Corporate branding entails a lot more than just logos and color schemes. A company’s brand influences how you think and feel about it. This encompasses both positive and negative aspects. You might associate a brand with luxury and a high price, for example. For the consumer, this could imply a high level of status and dependability. Another company’s logo may conjure up images of low prices and convenience. However, you may also consider unethical environmental or labor actions. The brand is most likely aimed at providing value.
However, public perceptions of social responsibility are also part of a company’s brand. Is the business involved in issues like pet adoption, cancer awareness, or veteran relief?
Each improves brand perception, but picking which causes to support is as important. It’s fantastic if a pet food manufacturer donates to homeless shelters. Contributing to pet adoption, on the other hand, is more memorable. To put it another way, the cause is more “on brand.” The music used in advertisements, as well as the words used in advertisements, all add to your impression of a firm. That is their image as a company.
You examine essentially the same concepts while creating a personal brand. Consider how others see your job, how you interact with others, and how memorable you are as a person.
In some ways, this appears to be the easier option. You have greater control over factors than a corporate brand. You won’t have to be concerned about a corporate representative making a blunder or an increase in workplace safety concerns. Personal brands, on the other hand, are challenging in different ways. Celebrities, for example, have had their brands ruined overnight by careless Tweets or bad public behavior. In a nutshell, your personal brand is unique.
1. Do you need a personal brand?
Let’s take a look at why almost everyone needs a personal brand before we get started. You could believe that a personal brand is just necessary for solopreneurs or social media influencers. In fact, all professionals should work to build and maintain their personal brand. For example, your coworkers may remember you as kind and courteous, while your boss relies on your dependability. That is the identity of your company. However, a Facebook rant or an unduly heated argument with a coworker can swiftly ruin that brand.
As a result, while the following brand building techniques are geared toward entrepreneurs, they are applicable to all professionals.
2. Define yourself.
This step necessitates introspection and candor. Do not attempt to establish a “character” to live up to, no matter how enticing. You’ll exhaust yourself trying to live up to the expectation of being a symbolic Superman or Superwoman who can do anything. Worse, people will be able to see through this phony persona and may even dislike it. Instead, think about your values. At your core, who are you? Make a list of your distinguishing qualities, interests, and personal styles. What distinguishes you from others in terms of positive qualities and goals? Take your time putting them together to create the clear, unified image you want to convey. It should be simple enough for people to get a feel of who you are fast, but it should also be unique.
3. Know your competition and differentiate.
Examine your competitors as you develop your personal brand. What distinguishes you and your product from the competition? What unique qualities do you have to offer that make you stand out? As a process, go back and forth between this and the prior stage. Slowly, a unique image of your personal brand will form, setting you apart from the competition.
Consider your options visually as well. At a glance, determine the distinct colors, fonts, photos, graphics, and general style that will set you out in digital media. Also, make sure that the styles you choose are consistent with your brand’s image.
4. Determine your audience and why they should care about you.
In most cases, determining your target audience is the first step. However, when it comes to building a personal brand, it’s critical, to be honest, and true to oneself. That isn’t to imply there won’t be some adjusting and back-and-forth as you build your brand. As you have a better understanding of your audience, you can change the details.
If your audience is largely elderly professionals in established industries, for example, you’ll take a different approach, use different language, and adopt a different tone than if your audience is mostly career-seeking kids. The most crucial thing is to get their attention right away.
And after you’ve got their attention, make it clear why your brand is relevant to them personally. There’s no time for an elevator pitch online. You must be able to visually tell a portion of your storey in a split second. If you’ve piqued someone’s interest this far, each subsequent post or piece of media should add to that branded narrative.
5. Survey your digital presence.
Examine your social media accounts in light of your existing personal brand. Even if you set everything to private, leaks are unavoidable. People are going to take screenshots. Remove everything that isn’t in line with your company’s image. This can include anything bad, as well as “noise.” Do vacation images actually boost your brand, even if they don’t cast aspersions on it?
Use Google and other search engines, such as Duck Duck Go, to look for yourself. Over the years, you’ve most likely amassed a significant amount of clutter. Include image searches in your search. Remove anything that doesn’t fit your personal brand once more. If you appear on someone else’s website, please ask the owner to delete the content if it violates your rights.
6. Be Consistent.
This stage necessitates perseverance. Whatever you post on social media or elsewhere should at the very least be consistent with – and preferably enhance – your personal brand.
Unless your brand requires it, avoid political or other controversial posts. Also, keep noise and clutter to a minimum. A pleasant post or blog on pet care may appear to be completely innocent if you want people to recognize you as a skilled graphic designer. Consider it from the perspective of a potential client or hiring manager who is just learning about you. The message is ambiguous. Are you an expert in the field of pets? Because of the speed at which people browse, you must be on brand right away, on the first look, and every time.
7. Network and Maintain Your Personal Brand Always.
The company you keep tells a lot about you. At work, this entails collaborating with and enjoying the company of achievers. Say yes to anything that is reasonable, including team social gatherings. Networking not only opens up new doors but also helps you establish your own brand as an outgoing team player.
In the same way, network on the internet. Look for organizations or solopreneurs who offer similar, mutually beneficial services. Brands can complement each other and exponentially boost their visibility. Shared content and tagged tweets from new allies will not only raise your profile but may also lead to cooperation chances.
Always stay true to your brand. If you need to keep up with political news or other off-topic information, go to a different page or profile. And never mention anything that you would have eliminated from your prior digital audit!
8. Know Your Strengths and Trust the Rest to Your Experts.
Understanding your limitations is an important part of knowing your strengths. You will almost certainly require assistance in developing your personal brand. These are minor areas of aid, but they are crucial. For example, unless you are a graphic designer, you should definitely entrust your company logo or even your personal banner to a professional. Consider employing a copyeditor or perhaps a ghostwriter if you have a blog, depending on your capabilities and demands.
Similarly, you may wish to establish a reputation as a “can-do” person at work. However, being that person sometimes entails understanding how to contact IT rather than attempting to fix a faulty network connection or failed software installation.
You want to develop a personal brand of being able to address issues quickly and effectively, regardless of your business. That does not imply that you should be able to accomplish everything yourself. Instead, get things done by delegating authority as needed.
Whether it’s your company logo, a personal page banner, or assisting a team member with a technical issue, the end result will reflect on you regardless of who does it. Recognize your limitations and know when to seek professional support to help you build your brand.
Bryan Lindenberger loves a challenge. He served as the first communications specialist for the Arrowhead Entrepreneurial Institute at the New Mexico State University business college with SBA funding. He has since worked in marketing, communications, and development for science, engineering, and business projects. His clients have included NASA, Disney, state education institutions, and multiple corporations and nonprofits. A former PC gamer, Bryan enjoys hiking, amateur photography, and delving into history books.