What is a personal brand?
In its simplest form, a personal brand is how people remember you. The skills and experiences you have, the choices you’ve made – all of that shapes the impression you give others.
Names like “Oprah,” “Bruno Mars,” or “Elon Musk” evoke a pretty clear picture not just of what these people look like, but a sense of what they value, what they’re passionate about, their strengths and their weaknesses.
Whether they realize it or not, everyone has a personal brand, both professionally and personally. If you happen to own a business, it’s extremely beneficial to actively manage your personal brand to ensure you’re connecting with your ideal audience.
What makes a strong personal brand?
No matter your age, level of experience, or profession, strong personal brands share several key characteristics that directly correlate to valuable benefits. A strong personal brand is…
Your brand should be a genuine extension of you. It should not be fake or forced because people can sense that right away.
Reflect the values you truly care about. You’ll attract like-minded people who are more likely to engage with your content.
Be real and relatable. Show you are a human being that has likes and dislikes, successes and failures. The more of your journey and personality you share, the better chance your audience will connect with you.
Don’t be spammy. No one wants to be sold to all the time. That’s as appealing as a pushy car salesman. When you come from a place of service, of giving back, your audience will grow to trust you. So when you do choose to promote a product, remember…
People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Build recognizability as your audience sees your brand across multiple platforms. This builds trust and increases your level of professionalism, especially if your brand design is also consistent and cohesive.
Show that you are active in your business. Not only does this imply that business is going well, it makes you appear reachable. Imagine going to a blogger’s site or social media and seeing their last post was from 2 years ago. You may hesitate to reach out assuming they’re not in business anymore.
Posting content on a consistent schedule increases audience engagement. For example, if you are posting content daily on social media, followers will get into the habit of checking out your account/feed because they expect you to have fresh content to consume.
Focused (and therefore memorable)
State your value proposition in 10 words or less. Attention spans are short! People should immediately understand what services/products you provide with just a single sentence or phrase. Hook them in first and then elaborate once they’re interested.
Everything you share should support your value proposition. If you constantly post about your love of fast food but you’re a nutritionist, people will question your authenticity and credibility.
Be a specialist, not a generalist. Specialists are viewed as experts in their field. You will inevitably appeal to less people and that’s a good thing. You don’t want to waste your efforts attracting those who are truly interested in your service.
State how you’re different from your competitors. What sets your business apart from the crowd is YOU. Your combination of values, personality, skills, and vision create your X factor. You should repeatedly reinforce this message throughout your marketing to convince people to choose you over other (often cheaper) competitors.
Understand what you are actually selling. Both literally and emotionally.
Example: I sell personal brand photos that entrepreneurs can use to create visual content for their business. But what I really do is empower entrepreneurs to be the face of their brand so they authentically connect with dream clients through personalized visual stories.
Provide testimonials and metrics as proof of the unique value you offer. Did you help clients increase their reach, subscriber list, or sales? How did they feel working with you?
Building a strong personal brand takes time and lots and lots of patience. But by focusing on these key characteristics, you’ll lay a solid foundation for a brand that will complement your business and attract the right people for continued growth and success.