Branding

Step One for Personal Branding on the Web

personalbranding

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.

With light,
Tündi

Your Style, Your Way

FW14M BOTTEGA VENETA MILANO MEN 01/12/2014

Are you inspired by your wardrobe? Are others confused by what you stand for? Are you visually consistent in every part of your life?

Dressing the part is an enormous part of your brand. What you stand for is reflected in everything you do, say, wear, and project to the outside world. It's more than marketing: it's knowing thyself and screaming it on loudspeaker.

When I moved back to the states after a period of living and working in Europe, I hustled like crazy, was working nonstop and took evening courses for one year with Genevieve Williams. A former professor at the School of Visual Arts and art director of The New York Times and Rolling Stone, studying with her was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

She taught me a very important message: to dress the part.

While projecting my work on the wall, she asked me to stand up next to it. It's as if a giant flashlight was being pointed directly on me. "This isn't you," she continued. "You don't wear any of these colors. You don't say this with your look. Where is Tündi? You look nothing like this."

What she was basically saying was that my work wasn't representing me. Dang, I thought to myself, she's right. The colors were all over the place, the work looked cartoonish and overly macho. It was then that I thought carefully about what I visually stood for and overhauled my closet. My wardrobe was only one part of the equation but an incredibly important one. 

Your brand is the way the world sees you. The colors, textures, the style you're inspired by, down to every choice you make needs to align with who you are. Your business represents a very specific set of core values. Are you chic? Rebellious? Which designers do you love? Reflect those back into your brand. Visually, everything around you needs to reflect your tastes with unbelievable clarity and focus.

Some ideas to refine your style:

  1. PINTEREST
    'Pin' your favorite looks and hold it up against your wardrobe, current website, mobile site, apartment decor, business inventory, and anything you've produced for your business or clients. Find small elements to wrap into your style.
  2. TUMBLR
    A great place to wrangle in your visual aspirations. Take cues from images you're inspired by and put those elements (light, color, texture) into your wardrobe and surroundings.
  3. YOUR IDOLS
    Look at the people who inspire you: masters of their craft, musicians, celebrities, friends or anyone whom you can't get enough of. What characteristics do those people possess? Now try to bring out those emotions every time you get dressed in the morning. Surround yourself with things that remind of you of feelings brought up from your idols. Infuse these into every aspect of your brand and business.

Now I'd love to hear about you. Have you ever experienced visual inconsistency with your brand? What did you do to align your look? 

PS: If you know anyone who is having a hard time reflecting their passions and visions into their life, please share this blog post.

With love,
Tündi

Why Astrology Reading is Like Brand Building

I got my astrological chart read once by a talented astrologer.

They pointed intently at one section of the chart with burrowed eyebrows and whispered, "Well, looks like there's something unique going on here. You're going to be deeply successful in a creative field. To spread inspiration, beauty and truth. You are not the person who will choose the easy way. It may always seems like you choose struggle but in the end it'll be so much more worth it. Not everyone has this quality." Yep. Sounds about right.

The branding process is similar to the astro chart: distilling the core essence of a business down to its true purpose and tactfully inspiring the people behind that business to live that truth over time. A brand must express itself clearly to the world and create positive action and thinking. Though things always change down the line, the essence, or the core, should always remain true.

So many of us choose a path of fear of admitting to ourselves who we really are, whether we be the faces of strong-willed entrepreneurs or CEOs of mega-corporations. Working with many different clients, it's interesting to see how often folks stretch the truth about who they are in order to garner more attention in growing their brand. What's ironic, of course, is that they should really be doing the opposite: SCREAMING who they really are to the world and letting the brand fuel them to be free to express it. On a freaking loudspeaker! Love your brand. LIVE it. It's you!

Embracing who you are is the essence to growing your brand. Just like a talented astrologer sees who you are in your chart, a smart brand strategist should be able to distill your brand down and help you grow. Doing this takes openness, patience and trust.