Beauty, Business, Personal Branding
Comments 2

No, personal branding is not about being shameless.

Personal branding in Singapore has become increasingly indispensable, due to three elements: Globalization, the gig-economy and the normalization of social media.

Yet, sometimes because of a few narcissistic individuals, personal branding in Singapore is cast in a bad light.

It becomes associated with “shameless self-promotion” or buay paiseh.

Screenshot 2016-11-02 00.33.53.png

Is this always the case though? What exactly is personal branding?

There are many definitions–Let’s look at some of them.

“Your personal brand is how you appear to the world. Therefore, it serves to reason that a strong brand is preferable to one that is unpolished and uninteresting.”

“Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. We can build brand equity just like them.

Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.  This doesn’t mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories. Managing your personal brand requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and / or a voice that others can depend upon.  For example, when I write a blog or an article – I am extremely mindful that my community of readers expects a specific “experience of thought” from me.”

The above three definitions are reasonable.

Personally, my favourite definition of personal branding is that articulated by William Arruda

Successful Personal Branding Requires Focused Introspection

Branding is based in authenticity. It’s not spin. It’s not packaging. And it’s not about creating a false image for the outside world.

You need to know yourself – truly know yourself – to build your personal brand. That means you must get clear on your goals, values, passions, mission, strengths, differentiation, etc.

I also love the way William puts it

“People with the most successful personal brands know what make them great, and they use those superpowers to increase the success of their team, their projects, their clients, and the companies they work for – making themselves visible and indispensable in the process.

Of course, before you start communicating your brand to others, you need to be clear about your unique promise of value – what’s authentic to you, differentiating you from your peers and making you relevant and compelling to your target audience (key decision makers and influencers). If you start expressing or demonstrating your brand before you have crystal clarity, your efforts may be a waste of time…

…So if personal branding is more show than tell, are you showcasing your value?”

Therefore, personal branding is all about knowing yourself first, then communicating traits of this authentic self into value for the larger community.

Does this not change your perspective of personal branding in Singapore? 🙂

And no, it is not about being shameless. Far from it. It’s about introspection, listening, and communicating value to make the eco-system a better one.

This entry was posted in: Beauty, Business, Personal Branding


Hi! This is Wan Wei and some affectionately call me WW. I am passionate about mass psychology, cognitive biases, propaganda and Edward Bernays. Also Editor in Chief at IKIGUIDE (, Asia's first portal on personal branding.


  1. Nice article ww! I’ve also started a personal branding blog myself, but I’m from Romania. Here personal branding is vaguely understood, being as you said associated only with celebs and measured by you appearance in gossip magazines and talks shows. I’m curious. In Singapore being such discrepancy between social classes, how does personal branding manifest in lower classes where flaunting expensive items on social media may not be possible? Thanks and sorry for the long comment. 😛

    • Hello Rares,

      Thank you for your comment! Actually, even though Singapore has a high GINI coefficient (something which I’m not proud of), we’re one of the most digitally connected nations globally.

      So people do not necessarily brand themselves by flaunting luxury items. According to this book “Brand it like Beckham”, there are six ways an individual can brand himself/herself–

      Private: As a brother, father, son;
      Public: In accordance to fashion, sponsorship, profession.

      Therefore, even if you are not very rich in SG, you can still brand yourself in public as a dediated [insert profession] and privately as a great person.

      Then they use social media as distribution channels to convey such images.

      Hope that answers your question! 🙂

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