Let’s talk about personal branding in a more pure sense – not as a way of riding industry waves solely to achieve the status of “influencer.”
We welcomed our Branding Strategist, author, producer, and director Rachael Logue to share her insights on this process. Your personal brand is your unique expression of how you bring your service to the world. It’s your business psyche. According to Rachael, a few things make up a personal brand:
- Your Core Values
- Your Skills & Assets
- Your Personality
- Your Work Style
- Your Tone (voice)
These things all belong to YOU, and you might need to dig deep until your strike something real. Even if it takes a couple years to somewhat know yourself, having the patience for this is better than delivering something fake.
So How Do I Figure It Out?
Let’s dissect these concepts a little further to help you determine your personal brand.
- Your core values are your essential beliefs that guide your everyday life. We don’t always ruminate on these ideas, but think about your inspiration? What drives you to do what you do? These exact principles should apply to a business so that it emanates with the same, genuine qualities as your personal brand. When your philosophy in life translates to business activity, you achieve consistency as a result of drawing from a source you know best: yourself.
- Celebrate your skills and assets. It’s OK to get personal, because the Internet is exactly where people go to express themselves. People want to see the real you and appreciate it when there’s no barrier between you and them. You’re limiting yourself by only drawing from your resume or business services, so mine every aspect of your career and experiences to find something that best represents you.
- When you take the time to do this, you’ll realize how much easier it is to connect with people. If you have an obsession with something, chances are you’re not alone. Utilize this connection to project yourself and your ideas.
- Everyone has a work style. Some people map out their thoughts through a visual approach, while others prefer quantifying information through spreadsheets or charts. Perhaps you like to keep things fun and friendly, as opposed to strictly professional. What’s important is that you let your network know HOW you’ll deliver your product or service.
- There are styles of brand voices, just like what you’d find in clothing or music. Is your brand esoteric and self-aware? Or do you thrive on casual phrases and emojis? Think of this as your writing style..write like you talk! Incorporate your work style and personality into this writing. That being said, you should avoid corporate jargon or overused phrases. You’ve seen every company proudly state they “optimize” results, or claim that they are the “fastest” or the “most reliable.” Cut the hype because it only masks the real meaning behind you or your product. Highly technical terms may sound impressive, but after a certain point it will steer customers away.
- One more thing: Hip Lingo is NOT the way to go. Brands don’t decide what’s cool – audiences do. So don’t force something into the picture.
“Everyone can smell a fake from a mile away. The moment you start using buzz words is the moment you take the easy route.” ~ Rachael Logue
Be Genuine and Be Specific
The more specific you are about yourself, the more unique your personal brand becomes. This correlation is undisputable. Dwelling at the surface will not help you separate yourself from the pack.
What are You Trying to Achieve?
While you build your personal brand, you should be thinking about goals as well. Where are you in your career development? Are you chasing influence within an industry or seeking speaking engagement in your community? Maybe you’re transitioning to a new role, or simply trying to attract more customers. Regardless of what route you take and whether you’re rebranding yourself, develop a roadmap that will help you achieve your goals. Even if you tailor your brand to reach a certain audience, it should remain 100% genuine.
Under this approach, you must figure out your target audience – whose attention do you want? Find common ground by considering location, age range, and interests. Once you complete this, ENGAGE with your audience using specificity and detail. Find a conversing style that feels natural..do you want to relate? Impress? Entertain?
Tools of Trade
A personal brand isn’t complete without a couple essential tools.
First, you’ll need a powerful headshot that will cultivate a recognizable image for yourself. Don’t get stuck on a business savvy portrait. Candid or playful shots produce a vibrancy that can attract a lot of people.
While this photo can tell a strong story, you still need written content to captivate your audience. This is when a bio and website or portfolio come in hand. Under these platforms, it’s important to emphasize the impressive or relevant information upfront.
You should also be using social media planning apps such as Preview or Hootsuite. Not only will these apps help you visualize your page better, but they’ll also encourage you to be more consistent. Scheduling things in advance will ease the pressure of creating something fresh on a daily basis. Losing momentum means losing followers, so planning ahead will ensure you always have something ready.
Social Media Hacks
You need to be active or there’s no point in really using social media. In addition to sharing your content, you should be interacting with other brands, personalities, etc. to not only share ideas, but to get your name running through their channels as well. Comment, retweet, and reshare posts as much as you can – there will always be more benefit than harm. Maybe you look up to someone and aspire to reach their level. If you want to be at their level, hang out at their level. As Rachel notes,,
“The more you consume, the better you can judge.”
Now that we’ve guided you through the personal branding process, it’s time to put this knowledge to work..express yourself!