Dwelling held Part 1 of its first-ever Personal Branding Workshop on Saturday 20 September, led by none other than its founder Julia Ng who has been in the branding business for 23 years! Business owners and those intending to start their own walked away from this 3-hour action-packed workshop with tools and insights to keep working on the creation of their personal brand. After all, as Julia revealed, discovering and creating one’s personal brand realistically involves a journey, not an exercise.
Julia, whom many know as a professional coach today, illustrated her own personal branding journey by sharing her world as a designer prior to embarking on her coaching career. She described how being introduced to a coaching program a year after beginning her studies in graphic design prepared her to excel in her career as a sought-after design consultant; and how after hitting her peak as creative vice-president, she found herself returning to the source that built her personal and professional foundations—coaching. She shared how her two seemingly separate paths of coaching and design initially found her busy and indecisive about what she really wanted to focus on, until the two paths met in what came to her as ‘joining the dots’ and the ‘complete branding solution’ she had been searching for. Having coached many people searching for more in life, Julia now uses coaching to help people discover themselves and what they really love, and then brands and designs their business communications appropriately.
So why did our participants sign up for this workshop? Some wanted to find out more about themselves and what career path to take. Some wanted to learn how to brand themselves and move forward as they enter into a new phase of their lives. For others, it was about learning how to position themselves for future projects, aspirations and businesses. Some participants held diverse roles or jobs and found themselves unclear about their positioning.
Julia started the session showing a video of an experiment that was conducted. In this video, a man plays the violin for busy commuters in a subway station for 45 minutes and earns $37.60. But he is no ordinary violinist; he is world-famous Joshua Bell who earns a great deal of money for his performances and his violin alone costs $3.5 million. Yet only one person from among the throngs realized what an incredible opportunity they had been presented with. From that, Julia dished out the hard truth about attention and recognition—nobody knows you exist; that’s why your visibility is as important as your ability.
More than dressing well and giving a good impression, our participants were amused to find out that branding is, in fact, everything—what we wear, where we hang out, who we hang out with, how we greet people, how we handle complaints… everything. And it’s not so much what we say we are but rather what people perceive us to be—our reputation. “You can’t hide your personal brand,” says Julia.
After showing us the principles of branding and getting us to inquire into some of our favorite brands, Julia went on to share how branding works, and that it is difficult to impossible to brand ourselves. So, in a workbook given to participants, Julia prepared a sample brand questionnaire with interesting questions that participants could customize and send to people who have an experience of them. Some participants were both excited and confronted at the same time at the thought of receiving the answers, but all were curious to know how others really perceive them. Julia then showed our participants a complete brand positioning target which they could fill out.
Participants dived into the business of finding out who they are authentically, and why they do what they do. Through the course of the afternoon, Julia provided exercise after exercise filled with insightful questions to uncover our identities, and build our brand story. At the end of answering the questions, Julia launched everyone into an activity to go around and share with different people their brand story. As they shared, participants began to enjoy the experience of discovering and learning about themselves, what was congruent in their shares and what was not. The idea was for any inauthentic aspects to be replaced by what’s real, and for participants to be enrolled into their own story. “If you’re not moved, touched and inspired by your own brand story, who would be?” asked Julia.
After looking into who we are and why we do what we do, Julia covered the how and the what—our proprietary process and uniqueness. She showed how different brands did it, including her own. Everyone had a shot at creating a clear and compelling personal brand statement and their 60-second pitch.
Before bringing the session to a close, Julia brought up a very important aspect of brand management—a person’s congruence. She asked our participants to take a closer look at how they might be acting unconsciously in a way that hurts their brand reputation. Giving real life examples, Julia showed instances of brand incongruence and congruence. She shared support strategies for personal growth and brand management, as much bad branding falls in our blind spot. She also suggested that creating a brand manifesto could replace the traditional vision and mission statements of the past, in giving us the inspiration to ‘walk the talk and talk the walk’. With that, participants looked forward to working further on their brand values and creating their brand story, as well as shaping their personal brand statement.
Next up, get ready for Part 2: Building and Marketing Your Brand! With a clearer idea of who you are, what you do and for whom from Part 1, we’ll be hearing from Andrew Chow, social media and public relations strategist and author of Social Media 247, on just how to put all that on the right marketing platforms that allow your customers to discover the brand called You. Join us again on Saturday 4 October. Book your seats with Hellen at 96192948 or register here now!
About the workshop leaders:
Part 1: Creating and Managing Your Brand Speaker: Julia Ng
Julia is a Professional and Personal Brand Strategist, Consultant and Coach who helps individuals and organizations create distinctive, integrated brand solutions and experiences.
She was a sought-after branding and design consultant for 13 years, working with companies to develop their corporate brand identities strategically before embarking on her coaching career in 2003. She saw that developing the people who work in organizations was an important (and often neglected) component for their—and their organization's—full brand expression. Today, she takes an integrated approach, combining her gifts and talents in coaching and design to help people develop their personal and professional brand holistically, from the inside out.
Julia works with entrepreneurs and corporate executives to create businesses that are a source of growth, profitability and fulfillment. Her clients experience sustainable transformation and a distinct advantage in their performance and results, including creating rewarding relationships, fulfilling career paths leading to monetary rewards and promotions, greater work-life efficiency, and improved health and vitality.
Part 2: Building and Marketing Your Brand Speaker: Andrew Chow
Andrew is a passionate social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur, speaker and author of Social Media 247. His insights into social media strategy, entrepreneurship and public relations have made him a choice selection for workshops and speaking engagements across Asia. His mission is to educate professionals on how to leverage social channels for tangible results. Andrew’s career of 27 years has seen him work with an array of clients including AXA Insurance, Abbot Medical Optics, Singtel and Sony Pictures.
Andrew had more than 280 interviews and features about him or his business since 2005 from more than 40 local and regional media.
Andrew founded IDEAMART (S) PTE LTD in 1994, and won the Spirit of Enterprise Award in 2008 and the Successful Entrepreneur Award in 2010. Graduated from Thames Valley University, he is fondly called "ideasandrew" in all his social media connections.
Andrew is a Professional Member in the Asia Professional Speakers - Singapore (APSS) and served as its President from 2012-2013.