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The art of personal branding

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: In a world where countless brands vie for attention, the key to success lies in standing out. In this interview, Husaina Shabbir, a copywriter who specializes in helping high net-worth founders and professionals elevate their personal brands, and who has been recognized by GCPIT with the Global Women in Business & Leadership Awards 2023, shares valuable strategies and innovative approaches with Kuwait Times. These insights empower readers to establish a prominent presence in the competitive business landscape.

Kuwait Times: What is the significance of having a strong team and culture in startups?

Husaina Shabbir: It may come as a surprise, but team-related issues are among the top three causes of startup failures worldwide. A founder may have the best product or the most ambitious vision, but none of it guarantees success without a solid team. Whether a startup can afford to hire top talent or is building a team from scratch, the key to success is retention. This is only possible if there’s a strong, fair and inclusive organizational culture in place. When you have a team that is united, passionate and guided by a shared culture, you are not merely building a business; you are shaping a legacy.

Kuwait Times: What role does personal branding play in attracting and retaining top talent?

Shabbir: Personal branding is like a magnet, a powerful force that draws top talent toward you. Consider this: in a sea of startups, how do you differentiate yourself? It’s your personal brand that tells your unique story, conveys your values and sets the tone for what it’s like to work with you. When top talents see a founder or leader who aligns with their values and aspirations, they are not just joining a company; they are joining a vision.

Kuwait Times: What strategies can startups employ to effectively communicate their vision to potential employees?

Shabbir: Effective communication, especially when sharing your vision, is an art. Here’s a valuable tip: Don’t just showcase your achievements; delve into the journey behind them. Share stories about your late nights, your toughest challenges and the obstacles you overcame. Use platforms like LinkedIn to share the raw, unfiltered moments that led to your achievements. It’s in these narratives that people connect with you and trust the real you. Your authenticity and authority inspire potential employees to become part of your journey. Make them a part of your story, and they will want to be part of your dream.

Kuwait Times: How does personal branding help startups foster a positive team culture?

Shabbir: Personal branding serves as a guiding light for the culture within a startup. When leaders have strong personal brands, they set the tone for the values, behaviors and aspirations of the entire team. It’s like establishing a standard of excellence. When team members witness leaders walking the talk and living their brand, it motivates them to do the same. This fosters a culture of pride, ambition and unity. The key is to set expectations and lead by example. Become the kind of leader your team proudly talks about throughout their careers!

Kuwait Times: Can you provide examples of successful startups that have effectively used personal branding to attract and retain top talent?

Shabbir: There is no shortage of examples. Consider Tesla with Elon Musk or Virgin with Richard Branson. Their personal brands are inseparable from their company brands, benefiting each other. Closer to home, many startups in the Middle East have founders who actively engage on platforms like LinkedIn, sharing their journeys, challenges and successes. Their personal brands become synonymous with their startups, making them attractive hubs for top talent.

Kuwait Times: How can startups continuously nurture and strengthen their team and culture once they have attracted top talent through personal branding?

Shabbir: Attracting talent is just the first step. The real magic happens when you nurture and grow with them. Maintain open dialogues, celebrate small victories and learn from setbacks together. Encourage personal growth and provide opportunities for team members to shine. Above all, lead by example. Your personal brand should be a living, breathing entity within the startup, inspiring and guiding every step of the way.

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