By | Shraddhanjali Rao | Head HR – SAP, India, Partner to the business, promoter of talent and technology
Inspiration to write comes from different places, but the topics I choose to write about are the ones that are close to my heart. I stepped into the month of March flooded with invitations to speak at various International Women’s Day events. A common theme thread that came my way was on “Building Your Personal Brand via Thought Leadership”. As I introspected, I realized this topic is not just relevant for women but for us all in this digitally dispersed and yet connect world. So here we go!
To me, thought leadership or a person brand, is not a ‘good to have’ trait – it is a ‘must have’ skill. Authentic thought leadership is a powerful tool to strengthen your brand not just within your organization but also to brand you as a trusted advisor among peers and colleagues. To me, it’s integral that you become someone people rely on not just for your expert opinion and value but also to bounce off their thoughts and build on ideas.
Most people I have met believe that investment in this space is for those in senior roles or for extroverted individuals. Some even believe that investing in building their brand is selfish and narcissistic. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was once a time I did not believe that personal branding was something that I needed to invest in. From the very start of my career, I worked hard – very hard. I believed that my work alone should speak for itself and that was enough to carry me through. Later did I realize that I was setting my own limitation. Expecting others to spontaneously notice and value your contributions doesn’t automatically happen. The nudge needs to begin from within, otherwise there is no other way the world will know your views as an expert if you don’t allow them to discover it.
Whether you are an employee or entrepreneur, cultivating a personal brand has become more important than ever – it’s a powerful way to differentiate yourself. The million dollar question that follows – “Where do I begin” or if you’re already there “How do I do it right?” If you ask ten people how they define thought leadership, you will likely hear ten different answers. When you start, you need to be clear of who you are, what is your message and what do you want from building your brand as a thought leader. As I share my secrets about building a personal brand, here is my disclaimer: I am not an expert on personal branding. What I will share today is a montage experiences that have helped me build my brand. My formula was super simple, all you need to do is be BRAVE.