding to make it known and form emotional connections with others.
’Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken,’ she said.