Ketan Dattani is the Founding Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Buckingham Futures and took some time out to speak with Rob Barratt from The Industry Leaders about the power and importance of building a personal brand.
Firstly, many people fear the words 'personal brand' as it means going public with your thoughts. I want to know if you have always found it easy to 'put yourself out there'?
Putting myself out there is definitely uncomfortable, there always will be challenges that present itself. It is normal to feel nervous or anxious when stepping outside your comfort zone. With practice, time and perseverance ‘putting yourself out there’ can become much easier. These are some things to keep in mind: 1. Start small by taking small steps outside your comfort zone. This could be as simple as striking up conversations with new people or sharing your thoughts in a small group setting. Gradually increase the level of challenge as you become more comfortable. 2. Embrace discomfort and recognize that growth and progress often require discomfort. Accept that putting yourself out there may feel uneasy, but remind yourself of the potential benefits and personal growth that can come from it. 3. Focus on your goals and passions: When you have a clear understanding of your goals and passions, it becomes easier to overcome fears and take action. Remind yourself of the purpose behind putting yourself out there and the potential positive outcomes it can lead to. 4. Surround yourself with support: Seek out a support system of friends, mentors, or like-minded individuals who can provide encouragement and guidance. Having people who believe in you can boost your confidence and make the process of putting yourself out there feel less daunting. 5. Learn from every experience: Each time you put yourself out there, whether it's a success or a setback, there is an opportunity to learn and grow. Reflect on your experiences, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate your achievements along the way.
When it comes to building an authentic personal brand, what advice would you give professionals starting out?
Building an authentic personal brand is essential for establishing a strong and genuine presence in your personal and professional life. Here are some tips to help you build an authentic personal brand: 1. Define your values and passions: Start by identifying your core values and passions. What drives you? What do you stand for? Understanding these aspects of yourself will help you align your personal brand with who you truly are. 2. Be true to yourself: Authenticity is key. Be genuine and true to who you are in all aspects of your personal brand. Avoid trying to be someone you're not or portraying a false image. People are drawn to authenticity, and being true to yourself will help you build trust and credibility. 3. Craft your unique story: Share your personal journey and experiences that have shaped you. Your story is what makes you unique and relatable. Be open and vulnerable, as this can help others connect with you on a deeper level. 4. Consistency is key: Ensure that your personal brand is consistent across all platforms and interactions. This includes your online presence, social media profiles, networking events, and everyday interactions. Consistency helps build trust and makes it easier for others to understand and connect with your personal brand. 5. Be intentional with your content: Share valuable and relevant content that aligns with your personal brand and resonates with your target audience. This can be through blog posts, social media updates, videos, or any other medium that allows you to showcase your expertise and insights. 6. Engage and build relationships: Actively engage with your audience and build relationships. Respond to comments, participate in discussions, and genuinely connect with others. Building meaningful relationships helps foster trust and loyalty within your personal brand. 7. Seek feedback and continuously improve: Regularly seek feedback from others to gauge how your personal brand is perceived. Use this feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Continuously refine and evolve your personal brand based on the insights you receive.
Do you think personal branding and reputation go hand in hand, and what can people do to maintain a positive reputation while brand-building?
Personal branding and reputation are closely related but not exactly the same. Personal branding refers to the intentional effort to create and manage a unique and consistent image or perception of oneself. It involves defining and communicating your values, skills, expertise, and overall personal identity to differentiate yourself from others. Personal branding is about shaping how you want to be perceived by others and building a strong and authentic personal brand. On the other hand, reputation refers to the perception or opinion that others hold about you based on their experiences and interactions with you over time. Reputation is built through your actions, behaviours, and the way you conduct yourself in personal and professional settings. It is the collective impression that others have of you, formed by your past actions and the way you are regarded by others. While personal branding is about proactively shaping and managing your image, reputation is the result of how others perceive and evaluate your personal brand based on their observations and experiences. Your personal brand can influence your reputation, but ultimately, your reputation is determined by the perceptions and opinions of others. It's important to note that personal branding and reputation are interconnected. A strong and authentic personal brand can help shape a positive reputation, as it sets expectations and establishes credibility. Maintaining this positive reputation by building your personal brand, being authentic and consistent, delivering on your promises and acting with integrity.
Can you share a success story of how you or someone you follow used their personal brand to build business or career?
Having a well-defined personal brand has helped me cultivate powerful connections. When I launched Buckingham Futures in 2013, having a personal brand seemed quite a shallow concept at first, but working on my personal brand has helped me become a better and more genuine version of myself. Having a firm grasp of who I want to be as an individual has made my decision-making and choices more consistent and in line with my business values.
Which platforms do you find most effective for establishing thought leadership and growing professional presence?
LinkedIn is the main social media channel I use to become a thought leader. This is where I share my skills, experiences and achievements while leading my successful team at Buckingham Futures. LinkedIn is a fantastic social media tool not just for recruitment and job searching, but a platform teeming with networking opportunities with professionals from diverse industries and backgrounds. In addition my other is Instagram where I share my personal experiences. I strongly believe in order to be a thought leader we must show not only the professional side but the personal life too. People will feel more obligated to react and share their thoughts when they see someone who can lead professionally and personally.
How do you ensure your personal brand stays true to who you are and your evolving goals?
To ensure your personal brand stays true, it is essential to consistently align your actions, behaviours, and communication with your desired brand image. 1. Define your brand values: Clarify your core values and what you stand for. These values should guide your decisions, actions, and interactions. Ensure that your personal brand reflects these values consistently. 2. Be self-aware: Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas of expertise. Embrace your authentic self and leverage your unique qualities to differentiate yourself. Avoid trying to be someone you're not or projecting an image that doesn't align with who you truly are. 3. Consistency in messaging: Craft a clear and consistent brand message that accurately represents your skills, expertise, and value proposition. Use this message consistently across different platforms and communication channels, such as your website, social media profiles, and networking events. 4. Walk the talk: It's not enough to just talk about your brand values and expertise; you need to demonstrate them through your actions. Consistently deliver on your promises, act with integrity, and showcase your expertise through your work and interactions. 5. Be genuine and authentic: Show up as your true self in all your interactions. Be honest, transparent, and genuine. People can sense authenticity and are more likely to connect with and trust individuals who are true to themselves. 6. Learn and grow: Continuously invest in your personal and professional development. Stay updated on industry trends, enhance your skills, and expand your knowledge base. This ongoing learning and growth will contribute to your credibility and reinforce the authenticity of your personal brand. 7. Be mindful of your online presence: In today's digital age, your online presence plays a significant role in shaping your personal brand. Regularly review and curate your social media profiles, ensuring that they accurately reflect your brand values and professional image.
What are some practical strategies or tactics professionals can use to expand their network and build meaningful connections?
Over the years I have adopted different strategies to help expand my network and build meaningful connections that are crucial for my professional growth and business opportunities. I am part of multiple professional associations and organisations, from London based business networks to Environmental organisations. These communities offer networking events, workshops, and online forums where you can connect with industry leaders, and potential collaborators. They give you an opportunity to actively engage in discussions and connect one-on-one with leaders on a personal level. The more you attend industry events, conferences, networking events and meetups, the more you engage in meaningful conversations, asking yourself thoughtful questions, and exchanging contact information. But always be prepared with a concise introduction of yourself and the work you do, learn to ask open-ended questions, actively listen, and offer value to help others. By sharing your expertise and providing assistance you start to build a reputation as someone who genuinely supports and helps others, ultimately you will attract like-minded professionals and foster amazing connections.
Along your personal branding journey, have you encountered any common obstacles that readers of this interview should be aware of?
Branding is a dynamic and ongoing journey that involves developing and managing your personal or professional brand image. Along this journey, you may encounter various obstacles that can hinder your progress. Here are 5 of my common obstacles that my personal branding journey has faced: 1. Lack of clarity: One of the initial challenges is gaining clarity on your brand identity, values, and target audience. Without a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for, it can be challenging to effectively communicate your brand message and resonate with your intended audience. Take the time to define your brand and conduct market research to gain insights into your target audience's needs and preferences. 2. Building visibility and awareness: Building brand visibility and creating awareness about your brand can be a significant obstacle, especially if you are just starting or operating in a competitive market. It requires consistent effort and strategic marketing tactics to reach your target audience effectively. Utilise various marketing channels, such as social media, content marketing, public speaking engagements, and collaborations, to increase your brand's visibility and reach. 3. Differentiating from competitors: Standing out from the competition is a common challenge in branding. To differentiate yourself, identify your unique value proposition and find ways to communicate it effectively. Highlight your strengths, expertise, and the unique aspects of your brand that set you apart from others in your industry. Focus on building a strong brand narrative that resonates with your target audience and clearly communicates your unique selling points. 4. Overcoming negative perceptions or setbacks: Negative perceptions or setbacks can hinder your branding efforts. It could be due to past mistakes, negative reviews, or misconceptions about your brand. Addressing these challenges requires transparency, authenticity, and a proactive approach. Respond to negative feedback with empathy, take steps to rectify any issues, and consistently demonstrate your commitment to improvement and delivering value. 5. Changing trends and market dynamics: The branding landscape is constantly evolving, and it's essential to adapt to changing trends and market dynamics. Stay updated on industry trends, technology advancements, and shifts in consumer behaviour. Continuously evaluate and refine your branding strategies to ensure they remain relevant and resonate with your target audience.
Imagine you have a time machine that can transport you to the future. What impact do you envision your personal brand having on the world?
With a time machine that can transport me into the future, I hope that my personal branding can influence people across the world. Sharing positivity through my knowledge, expertise, and values motivates people to pursue their goals and dreams. Over time my personal brand will attract like-minded individuals and create communities of shared interests and values. With these communities, it can help people facilitate connections, collaboration, and support among individuals who are working towards common objectives or facing similar challenges. Eventually it will promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Bringing together communities of different backgrounds by championing these values and actively advocating for underrepresented groups, we can contribute to a more inclusive, diverse and equitable society.
Close your eyes and imagine you're a bestselling author. What captivating book would you write to share your personal brand journey and insights?
What do I want to be known for? What am I currently known for? How can I start to bridge that gap? These are some of the questions I asked myself when I set up Buckingham Futures and decided to take my personal brand seriously. My personal brand is my story. It communicates the talents and values I represent to clients, colleagues, and other professionals. It is the culmination of what I do and what I stand for. It exists not only in my online presence but also offline as well. The captivating book that I would write to share my personal brand journey and insights would focus on how readers can use their own personal branding to connect with their business, to get better results than any corporate branding, and how the ways they choose to communicate their personal branding will determine if others receive it.