Let’s talk about branding, ladies. Do you have or need a personal brand? The truth is, whether you answer yes or no, you've worked on it or not….you already have a personal brand because it's WHO YOU ARE….If you don’t like the word brand, you can use “reputation”, because that’s exactly what it is. The real question is, is your brand serving you, and are you controlling the narrative? Or are you letting people make assumptions about who you are, what’s important to you, and what you’re all about?
PERSONAL BRAND VS. BUSINESS BRAND
What is branding?
We often think of branding as solely a logo, colors, or other visual reference points of a company, but the reality is that a brand is much more than some graphics and coordinating typefaces. A brand is the collective identity a business or entity is represented by; it’s a combination of the brand experience, mission, vision, values, visual identity (like a logo), etc. While this does include visual identity, the core of that identity comes from a deep understanding of the “why,” and the greater purpose behind it all.
It’s pretty obvious business branding is important, but in this digital age where customers are looking for personal connection and aligned values from their favorite products/brands, it’s also beneficial to have a strong personal brand identity to build strong connections to your clients or your colleagues, and if you’re a business owner, to reinforce the values and purpose of your business’ brand.
Rule no. 1 -- people connect with people!
What is personal branding?
Not so different from branding a business, personal branding can be a culmination of your personal values, communication style, your unique traits, skills, experience, and vibe of how YOU show up in the world. Whether it’s online or in-person, a personal brand gives others a clear idea of who you are and what you’re all about and can help you stand out from the crowd and position you as a thought leader in your area of expertise (if that’s what you’re going for). Simply put — personal branding is your reputation.
Download our Free Personal Branding Checklist to get started.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
When it comes to developing your personal brand, your “why” is just as important (if not more so) as a business’ “why.” You must deeply understand your purpose, your mission, and the unique skills and experience you bring to the table to form a powerful brand identity that you can articulate. You also need a solid understanding of how others perceive you and your mission. It’s at the intersection of who you are and how others perceive you that you will begin to understand and develop your personal brand.
Now, before you go off and create a logo and personal brand website, do you even need a personal brand logo and style guide? This is a great question and the answer is different for everyone. In many cases, it doesn’t make sense to create a visual brand identity that includes logos, graphics design rules, etc., but in other cases, a personal brand logo may be helpful. To determine what next steps are right for you on your brand-building journey, you need to start by clearly defining your goals. What are you trying to achieve by building a personal brand? Doing this work before you take action is essential to choose a branding path.
We have a couple of our favorite personal brand examples across different categories that can help you see the difference in approach.
Kendra Scott, founder of Kendra Scott jewelry in Austin, Texas, has a very succinct personal brand that aligns really well with her business. Her business brand is anchored on three value pillars, Family, Fashion, and Philanthropy and these carry over into her everyday life as well. Aside from her own personal style alignment with her jewelry line's modern, trendy vibe, she also aligns her press presence and appearances with her business moves. This is a good example of what we’d call a balanced 50/50 approach where a founder’s personal brand is in sync with their business.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, Isn’t as front and center in her brand’s marketing and messaging but is very active on her personal social media as a supporter of women in business. She shares her stories, tips, and life while creating aligned programs like her foundation called The Red Backpack Fund, which invests in female entrepreneurs. The name of her foundation honors the red backpack she carried in college and on her journey starting Spanx - it's a fun symbol of starting small while dreaming big! Sara invests a lot of her time sharing and activating outside of Spanx while supporting the original mission she started the company for — empowering and supporting women. Just like Kendra, her personal brand aligns nicely with her business but can stand alone.
If you’re ready to dig deep, we’ve created a comprehensive personal branding course, The Ultimate Personal Branding Course, to walk you through the 7-steps of goal setting, evaluation, and planning so you can build your personal brand with purpose and confidence. You’ll dive into the nitty gritty of determining your goals, your why, learn about your unique traits, research how others perceive you, and uncover the areas you can grow and the areas you’re flourishing in.
Worksheet 1: Personal Brand Evaluation - Goal Setting + Planning in THE ULTIMATE PERSONAL BRANDING COURSE will cover these 7 steps to begin workshopping your personal brand:
Determine and set your personal branding goals.
What do you want to accomplish by developing a brand?
Dive into who you are; Identify your unique attributes.
Personal values, skills, experience, etc.
Self-evaluation - how do you believe others perceive you?
Communication, personal style, personality, strengths
Inquire with others to describe how they perceive your personal brand.
Find a few trusted people & have them dig deep
Pinpoint your areas of strength and growth opportunities.
This will help you determine which parts of your personal brand are more developed than others
Choose areas of focus and action.
Choose where you want to focus first
Set a deadline.
Track your progress & your personal brand will start to solidify!
Once you create your brand foundation and evaluation in Worksheet 1, it’s time to build that brand, baby. Download our complete personal branding course, The Ultimate Personal Branding Course, to define and develop your brand further. Happy branding!
Want to get into the nitty gritty of personal branding? Download our free Personal Branding Checklist & Personal Brand Evaluation Quickshop to get started achieving your branding #goals.