The idea of a personal brand is one that many people run away from. The thing that most people don't understand, however, is the fact that they themselves ARE brands, and you are a brand if you are reading this. Yes, YOU. All people who create products or services are personal brands, not just online but in the way they speak down to the shoes they wear.
What is a personal brand? A personal brand is the memory you leave with people. It's the way they remember you, like a feeling or a reputation. It's the thing that people talk about at a dinner table when you're not with them, and it's the glue that draws them towards or away from you.
The global acceptance of the digital landscape has completely changed the way we view other people. Whether it be a website, app, social media post, or an image, every little thing you send out or engage in is a representation of how others will remember you, AKA how you are branding yourself.
It's worthwhile to take a second and reflect on how you'd like to be remembered. Do you want to be known as honest, minimal, design-centered? Or brash, athletic, and opinionated? Both are completely fine, but it's more important to be consistent. For example, if on Monday you post something about simplicity, with a wellness and spa photo and a little copy to represent you, and Wednesday you post an aggressive male-dominated poster of thrasher to represent you, that's going to confuse the hell out of your audience.
Granted, everyone has different sides to their personality. But it does take some very clear thinking and self awareness to tame it down to a few variables of yourself that you'd like to express.
The first thing I recommend is to write down some of your favorite activities, colors, and people or brands you look up to. Keep a folder on your computer with clippings, images, or links. Another great resource is Pinterest. With this alone, a lot of your personal branding will be self evident. Are you drawn to going to get massages, light pastel tones and Whole Foods? If so, this will dictate a lot of the look and feel of what your brand will look like.
Another thing to pay attention to is the way you express words. The voice of your brand needs to feel like you too. Are you sarcastic, or sensitive? Are you comfortable debating politics or shy away from the limelight? Feel free to ask your own questions. All of these variables very much dictate the tone of your brand.
So in summary, do some self reflection and ask yourself how you'd like to be remembered. Write down ideas, and grab photos of inspiration and ways you feel about yourself. Think about the way you sound and how you want to express yourself to others. Make sure you put everything in a folder on your desktop or a journal and be sure to keep that in mind every time you put something out into the world.
Some final questions to ask:
Is your image in line with your brand's mission?
How do you appear verbally on social media? Are you being yourself and consistent?
Is the way you style yourself in profiles / pictures the way you want to be remembered?
What do you want your voice to sound like in the content you write and share?
If you hire a designer, they will arguably answer these points above for you if you don't prepare it in advance. Which is a shame, because it's definitely the funnest part of the entire process!
How has personal branding effected you and your audience? Please let me know in the comments below.