Whether you like it or not – You are a brand. Now, if you are a brand you need to have a plan too.
You are a brand – you may not realize this but you are! And you need to have a plan on how to project it but you just realized a few lines back that you were one, that is why I am here to help you.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Your personal brand is something which will grow over time but for that to happen you need to start. The journey of a thousand miles always begins with one step.
Laying the foundation of your personal brand is your first step towards building a brand and this is not difficult. Your brand is an extension of you – your values which are already within you.
Start from the inside out when planning to build your personal brand.
Let me tell you a story about a soap that is probably at your home too – Dove.
When Dove began its Campaign for Real Beauty (now the Dove Self Esteem project) in 2004, it transformed itself from merely a soap company to a company with a vision. Their new mission statement was that “beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety.”
By consistently aligning its marketing efforts with its mission statement, Dove has been able to change its public perception to a brand that authentically champions women’s empowerment and wants to change the conversation around beauty. The longevity and resources Dove has put into changing the advertising industry’s narrow view of beauty have also made Dove appear more credible with its marketing messages.
If Dove can do it, you can do it too. Be Genuine, Be Yourself.
When you are genuine with your work, it reflects in your work, product and the your BRAND as well.
Communicate your motives, make your mission clear, place your brand in such a way that it reflect your mission and purpose. Being genuine and true in your branding efforts goes a long way in creating a trust amongst your audience.
Promote your brand on social media
Promote your brand on social media, but beware with great reach comes greater responsibilities.
Social media has changed the nature of having a personal brand. The good side is the sheer volume of people you are able to reach. However, a certain level of caution must be exercised.
It’s important to know how to use social media properly to talk about your personal brand. Remember the first point we made was your brand is an extension of your values, so if you taint your name on social media, it will come back to bite your brand.
Tell an interesting story
If your personal brand isn’t telling a story, you’ve already lost half of your potential audience. Allen Garnett, Chief Strategy Officer at Skyword and author of The Creative Curve explains it best, “The most effective personal branding strategy these days is to build a true narrative – single character monologues are boring in Tinsel town, and even more boring for your personal brand.”
No one wants to hear you shout about your brand into the social media void, so create a story around your brand that your audience can engage with.
One of the best ways to tell that story is through written content or video. YouTube sees some of the highest levels of audience engagement across all the platform followed closely by Twitter.
The most personal way to communicate online now is with video. If you don’t have a budget for the professional cameras it’s alright simply use your phone to create a video message for your audience. Make a personal connection with prospective clients and connect with your audience.
Remember the little things
It is important to remember the small things you can do to improve your personal brand.
A simple act of following up immediately after meeting someone is important and keeps your personal brand a connected to your clients.
Little things go a long way. Rome was not built in a day and your brand won’t be either. But once Rome was built, it was the envy of the entire world and your brand can be the same.
Change is the name of the game
Your Personal Brand should see the same kind of progression your career has. Your first year of business will not the same as your tenth, this should reflect in your brand ideology too.
Business growth should go hand in hand with the ideologies of your brand. If your brand has been Philanthropist right from the start, that should not change just because you had a slow quarter or a year.
Find victory in your failures
Failure is tough, and all of us generally want to avoid it – that’s human nature. However, to have a personal brand that rises above the rest, you need to have failure.
Failure is not just any stepping stone to success it is the VERY FIRST one.
Walt Disney reminisced about his failed first attempts at creating an animation brand. “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.” And what can happen is never as frightening as not trying at all.
If Walt hadn’t failed with his animation brand we would not have had all those fairy tale stories that we so fondly grew up with and cherished.
Play the positive game
After you’ve developed your personal brand over a period of time, there are generally two ways to continue to build your brand – Hop over others and burn bridges or Steadily grow a community around your brand.
The first option though easy, is also a sure way of destroying your brand while the second option is difficult, it is a promising way to grow your brand.
Identify the right platform
A sure sign of a strong brand is its ability to shine on any medium- Display, Print, Audio, and Video.
A solid brand should adapt to its new environment while still maintaining the core look, tone and personality that it has spent a lot time to build.
While, radio and television ads were the darlings of the previous generation, we have social media which promises to give you the same reach and at a lower cost.
These are just a few answers to important questions you should know before advertising, if you want to know more connect with me on Instagram to learn more about Personal Branding.
Your Brand is YOUR Legacy
Once you’ve built your personal brand with a reputation and community behind it, the next step is to think about the legacy that you’ll leave behind. What are the keywords and actions that you want to be known for?
Blake Jamieson, artist at Blake Jamieson LLC, who paints pop art portraits of famous tech and sports heroes reminds us that: “Building a personal brand is much bigger than building a business. The only exit strategy is legacy.”
A personal brand is a lifelong project that constantly evolves and changes. Even the experts who build or enhance the biggest brands in the business know that there are no hard-set rules for creating a personal brand. But these general guidelines help provide first steps, especially if you’re starting a new brand or rebranding.
Apart from following the guidelines, asking experts to mentor you on how to create a powerful personal brand from an expert always helps.