It’s said that a person will be more successful in their career or venture when they’re backed up by personal branding. While it may seem like a lot of extra work to do so, it’s important to present an image that’s not only professional, but shows that you’re an expert in your field. Even if you’re new to your niche, your personal brand will still present you as an authoritative source of knowledge a potential employer, client, or business partner. This can even be applicable to the solopreneur who is running a business alone, or the hired conference speaker, or book author.
Personal branding involves a combination of actual promotional materials, and also the way you conduct yourself.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to create a personal brand for yourself, so you stand out from the crowd. It can take some time to build up your brand so always remember that people want to do business with other people, rather than an actual company.
(1) Identify your niche
It may be fine to say you’re an authoritative source in your field, trade, or enterprise, but to succeed, you must be specific. This will aid you in finding your personal brand design. In other words, you don’t want to simply say you’re an authoritative apps programmer. You need to specifically say what types of apps you specialize in.
This can be applicable to any type of trade or field. Narrow your market to find how your brand can be different than the others. What is it that’s so special about the products or services that you sell?
Identifying your niche early one can save you many years of grief. It can also save you some cash in the long run. Now that you’ve decided to only focus on fair trade products, local services, handmade products, or whatever it is you want, you’ll begin to see how much easier the process will be.
(2) Start a blog
What is the purpose of your brand? Do you want to help people? Do you want to provide better products and services than your competitors? Do you want to help other business owners to solve a problem they have with their customers? The purpose revolves around the promise. People have problems, and your purpose is to provide a solution.
One of the best ways to work on your personal brand is through a blog. And not only does it provide timely advice for your readers, it can also assist them with their problems. It’s never too soon to start a blog. You can start for free on Blogger or WordPress, and there are even free templates, so you don’t need to know a single line of code.
As you start blogging, you’ll soon draw followers to you. You may not quite hit on your niche yet, but that’s okay, as everyone who has every started a blog has watched it evolve and grow over the years.
A well-established blog will become a part of your personal brand. It’ll also be a part of your portfolio, so you can use it to promote yourself in the future. People may even see it and contact you, which will give you opportunities for collaboration on future projects, or, to actually make some extra cash.
(3) Learn about color
Color has been proven to influence behavior. You can also put this to your advantage. Blue is one of the most important colors, as it’s the color of tranquility and trust. Yellow is the first color to be seen by the retina and is attention-getting. Red is also an attention-getter and often used by people for discount pricing. Green is related to the great outdoors. Decide how color fits in with your brand. Blue is perfect for healthcare products, green for outdoor products, and red for communications.
Even people who are color blind still can see certain colors. Use this to your advantage. Colors can also be tied into emotions. Red is a powerful color for a new zombie game app, or gold or silver are perfect for a jewelry business. Pink is often recognized as feminine, while brown is masculine.
Color will be used for everything from your blog, to your logo, and your stationery.
Related Post: Color selection guide for your logo
(4) Do research
Identify your personal competitors. You’ll want to focus on the individuals, not the big businesses. What kinds of branding do they use? What kinds of graphic do they use in their logos? What colors are they using? You’ll want to avoid copying them, for copyright or trademark purposes. Ask yourself these questions. Do you feel that what they’ve done with their branding is effective, or can it be improved upon? This is your opportunity to do better.
(5) Work on a personal logo
You’d be surprised at how many people don’t have a logo. It can be as simple as a monogram, or be focused on what your personal brand is trying to do. Feel free to have a look around at effective logos, then sketch out some of your own ideas. You don’t even have to be an artist. You can do your sketches, and then hand them into your graphic designer or graphic artist, and then can take them from spec to final stage.
As you work with your artist, they can also create more than one rendition for you. The great thing about graphics software is that logos can be adjusted and changed. The colors can be adjusted, or the fonts changed. Often a logo will suffer many changes before an individual is happy with the end result.
A logo should also match your brand, and slogan, if you have one. It will become a part of your stationery, your website, and all correspondence.
Related Post: How personal branding helps your life
(6) Consider trust
Trust is an important part of any relationship with another human. You don’t want to have a loud and bright logo if you’re a therapist, or a black logo if you’re a gardener. When people view your logo, they should be able to get you at a glance and understand what it is you do. You also want your brand to announce that you’re the one people should call first. You’re friendly, knowledgeable, and fun to be around.
(7) Consider a slogan
Many larger corporations have a general saying or phrase. If you hear this phrase, their name will pop up into your mind without needing to see the logo, or their name. Even if you’re one person, you can still have your own slogan. This is something that people can remember you by.
A saying or phrase should only be a few words, and not longer than one sentence. It’s also a great way of creating a personal brand as it often encourages potential clients to look you up online. “Where have I heard that before?” they’ll ask themselves.
(8) Write an e-book
Once you’ve set up your website, logo and stationery, and have had a blog going for several weeks, writing an e-book can also work to your benefit. It shows that you’re an expert in your field, as now you have an entire book about your special topic.
You’ll have to decide whether to give away your e-book, or charge a fee for it. If it’s free, it can be used as a personal branding tool too. If you charge for it, it may be difficult to get that sale unless you offer value.
Is your brand consistent? Ensure you’re not using a different logo on your stationery than your website, or your business cards. You’ll also want to ensure you use the same fonts across all products, from signage, to logo, to stationery. This is also why it’s important to have only one designer create everything for you, or at least to have your logo designer work with stationery supplier, so that your expectations are met.
This is also applicable to when you do your social media posts, or add a photograph to a brochure. Does it all align with your main message? Remember that your message is your purpose for being in business, and should conform to your slogan.
(10) Does it rely on emotions?
A consumer wants to work with an individual, but it begins with emotions. There is emotion when they see you advertising on social media, or they have come across your great blog or website. If they’re enthusiastic, they’ll sign up for your mailing list, or order your products or services.
There is emotion when they see a cute product on Facebook and rush to put it into their shopping cart. There is emotion involved when they have a health issue and are reading blogs to find a way to feel better.
Often, emotions aren’t rational either. It’s possible that you can tie into this. You can play into the emotions of your consumers so that their inner voice will acknowledge your personal brand is better and that they must have it now!
(11) Don’t neglect social media
Social media is one of the best ways to do free advertising. You can also collect together a list of followers, and sell your personal brand to them directly.
Social media is also a way that you can connect directly to potential customers or clients. People will be more likely to buy your product or service when they know that there’s a real person behind that item.
You’ll want to ensure that you flesh out your social media profiles, and make them consistent. Add your contact information to your accounts so people can find you: website, email address, toll free number.
Is your brand flexible? This means, can you make minute adjustments to it over the next few years of time? It can be expensive working on your personal brand. You’ll need to hire a graphic designer to create a logo, and buy promotional materials and ads. If you haven’t quite hit your brand on the head, it’s important to know that you can adjust it slightly.
It can be a fine art achieving consistency and flexibility in a brand. But consider the brand Coca-Cola. They have made flexible changes with their brand, yet still retain that original image. Be like that.
(13) Learn the elements of personal branding examples
By now you likely understand that you need a logo, stationery, and a slogan for your business. But you may be puzzled what else you need to do to create your brand. Branding might also include your social media accounts, a book, an e-book, and a sign-up form for a mailing list. It can also include marketing materials, such as flyers, brochures, and leaflets.
Related Post: How to select a theme for your brand package
(14) Don’t go it alone
Be sure to interrogate your designers, as they are the ones with the experience in this field. They understand what it takes for a successful personal branded design. You may be stuck on the bright yellow sun, but they may know that five of your competitors are using that same image. Let them try a few different renditions, rather than simply finding someone to do exactly what you want. They’ll be able to have their input, and you just may learn something in the process.
(15) Test your brand
A competent graphic designer will keep you in the loop are your brand takes shape. Take the opportunity to test out some of their designs. You can set them up on Word and print them out.
Show your dummy stationery to your friends and colleagues. Ask them for feedback. Does this brand best represent you, or does it remind them of someone else? Are they able to discern what it is your do?
Follow this step-by-step guide and soon you’ll be on your way to your personal brand success. We wish you great success in creating an individual and unique personal brand that can be used for your business ventures.