Dietitians determine how nutrition and good eating affect our overall health. They provide guidance about how to appropriately manage diets and nutrition for people who may be affected by health conditions such as diabetes, overweight and obesity, cancer, heart disease, renal disease, gastro-intestinal diseases and food allergies, but how does their personal branding set them apart?

Recently Associate Professor Naomi Birdthistle from the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation participated in an Entrepreneurship Dietetics Mentoring Circle, which was held online where recent Dietetics graduates attended for a discussion about being an entrepreneur and their future ambitions. The discussion that ensued centred around the importance of a personal brand. There are many people who doubt the necessity of personal branding but one must realize that in all the brands we have come to love today, we don’t just think about the company but also the talented founders behind them. If you think about Apple, you would also think about the type of person Steve Jobs was. Microsoft would be Bill Gates. Facebook would be Mark Zuckerberg. This is not only applicable to giant companies but especially to service startups where people are still gauging the value of what you have to offer.

Many naysayers of personal branding would simply dismiss the effort of building up your personal brand as an awful waste of time and would even go as far as to say it can get an entrepreneur side tracked from managing his/her core business. Personal branding is at the heart of any entrepreneurial business in my opinion. Business isn’t conducted based solely on the products and services you provide, but by your character, integrity, and personal relationships you build with others. People do not buy from businesses; they buy from people that they like. People do not only buy into things for their needs and wants. They buy products that make them feel good about their purchase. Personal branding is never separate from the core business of a firm; it is part of its success.

Based on this the dieticians discussed what platforms might be appropriate for them to use. They discussed how using LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest can be used to develop and promote their personal brand. They were advised to consider their target market and know what social media platforms they interact with so as to guide them, rather than doing the whole gambit, which would be a time waster for the entrepreneur.

One of the members of the Entrepreneurship Dietetics Mentoring Circle commented that she was looking for an entrepreneurial mentor who will challenge her way of thinking and help her find the answers to questions she has not even thought of. Because BSI has an extensive network of potential mentors, through the Entrepreneurs in Residence program and the Industry Advisory Committee, we will be looking at bridging this gap for the dietetic entrepreneur.