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To brand or not to brand…You are anyway.
Believe it or not, the day you were born your brand was already established. Technically, your parents have predetermined what your brand is about before you were brought into this world. Think about it this way, every thing sends a message – not just your phone or facebook messenger. Your name, skin tone, car you own, the artwork on your walls, fragrances, pants you wear, shoes, shirts and hairstyles speak volumes before any words are spoken.
Whether or not you understand, accept or embrace being a brand, you’re one anyway. It’s time to embrace a strategy you can benefit from based on expected outcomes.
In this article, I’ll list what I feel are the top differences between personal brands vs commercial brands, examples of great personal brands, ways to determine the strength of your brand and action steps you can take. My goal is to help you further understand branding on a personal level and give you the power to use yourself/brand as a positive influence.
Personal Brands vs. Commercial Brands
Individualism, regarding a personal brand, yields tremendous amounts of pros and cons. For this article we won’t focus on cons. We’ll address the biggest PROS of being an individual brand.
1. You have the ability to recover quicker from mistakes. Sometimes a good “Sorry” will suffice. The people will forget and then you’ll be in their good graces. Corporations would call this liability. Something they deal with all too often. And we’ve seen those who have messed up more than most… #Dove #Pepsi #HM #DoBetter
2.Your voice is your purpose, yours alone. Unless you ask for it, no one will control what you say, support or even post. You’re the master of your domain. Corporations and businesses have too much red tape and approval processes, not to mention the arduous dealings with legal.
3. Fostering relationships between your brand and potential followers comes with ease as an individual. People will always be able to relate more to another human than a corporation. Whether it’s building a team or developing partnerships you have leverage. It’s a science you can capitalize on.
4. Flexibility, flexibility and flexibility. Whether a campaign on social media or an event you want to share on your platform, you can maneuver like a social swan minus all of the internal business layers, meetings and scheduled reviews. Until you have a 300+ member team, you can pivot your platform, adjust your communication strategy and experiment with your content.
5. You have natural authenticity, which is in high demand. It’s usually characterized using certain traits, one being scrappy. Because like most, you don’t have a big budget. But this is a good thing, it adds more “personality to your personality” and seems more real. Corporations have to utilize influencers or big budget campaigns to provide this perceived “authentic” identity. You were born with yours — own it.
6. Connecting is what humans do. But the never-ending pursuit of businesses attempting to adopt human attributes through artificial development tends to miss the mark. This is where being an individual prevails. Plus everyone, for the most part, loves the underdog
“It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.” -Tom Peters
Good Examples of Personal Brands
If you exist you have purpose. Some take time to identify theirs, where a select few acquire this rather quickly and a large amount never do. What is common amongst everyone is feeling the frustration of learning who they are. Partly due to insecurities that arise impeding progress for those looking to know self.
Below is are images of personal brands doing it right. They’ve all transcended race, culture, even time and are still relevant to this day. Serena is known all over the world and from herh social media, everyone should know she loves Tacos! Dwayne Johnson is in every movie! But not only had he dominated the movie scene, his social media is always popping with positivity. He’s even entering into the advertising game with his agency seven bucks. Angelina Jolie, yeah… So great. And we all know she’s about the kids. Adopt on AJ. I could go on about those below but I’ll just stop with Beyoncé. #EnoughSaid
There are many others who can most certainly be added to this list but these, in my opinion, are doing the best on many platforms. From social media, music to staying relevant — they are doing it well. If you feel someone should be added to this list or should be mentioned, use the comment section below.
The Good Stuff
At the end of the day, understanding yourself as a brand is nothing without action. Use the following steps below to give you a jump start. And if you’ve already started building or establishing your brand, use these to improve your process.
Develop a consumer/audience profile. Basically, who are you talking to? Figure out their age range. 20-30? 10-18? Are they female or male? Are they global? Research to determine where they consume the majority of their content. There’s a considerable amount to this, which you can contact me via the Hire Me page. This process is integral for several reasons. For one, you’re able to tailor your communcation for specific demographics. Also, you’re less likely to miss the mark when it comes to targeting for sales or even likes. The favorable outcome is, you build the right audience for your brand.
Steve Jobs mentioned the number one thing you need to be successful is focus. Your platform has to have consistent messaging, a look & feel and mission. What is your service offering? What are your brans colors look & feel (making your brand easily recognizable memorable) and posting techniques strategy?
To help with this, define your service or mission, what is your purpose? After, develop a content strategy. This will help you stay honest when communicating to your consumers/followers. If you have a business strategy focused on awareness, activations, sales, retention, referrals, great. If not, then make one.
Once you’ve completed your mission, content strategy and business strategy, focus on your brand look & feel strategy. Having a cohesive look & feel is paramount to your brands recognition no matter the platform. Develop colors, a logo and even a tagline if you’re feeling “brandy”. If you’re heavy on instagram you should definitely define your photography look & feel strategy.
Determine your position in category by self-analyzing your current platform. You can do this by creating a S.W.O.T. analysis. It will ensure you’re more self-aware while making sound judgements.
First, what are your Strengths? Do you have a product advantage? How are you different? You should capitalize on anything you can own, no matter how small. Once you identify this always play to your strengths.
Having Weaknesses is natural, recognizing and accepting them makes you stronger. Identify where you or your brand has trouble. This could be a lack of effective and clear communication. Or maybe there are faults in your ability to execute great design. It could even be being nervous when speaking to a crowd of people or on your YouTube channel. Whatever it is, make sure to list them. After, I want you to do two things, fix your weaknesses or find people to help you where you’re lacking. Keep this in mind, smart people know not to be the smartest in the room.
When you create a platform you open yourself up to the world and what it has to offer. Some believe things happen for a reason leading to a specific out come. Others believe things happen randomly unveiling Opportunities. It’s whether or not you choose to recognize and utilize them.
Cohesive Look Across Platforms
When you’ve determined your look and communication strategy stay consistent and leverage the specific platform attributes. Instagram is heavy in photography and twitter is essentially a news platform. Facebook presents a number of opportunities from creating different types of pages with specific offerings to sharing and engaging with people in a myriad of ways.
I do not mean, post the same content on every platform. If you have a campaign or specific messaging around a product you should find ways to share it properly per the platform. For example, instagram is photography based. Take interesting photos aligned with your brand and content strategy. That means, colors and consistent photography. Twitter should be messaging, relevant information or communication about your service or product. You can use facebook for those things including running campaigns.
In short, make sure to research and understand different ways to optimize your social media experience based on combining your strategies and specific social media platform attributes. Get out there and control your branding because you’re one whether you want to be or not. People are talking about you anyway, isn’t time you start owning the conversation?
Did This Help?
If this helped in anyway, feel free to let me know in the comments. If you’d like me to expand on a specific topic in this article or address any questions you may have, jump off in the comments and I’ll answer. If it’s an answer requiring an in depth explanation, I’ll write an article about it.