How do you develop a branding strategy? To some, just thinking about that can feel daunting. Take it from me, I know. Sometimes, it’s thrilling and other times it’s downright mentally exhausting. Your personal brand should always be authentic and deep-seated. After all, it is about what you do, how you do it and why you do it. We’ve gathered 5 steps to building a personal brand that stands out.
5 Steps to Building a Personal Brand
Needless to say, your branding strategy should send a positive message about who you are, what you’re capable of, and what you’re all about. But, how do you accomplish that? How can you establish and foster something that seems so intangible and subjective?
1. Ask yourself, “Who am I?”
When a company identifies its brand personality, it didn’t just create it on the fly. It’s a strategic, well-thought-out decision pieced together to be truly representative of who they want to be. Your own brand should work the exact same way.
At Margaux, we tend to always carry notebooks with us to jot down thoughts when they randomly arise. If pen and paper aren’t really your thing, the notepad app in your cell phone works just as great. Asking yourself how you want to be perceived by others is a great starting point. Once you have a few ideas in your head, jot down some adjectives that describe your vibe.
Do you want to be corporate and serious? Or quirky and creative? Do you want the voice of your personal brand to have a lot of energy or do you want it to come across more sincere? Focusing on how you want others to view you is what will drive all the decisions you make regarding your personal brand.
2. Know your audience
Your brand strategy must be tailored to your audience. Next to knowing your brand personality, knowing your audience is high on the list of important things to know and understand. After all, your products are made for certain lifestyles and desires. They might not encompass all human beings.
Whatever you’re selling should be catered to certain characteristics or situations. If you’re a high-end trendy home decor brand, you could be seeking out folks with extremely refined, modern taste with plenty of cash to spare. If you own a flower shop, you might be open to any demographics, but they’ll be in a situation of needing flowers in the first place.
Invest plenty of time to learn about your target groups. If possible, invite them over for coffee and a scone and pick their brain. Or host a happy hour in your kitchen and get the information you need from a group all at once. Study people. Read what they are saying on their social media accounts. Who do they look up to? Does value mean more to them than quantity? Is giving back to their community a thing that matters? Find out everything you can. It will make a world of difference when it comes to discovering your brand identity.
3. Separate yourself from the pack and offer something unique
Years ago, we were at a conference listening to an entrepreneur. He said something that’s been sticking with us: “There are many ways to skin a cat but I only know one way.” He used this analogy while discussing the importance of hiring well, but the same can be said for standing out in the very crowded industries around us.
Every real estate agent has the tools to sell a home, but how do they differentiate themselves from everyone else? Maybe you focus more on relationships and your sales mainly stem from your amazing referral base? Or if you’re a flower shop owner, your flowers are sourced by farms that live up to your audiences ethical standards. Make this apparent in your branding strategy. Emphasize it in the “About Us” section and elaborate on it in your blog posts.
The most obvious point of uniqueness is to be the best and there are many ways to do so. Figure out which ways play to your strengths and capitalize on it. Now, if you can’t be the best, find a specialization and do it better than anyone else in your industry.
4. Who you are is your message to the world
Say it loud and say it proud.
That whole “build it and they will come” saying is so 15 years ago. In order to establish yourself and your brand, you have to market yourself. Just like the big companies of the world market their products and services, it’s up to you to market yourself in order to truly build a positive (and recognizable) personal brand for yourself.
Start off by having a unique, modern logo created that sums up who you are. If you find yourself stuck, there are quite a few branding firms out there to help. Once your logo is set, build a personal website that showcases your accomplishments and your work. If you want to be a blogger, make sure your website includes a blog. If you want to be an online store, make sure customers can easily purchase your product or services.
Your branding strategy should extend to your social media. Conduct a social media audit to ensure you’re upholding your brand online. Create business cards, carry them on you at all times and don’t be shy when it comes to handing them out. Get professional headshots taken for your ‘About’ page. Pull together the pieces of the puzzle that will accurately portray your identity and message in the world.
5. Be flexible
The beauty of building a branding strategy is that it’s ever-evolving. While this can cause stress for some, take the changes in stride. Brands are not stagnant. They need to tweaked, reevaluated, and improved. So don’t plan to establish your own personal brand and then allow it to collect dust.
For many of the world’s iconic companies, the value of a brand is immeasurable. Think about companies like Shell, Pepsi, and Apple. Although their logos have changed drastically, decade after decade, each logo still pays homage to the original even after all of these years. The brand progression of so many companies goes to show, that evolution is the key to staying relevant. So don’t be afraid to shift with the times. Show your flexibility.
Building a personal brand takes time and commitment but if you do it right, you will be well on your way to personal brand success. If you’d like to work with an award-winning Los Angeles branding and marketing agency, drop us a line and we can help! We’ll make sure to build a brand strategy that has you standing out through your logo, website, and social media.