You are the perfect brand…Make it outstanding…Shine!
Personal branding has become fundamental for business and career success, said Sigrid Tjijorokisa of Standard Bank this week Thursday when she delivered the inaugural address at the 20th Economist Businesswomen Conference in Ongwediva.
Sigrid represented her employer, Standard Bank of Namibia, who is the main conference sponsor. Another conference supporter, Telecom Namibia, is the major sponsor of all the Economist Businesswomen projects.
Sigrid talked to the conference delegates from her own experience through a career in financial services that saw her rise from Company Secretary to where today she heads Standard Bank’s Legal and Governance division.
“Your personal brand is about a lot more than just what you say about yourself. It isn’t what you say it is; it’s what other people say about you when you leave the room. It is a thought in energy, it is what people think of you,” she told her appreciative audience.
She continued “[Your personal brand] communicates your value to the world. It is how you appear to the world. Like everything about you, your personal brand is unique. In other words, your brand identity is the totality of what people perceive about you and is defined by everything you do, based on what they find when they Google you, how you interact with them and others, what kind of people you associate with, what leadership roles you’ve taken on, the type of content you’ve created, the ideas you promulgate, what kind of vehicle you drive, from what you wear to how you compose emails to how you conduct yourself on the phone and more. Your brand will always be defined by the traits you display and the work you do in your life.”
Warning the women not to align their views of themselves to judgemental expectations of others, Sigrid said “when you shape your behaviour based on external stimuli and people’s ever changing perception of you, you will end up jojo….up when the approval levels are up but constantly on a downward and upward spiral. A jojo also implies that you are not in control. You go up and down depending on who decides to flip it. And what happens if no one wants to play.”
In a particularly revealing slide, “Achieving more of what you want, by being more of who you are,” she said “strong personal brands are those that continually value and consistently act in ways that build trust, confidence and resilience.”
Incorporating her own experience into her presentation, she stated “When matriculating in Namibia my school career advisors told me to become a secretary. I told myself at the age of 17….Hell No. I went on to study for a Legal degree.”
On the mundane aspects of any career, she advised “I am not perfect and also not always right. So from time to time I also have to auto correct. But it is me-driven. My belief is that I am accountable to God and myself and that if I can look in the mirror and be totally comfortable that God approves and I am comfortable that I am doing the right thing….,,,then I don’t really care whether anyone approves or not.”
“I am very zealous over my brand. Which means I have to be responsible on how I manage it. No man is an island and your behaviour in and outside the workplace will determine how people perceive you. If you don’t take yourself seriously, do not expect anyone else to. Relationships must be chosen wisely. It is better to be alone than to be in bad company. Stop trying to compete against other people. Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day.”
Caption: Sigrid Tjijorokisa (second from left) of Standard Bank surprised the delegates at the 20th Economist Businesswomen Conference when she gave out five copies of the authoritative book on authenticity, “Becoming Michelle Obama.” (Photograph by Desèré Lundon-Muller)