Ever since my undergrad years I have been fascinated with the science of Finance. One of the most important concepts that I have learned is the principle of shareholder value. The primary mission and goal of any corporation should be to maximize shareholder wealth – basically, increase the price of its stock. All actions the company takes have to be aligned with that goal. Every move the company makes should be for the purpose of maximizing shareholder value. Yes, of course, there are other measures – the social and environmental performance, the innovation pipeline, whatever. However, everything the company is doing in those areas will be reflected in the price of its stock by the magic of the Efficient Market Theory.
Since I came to the conclusion that I am a corporation, I am going to narrowly (and broadly) focus all my efforts, all my strengths, all my being towards maximizing that shareholder value. The way I see it, I am the primary – and maybe even the only – shareholder of my brand. Thus, the only way I can maximize my own returns is by being true to myself, to my wants, my needs, my career aspirations, my personality, and all my goals. Naturally, when the value of my “stock” goes up, I am more satisfied with life, happier, more giving, and, thus, more effective and productive at my job. Being authentic will also ensure consistency of my brand, which, in turn, will inspire confidence in my customers (and prospective employers).
When it comes to the shareholder wealth, the most important thing to remember is that the value of a share is largely based on market expectations of future performance. In the case of personal brand, this means that the value of my stock is based on my potential. I can only hope that the “market” is efficient enough to accurately determine the true value of that.
Branding yourself is not becoming someone you are not. Branding is presenting yourself in the best possible light. It is consciously choosing the most significant identity points that you want others to know and showcasing them using the most powerful props. It means up-playing your strengths and identifying your weak points with a plan to improve. In summary, branding yourself means setting yourself up to become a leader. And in that case, the only opinion that matters is the market’s.