Guide to Creating YOUR Best Personal Brand
What are some of the top brands you can think of? According to Forbes, the top 5 most recognizable brands are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. All pretty recognizable, right?
As media professionals, our goal is to make our personal brands as recognizable as those brands. How do we do this? Forbes has listed the 10 Golden Rules of Branding, which is a step-by-step guide to creating the most recognizable and memorable brand for you.
Have a focus.
As sad as it is, everyone cannot be everything. It’s impossible. Because of that, it’s important to choose a focus for your brand and what you have to offer. Having a focus makes it easier to create content around your specific brand, rather than leaving your audience and customers wondering what services you may be able to offer. This makes it easier for people to define you and your brand, therefore making you more recognizable.
For example, do you go to Apple looking for activewear? Or Nike looking for coffee? Or Starbucks looking for a new iPhone? You have to narrow down your brand in order for consumers to know exactly what they’re going to get when the come to you for services.
Would you want to be friends with someone who was ingenuine? The answer is likely no. You most likely want to be friends with someone who is going to be real and honest with you.
This is also true when choosing what company to bring your business to. If a brand promises something for you, then you would most likely be disappointed if they failed to follow through with that promise. That is why authenticity is key when creating a successful personal brand. Be you, and no one else.
“People can see right through a disingenuous act,” said Monica Lin, the head of marketing at Popular Demand.
To create authenticity within your brand, engage with your audience. You can connect with them through social media, the Internet or personal communication. Whatever you do, be real with your audience so they can see you as personable. The more personable you are, the more likely a customer is to trust you and your brand.
Tell a story.
One of the best ways to create authenticity around your brand is to tell a story to your audience. Create a story around your brand that your audience can engage with and relate to.
You can do this through written and published content, or via social media. Many media professionals create blogs or vlogs to tell their story to their audience. There are many ways to tell your story; the options are limitless.
When creating a brand, it is essential for your communication, appearance and values to remain consistent. If they lack consistency, it weakens your brand.
An easy way to keep track of consistency with your brand is to create your own brand standards. This can include personal logos, font choices, color palettes, values and missions.
You should also keep your personality consistent throughout your brand. For example, Beyoncé and Cardi B are both incredibly successful female music artists. However, they have different brands, and a lot of that comes from their different personalities. Branding your personality can include visual aesthetics, taglines and more. Make it unique to you!
Consistency is incredibly important for your brand. The smallest inconsistency can decrease your overall brand effectiveness and your audience’s trust in your brand.
Be ready to fail.
This may be the hardest thing to accept when creating any type of business or brand. Reality is that to stand out above the rest, you have to be willing to take the risk of failing.
“I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young. I learned a lot out of that. Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you,” said Walt Disney, the founder of the Walt Disney Company. This quote is a great example of why failing is so important. Walt Disney failed dramatically when he first went into the animation business, yet he ended up founding what would become the largest media company in the industry.
It is so important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone when creating your brand. You probably won’t like the first brand that you create for yourself. However, if you persevere and continue the trial-and-error process, you will end up surprising yourself and creating something memorable. It’s better to try something new and fail with it than not try at all!
Create a positive impact.
Would you rather burn bridges, or create a community? When it comes to your personal brand, it is important to network positively with anyone and everyone that you come into contact with.
Once you burn a bridge with someone, it’s hard to rekindle that relationship. Then, what’s even worse is when they start to share with their network about how you burnt a bridge. Because of this, avoid burning bridges and leaving sour tastes in people’s mouths at all costs. Instead, if you keep a positive attitude, people will become attracted to you and build your business.
Follow a successful example.
One of the best ways to become successful is to model your brand after another successful brand. You can do this by studying trends and popular individuals in your field via social media and websites.
While studying, analyze their success. Do they have many clients? Do they have a large follow count? Do they interact with consumers? What do their brands lack that you could bring to the table? These are all probing questions to ask in your research. Once you discover what makes them successful, model your own brand according to their strengths.
After you study some successful brands, take what’s trendy and make it your own. You want to follow the trends, but you also want to stand out and make your own brand unique.
Lastly, DO NOT COPY! Copying someone else’s work or brand could seriously violate copyright laws and get yourself into a lot of trouble.
Live your brand.
The great thing about having a personal brand is that it is YOUR brand. This also means that it needs to be authentic to you and lived out in your daily life. That’s why it is so important to avoid separating your brand from your personal life.
Tim Salau said, “It (your brand) needs to be an authentic manifestation of who you are and amplify what you believe.”
You are your brand, and living it out helps reflect your personal values across your work and across your brand.
Let other people tell your story.
The absolute best form of public relations is word of mouth. Because of that, you want people to positively talk about your brand.
If you let other people tell their friends, who then tell their friends, who then tell their friends, and so on and so forth, then you will eventually create a network that knows about your brand and your services.
Leave a legacy.
The truth is, you will not be the same person today that you will be fifty years from now. This means that you have to constantly evolve your brand to be able to leave a legacy once you leave your brand behind.
What do you want to leave behind once you finish your personal career? What are the keywords and actions that you want to be known for?