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Building your personal brand: 5 key takeaways from a branding expert

Building your personal brand: key takeaways from a branding expert

Here are five clear steps to build a strong personal brand.

Nancy Villanueva, CEO of Interbrand forIberia and Middle East

Branding expert Nancy Villanueva, CEO of Interbrand forIberia and Middle East spoke to IE Business School students about the importance of building a personal brand in order to grow professionally as well as personally. In her latest talk, Villanueva outlined 5 key steps for building a strong personal brand:

  1. Define your ambition: The first thing you must do when building your personal brand is defining your ambition. It is critical that you understand why you exist as a brand and what you are looking to achieve. Once you know where you want to go, then you can start to define a trajectory based on what inspires you and this will allow you to reach that ambition.
  2. Identify what you are good at: It is very important that you identify a set of skills that will differentiate you from others as it will be something you are not only good at, but you also enjoy doing. Usually, people are good at the things they really enjoy, and vice versa. One must polish these skills in order to stand out from the crowd and make one’s strengths visible to the rest.
  3. Have an opinion: When starting their careers, many people tend to believe that their opinion is not valuable enough, leading them to silence or belittle their own opinion. Villanueva encourages students and professionals to voice their opinion (always respectfully) and own it, no matter the position. This might not make you the most popular of the bunch, but it will definitely help build your personal brand and define your personality from the beginning.
  4. Adjust, but stay true to yourself: Like all good brands, you have to adjust to changes in society, customer demands, advances in technology, global trends/ events, etcetera in order to keep yourself relevant. Whether this may be to learn a new set of skills or adjust your existing ones, you must learn to adapt in order to make yourself more attractive to your customer (whether this be a potential employer, your boss, your network, etcetera.) Nevertheless, you must always stay true to yourself. Your core values and what you stand for must never be affected by external factors.
  5. Surround yourself with people you can learn from: It is important that you surround yourself with people you enjoy spending time with but also that you can learn from. You shouldn’t limit your network only to people who share your same interests. Sometimes people who are the most different to us are the ones we can learn more from– whether they are in another industry, come from another culture, or enjoy different things. It is crucial to surround yourself with people who add value to your life and have a positive impact on you through their energy, knowledge or background.

In short, Villanueva encourages you to “Be brave, speak up, play fair, lead with love, and most importantly: do what makes you happy.”