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Your Personal Brand & 4IR

Your Personal Brand & 4IR _ Liezel van der Westhuizen

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a situation we’re on the brink of these days; one that is both exciting and scary as it will challenge the very essence of being a sentient human being. 4IR will see our “physical, digital and biological” worlds merging across disciplines, economies and industries, say experts at the World Economic Forum. But: Your Personal Brand & 4IR – how will 4IR affect how your personal brand reaches its target market?


Everyone faces the same challenges related to 4IR – from the entrepreneurs and small business owners to the chief marketing officers of those big international corporates. What’s clear is that you can’t leave the marketing of your personal brand to chance and artificial intelligence. It pays to follow a tried-and-tested strategy, which the tips below will help you hone:


  • invest in an SEO specialist who steers your marketing resources in the most impactful direction;
  • tap into customer headaches and strive to solve these;
    • don’t feel on the back foot as an entrepreneur or start-up boss – your clean slate can be a decided benefit (no old baggage);
    • create a diligent tool out of your website, so its reach is truly dynamic;
  • make changes where staleness has set in – think “witty, vibrant, enviable, playful”; and lastly
    • take on the best suppliers so you can keep some areas constant and bring significant change to others.


But before you tap into the above with your non-robot-like perception, it’s worth weighing up the power of a personal brand – i.e. what people say to others about you when you’re simply not around. You don’t have to be a celebrity, or represent a political party – in fact, your personal brand is what makes you stand out. It could relate to your speaking voice, fashion sense, or the compassion you’re known for. And there’s always a very genuine aspect to personal branding because never revolves around “being fake and putting on an act or a show”.

Therefore, I suggest to my clients that they do some reading up on this crucial entrepreneurial subject. You can’t go wrong, for example, by having Donna Rachelson’s Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs on your bedside table (R165, Tracey Macdonald Publishers).

Still concerned that you will fall behind with everyone waxing lyrical about how to “future-proof” your business or brand for the unknown digital times ahead? Here are three tips to add to your personal branding armoury:


  • reinvest any hours that a robot is saving you in an area of your business that clearly needs attention;
  • refresh what’s not working in your organisation or small business; and
  • help your employees or suppliers to upskill wherever possible, so they’re on-board with your future aims, goals and strivings.


Your Personal Brand & 4IR


Taking the lead

Interesting new research from Deloittes looked into how organisations are enabling their organisations to succeed in the areas of society, strategy, technology and talent. But the study went over and above these year-on-year trends to assess what leadership qualities are most likely to empower staff and serve as positive examples to other leaders.

The findings showed that leaders – should they be entrepreneurs concerned with a personal brand or executives working within the parameters of a corporation – would thrive in 4IR if they were:


  • optimistically striving for a balance between societal impact and profit;
  • already reaping the benefits of data-focused decision-making;
  • confidently embracing disruption within defined parameters, such as by incorporating necessary future technologies into today’s work; and
  • actively preparing themselves and their staff for the digital transformation to come.


Essentially, it’s all about investing where you can in digital retraining and seeking new revenue streams from socially-driven or community programmes. After all, doing good by assisting others to prepare for 4IR is likely to bring good vibes and profit your way.

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