How to Create Powerful Personal Branding (so Your Audience Simply Can’t Resist You)
How do you go about personal branding?
Do you know the benefits of personal branding?
How will you communicate your brand identity and also tie in authentic personal branding so your potential customers buy into whatever service or product you’re selling?
Yep, it’s hard to know where to start. Don’t worry ﹘ you’re not alone. I was the same way!
Brands and personal brands ﹘ especially in the age of social media ﹘ are all around us.
But creating one is very different from simply seeing one in action. A personal brand is tied very closely to what you’re selling ﹘ whether you’re selling a service, like copywriting or web design, or you’re selling a product, like hair care or make up or even adult pleasure products. (Now that would be an incredible personal branding exercise!)
Think of your favourite brands right now. Which do you immediately think of?
Of course, Apple branding is one that springs to mind. It’s one of the most visually appealing and impactful. And when you think of Apple, you also think of Steve Jobs. The black-turtleneck-and-denim-wearing founder of Apple. You can’t think about one without the other.
Steve Jobs has his own personal branding. And it had as much to with his black turtlenecks and denim jeans as it did with his no-nonsense attitude and brilliant mind that was on display at every Apple event.
That’s partly what created “the cult of Apple”.
Similarly, disgraced healthcare startup Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes modeled her personal brand on Steve Jobs. She took the black turtleneck and lowered her voice to be more masculine. (She also worked those baby-blue eyes of hers to become deep pools that were hypnotising.)
The Benefits of Personal Branding
As one of my contractor roles as a copywriter was coming to an end, I found myself applying for new positions at various companies.
I had a fair idea of what my brand looked like. Or so I thought.
I selected the colour scheme of black, white and yellow. I had a logo that was influenced by the honey bee designed by a Chicago-based graphic designer (since my business name is Mads Buzz that worked in well).
I then asked a coworker if she could revamp my resume in Illustrator for me.
She took one look at my old resume, with random colours and photos splashed everywhere and said, “This really doesn’t suit your personal branding.”
As that resume had landed me the role I was currently in, it didn’t even occur to me that my brand wasn’t congruent.
Thankfully, she redesigned my resume with the yellow, black and white to match my authentic personal branding and fit in with my brand identity.
It took someone else to point out the obvious to me.
Since then, I’ve worked on branding for casinos, hotels, personal development coaches, startups, cosmetic surgery events, and restaurants.
The benefits of personal branding are important, especially now as there are a lot more entrepreneurs and business owners forging their own paths, rather than working for large companies.
Personal branding helps with:
- Building rapport and trust
- Ensuring your ideal customers see you as an expert in your field
- Making you stand out from your competitors
- Attracting ideal customers and opportunities to grow your business
When you get a believable personal brand, that’s when people buy into it.
Your personal brand sustains everything you do.
The Best Personal Brands You See Every Single Day
You’re surrounded by personal brands every day. When you’re on Instagram, you see hundreds of influencers and celebrities. All of them have a personal brand that is engaging, well-developed and hooks in their audience.
They have carefully curated their Instagram feeds to match their authentic personal branding.
Kim Kardashian West
Love her or hate her, Kim Kardashian West’s personal brand is a perfect example of how to do it right. Her personal brand also extends to her makeup line, KKW Beauty. She has an authentic, consistent brand. Everything she does, even partnership she signs onto, has to match her brand.
Look at her website, her Instagram, her Snapchat, her style, her makeup line. Everything is flawlessly coordinated. She embraces new platforms early, and is keen to spearhead trends (and fads).
This is best illustrated in one of the episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Kris Jenner is talking to her daughter, Kourtney, who is expressing interest in a partnership with a home decor company.
Kris is quick to shut her down. She says,“You’re not as involved or motivated as your sisters are. You can’t just slap your name on something and leave it in the hands of someone else to run.”
That’s why the Kardashian-Jenners have the best personal brands. They ensure everything they do ﹘ including partnerships ﹘ is congruent.
Yes, I’ve included KK’s arch-nemesis here as an example of another great, authentic personal brand.
Taylor Swift’s brand has evolved ﹘ from cutesy sweet-as-pie country singer, to fully fledged pop star ﹘ cemented by her marketing tactics for the release of her album Reputation.
Taylor’s personal brand is one that supports and empowers women. She has a girl squad. She also comes across as the ‘everyday girl that hasn’t abandoned her Nashville roots’ ﹘ she loves cats, crafting and baking. She even sings about them.
She ensures her real-life personality plays into her “be a good person” brand, which doesn’t stray, no matter how much her career has skyrocketed.
How to Create Your Own Irresistible Personal Brand
To create a strong, attention-grabbing brand identity down to the last detail, you need to start with two things:
- What are your brand values? What do you stand for?
- What adjectives do you use to describe your brand? What words do you want people to use about your brand when they see it?
The brand vision is what you are striving towards, every single day… What are you looking to communicate with your brand? What do you want to achieve with your brand?
What makes you different from your competitors? What attracts your ideal customers to your personal brand?
What position do you want to take in the marketplace so people choose you over the hundreds of other choices out there?
The best personal branding statements communicate in one line or one paragraph exactly what they are about and what they aim to do.
For example, sweetgreen’s is: “To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.”
Hubspot has some more examples that you can use for inspiration.
Brand benefits are usually divided into two:
Functional — What are the ‘functional’ benefits of your brand? These are things like “leader in the industry”, “backed by industry figureheads” etc.
Emotional — What do you want people to feel about your brand? This is the most crucial, as people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. Here, you’ll think about things like, “we enrich lives of our audience by doing XYZ”, “we are the place to be seen” etc.
What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? These are usually between 3–5 key messages that appeal to your audience about what you offer.
Your brand personality is strongly linked to your own personality when you’re creating an authentic personal brand.
You can include words like “confident”, “aspirational”, “engaging” etc.
For example, Kim Kardashian could be “aspirational”, “luxe”, “feminine”.
This is your target audience and what pain points you relieve for them. Here’s where it’s useful to do an ideal client avatar and identify exactly who you’re talking to. You can create one for free using Xtensio.
Tone of Voice
Your tone of voice is how you communicate across print and digital. Are you serious and formal? Are you fun-loving and casual? What words do you use? Will you use slang? Will you use spelling like “kween”, “fleek”, “dahling”?
Of course, your tone of voice will also be largely influenced by your audience, as well as your own personal brand.
My Personal Brand (and What You Can Do Right Now to Kick Start Your Own)
Because I’m a huge visual learner, I created a Pinterest board here of the people and even fictional characters whose traits I wanted for my own personal brand.
Here’s who I chose and the characteristics I wanted from each:
- Quinn King from TV show ‘UnREAL’ — Assertive, no BS, fearless
- Ramit Sethi — Business savvy
- Marilyn Monroe — Femininity, playfulness, sensuality
- Nucky Thompson from ‘Boardwalk Empire’ — Charisma and power
- Stevie Nicks — style, talent, gentleness, storytelling ability
- John Thackery from ‘The Knick’ — brilliance, charisma, mystery
I created my Pinterest board, I looked over the pins and created my own personal branding word cloud:
- No BS
- Best in the field
- Charismatic / X Factor / KAPOW! Factor
When creating the best personal brand, think to yourself…
If you hear people talking behind your back, what do you want them to be saying?
What’s your number one challenge with creating your own personal brand? Let me know in the comments.