IN today's populous world, it's become ever more important to stand out from the crowd instead of following the masses. It's important to create an impression in the community you are in and in your workplace so that you're more than just a name.
In fact, being unique means developing what is called a "personal brand". In the article, The First Step to Building your Personal Brand published by Forbes online, the author says, "Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for". Personal branding is becoming more prevalent in the business world and many MBA courses are placing more emphasis on the subject.
If you look at branding on the consumer level, the most memorable brands are the unique ones. Whether it's Apple, McDonald's or Starbucks, these brands have traits that separate them from the others. Most importantly, people remember these brands.
Personal branding works on the same idea. An article on Fast Company's website entitled "The Brand Called You" sums it up quite succinctly. "Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."
Identifying your personal likes and dislikes is the first step to identifying your personal brand. For example, do you have any niche hobbies, such as collecting vinyl records? Perhaps, you are great at organising events and conceptualising themes for them?
These traits could even earn you a living. In an article entitled "Why being unique is vital to your success in any job market" by Intersource, the author suggests looking at your hobbies as they might be a great source of income. For example, if you love organising parties, you could make a great party planner.
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Even if you decide not to venture out on your own, these personal pastimes could help you in your job or find your dream vocation. Not only are people looking for unique, they will remember unique.
The easiest and most obvious way to express your individuality would be your wardrobe. Whether you like it or not, what you wear can speak volumes about who you are and when done right, could help make you more memorable to others.
Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga is one example of when style is distinct and a true representation of character. Her outrageous outfits on the red carpet and on stage are very much in sync with the kind of music she records and her style of performance.
While her outfits can border on the ridiculous to you and me, they seem to do right by her career. Anyone else would look like they were trying too hard. Which brings to light an important fact to remember at all times when developing your individual style: know who you are and really consider what suits you best.
In doing so, you're not only taking into account your unique body type but also what reflects your personality. For example, if you generally like classic styles and have a taste for tradition, a bold-printed shirt would look ill-fitting on you simply because that isn't who you are.
A great style icon who believed wholeheartedly in the importance of personal style was Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, whose unique taste was the founding DNA of her legendary fashion house. In the early 1900s, when ladies were supposed to adhere to the norm of conservative dresses with high waistlines, Chanel went against the current and wore jodhpurs, men's collars and ties, pigtails and bowler hats. She once famously said, "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different".
Whether it is your fashion style or your leisurely pursuits, it is important to find an outlet to express yourself and create a you that is unlike anyone else. After all, we're no longer in the day and age of conformity and uniforms, but instead there is great appreciation of uniqueness everywhere.
This story appeared in The Edge on July 2, 2012.