branding

5 Things You Can Do Today To Build an Epic Personal Brand

By Stacey Murray

Once upon a time, personal branding was reserved as one of the many‘first world problems’ of celebrities, public figures, the rich and the famous… well, at least it used to be a consideration exclusively for those in the public eye. The concept of personal branding is hardly a new one, however in this age of social and online media, virtually anyone with an internet connection can access and utilize countless platforms to be seen, heard and searched.

So how in the heck do you even begin to distinguish and position yourself favourably in a very noisy and crowded online sea of people and info?  Simply by creating and leveraging your powerful personal brand, you savvy thing!

Personal branding is your reputation; how others perceive you. It is how you project your message and your image which assists others to form an impression of you. It is what you’re associated with and what you are known for. It also helps to manage misinformation. In its simplest form, it involves presenting yourself the way you would with your own company brand.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. – Tom Peters in Fast Company

Crafting your personal brand is emerging as a digital age necessity. Going on a date? A job interview maybe? Networking or going to a business meeting?
You’ll probably be Googled and checked out on any number of social media sites, And don’t go pretending like you haven’t done your share of online stalking of other people too! Let’s honest - what have you found about others online that has shaped your impression of them? 

In a previous life I was a recruiter. Long, long gone were the days a firm handshake and taking someone at their word is enough to get a job. The checks I undertook were ex-tens-ive. No joke, they were something you’d expect of Homeland Security. This very much included Google searching and social media checks. It was my job to interrogate assess a candidate’s fit to the position and the company.

What could I possibly find that could potentially impact a candidate’s consideration for a job? Try mug shots and news reports, semi + fully nude photographs, racist / sexist / homophobic content, evidence of wild weekends including drink skolling / drug taking / unconscious photos. I’ve even caught out lies and inconsistencies on CVs and info told to me in interviews! You name it. I’ve seen it. And if I can find it, so can everyone else. Of course if that is the image you are trying to project – though it physically pains me to say: go for it! But for the rest of you trying to establish some sort of credibility, authority, professional and authentic image, it’s time to get serious about creating an epic personal brand.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Oprah Winfrey? Kim Kardashian-West? Sir Richard Branson? Martha Stewart? Coco Chanel? Warren Buffett? Ellen Degeneres? Walt Disney? Of course you have! What comes to mind when you hear each of their names? Those are the attributes that help comprise their personal brand.

Many of today’s most identifiable, enduring, affluent brands are the personal hallmarks of identities and entrepreneurs who have built their reputation and wealth with their great hair faces, personality and expertise at the forefront of their brand. Love them or hate them, they have emerged as popular or respected authorities and experts, influencers, thought leaders and innovators in their fields.

Even individuals need to develop a brand for themselves …. Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of YOU when they think of your field – Accelepoint Webzine

Good news: you don’t need a herd of PR + branding experts to manage ‘your brand’ (though these tips are designed to help you look like you do!). You’re probably in some way already doing it without realizing it.

Building a brand need not be headache inducing or terrifying exercise! Let’s begin with 5 steps you can start from today (with bonus actions you can tackle further down the track). Remember, above all else, be creative, be real, be consistent, be you.

1.      Get To Know Yourself

NOW: Create a mission statement outlining who your audience is and what you want to achieve. What do you want to be known for? What do you believe in? What are your strengths (and weaknesses)? What makes you different, distinguishable from other people? Write this down. Use your natural tone and your voice as you would in person. You don’t want to sound like two different people online and in real life!

2.      Digital Audit

NOW: Update your online/social media profiles | Clean up unfavourable posts/content | Ensure your email address is professional.

LATER: Write a bio | Consistent branding across all platforms | Professional photography | Own domain name | Create a portfolio | Testimonials.

3.      Create Value

NOW: Begin regularly posting, commenting and sharing valuable content | Join relevant communities or groups | Participate in online forums + chats.

LATER: Blog | Write articles | Create communities | Offer your knowledge freely | Collaborate.

4.      Get Personal

NOW: Be on the lookout for potential networking opportunities + speaking engagements (and seize those that are a good fit!),

LATER: Teach classes / workshops | Business cards | Volunteer your skills and expertise to a worthy cause or group | Project work | Become a mentor.

5.      Learn, learn, learn!

NOW: Monitor for feedback | Handle criticism and rejection graciously | Keep up to date with what’s going on in your profession/industry.

LATER: Plan | Be a student of your craft/profession and keep learning + developing | Engage a mentor, influencer, expert in your field.

Building an authentic personal reputation is much like building a business or career: it is a marathon, not a sprint.

Creating a brand that is truly genuine and authentic to who you really are is as liberating and exciting as it can be daunting. Don’t be intimidated by putting yourself out there. People connect with people, so be real, be vulnerable, be human! Knowing who you are, living the values you espouse, presenting your image in its truest form is what attracts the sincerest personal connections, draws dream opportunities from ideal employers, and invites loyal clients, customers and colleagues to you.

To embrace who you are is to champion your (epic) personal brand.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what fears or barriers are holding you back from building an effective personal brand?  

Stacey Murray is the founder, and Chief Partner in Crime at Her Signature Life. She believes we all deserve to make a living doing what we truly love.

During the day Stacey answers to Master T, her one year old boss. By night, she talks incessantly, teaches passionately and writes crazily to support other creatively skilled + professionally trained mothers striving to build meaningful businesses and careers. Also a chaos tamer in training, keen traveller, Game of Thrones tragic, and aspiring cider taster. Say hi on Twitter or Pinterest!

Developing a consistent brand

By Jessica Romero

Overwhelm is often inevitable when it comes to developing a consistent brand.

Social media outlets, websites, ad copy, posters, merchandise, infographics, store design, business cards, email signatures, invoices, letterhead, oh my gosh there are a million things!

You have every right to be overwhelmed. The list of brand-able materials is nearly endless.

But here’s the deal. With a little work on the back end, you can eliminate that anxious hair-pulling and consistently create content that captures the emotion behind your business and works together to tell your unique, one-of-a-kind brand story.

So let’s get started first by setting the scene.

BUILD YOUR BRAND NARRATIVE     

Every business has a story to tell and a reader to tell it to. You need to dive deep and find your narrative before you can move forward on to any design or copy decisions. (I know, I know. You want to do the fun stuff. We will get there, I promise.)

Ask yourself:

  • What is my company mission?
  • Who is my perfect customer?
  • What do they think about my company? What do they like? What emotion do they feel?
  • How is my company different than my competitors?
  • Where am I reaching my customer?
  • What kind of lifestyle does my customer live? What do they do/wear/buy/talk about?
  • How do I want to fit into the lifestyle of my perfect customer?

Some of these questions may be tough to answer. You may feel compelled to say “my ideal customer is anyone who wants my service/product!” or “I am reaching my customers across every possible social media outlet in order to reach the highest amount of people possible!”

You need to be specific.

My ideal customer is ultra-feminine, social media savvy, up-to-date on lifestyle and fashion trends. She likes the unique, colorful, photogenic qualities of my store’s inventory. She browses my company’s Instagram feed and online store for style inspiration and one-of-a-kind gifts to give her girl tribe. She sees my company’s unique goods in photos across Pinterest and is compelled to shop for products to create the same atmosphere in her life. My company makes her feel understood as a working woman, looking to live an exciting, adventurous, stylish lifestyle that fits her budget and fulfills her needs in her home and closet.

Write down your answers to these questions, keep it nearby. [Bonus points if you turn it into a eye-catching graphic and hang it next to your computer.]

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

PLAN + SCHEDULE (for YOUR customer)

You know who you are talking to now, which means that with a little leg work you know:

How to talk to them. + Where to talk to them.

Once again, ask yourself a series of questions, now with your customer in mind.

  • What social media platforms make sense for me to use?
  • What advertising methods make sense for me to use? (Magazines, newspapers, radio, online ads, sponsored posts, etc.)
  • What types of content should I be sharing? (Videos, inspiration quotes, photos, text heavy content?)
  • What style of language should I use? (Are you wanting to follow trends in casual-slang or keep it more traditional?)

When you are asking yourself these questions don’t be afraid to dig around and look at what types of users are where.

Check out this article for some basic information on social media platforms to start.

Don’t be afraid of a little old-fashioned social media stalking. Look at brands you are inspired by. How are they talking to their customers? How are customers responding?

Now you know where you need to be and how you need to present yourself, so you can make a schedule (and stick to it).  In my experience I’ve been most successful working off of two types of schedules.

A Content Rotation: I create a schedule of what types of content I am posting where. This keeps a variety of content flowing through multiple channels. This is a resource that I typically don’t adjust unless I am looking to switch something out or test a new rotation.

For example:

  • Instagram: 1x photo a day – rotate between shared photos, inspirational quotes, client feature, landscape/wide angle image, product feature, person/people photo
  • Facebook: 2x a week – link to website content, featured content or Instagram
  • Newsletter – 1x a week
  • Pinterest – update unique content from website 1x a week

(Note that this does not include exactly what I am posting but rather what type of content I am posting. Also, please note that every business has a content rotation that works best for them. Do some research, decide what works for your company and test it out. Don’t be afraid to change it and test again!)

A Weekly Schedule: Using my content rotation as a reference, I schedule anywhere from 1 week to 10 days worth of content using my weekly content schedule. 

Personally, I keep things pretty traditional and go the pen-and-paper route, but you could easily use a spreadsheet or organization app of your choice.

For my clients who have a heavy Facebook or Twitter use, I schedule everything in advance to post automatically. You can do this with a media managing site like Hootsuite.

Once again. Make a plan, test it out and tweak as necessary. With some time, you’ll find your sweet spot.

So, now we know who we are talking to, how we are talking to them and where we are doing it. As promised, it’s time for the fun stuff – the visuals.

DESIGN YOUR MOOD BOARD

Drumroll please.

You did the dirty work. You made a plan. You wrote your narrative. Now you get to create you brand identity’s visual counterpart.

It’s time to dive into the world of Pinterest, color swatches, design magazines, font books, all the pretty things! You can shop for logos, business cards, packaging and super-stylish supplies for staging your Instagram-worthy photos.

Hold the phone.

You’ve made it this far with me. I know you know what’s coming.

Settle in, take a good look at your narrative from Step #1 and your Content Rotation from Step #2. Take a breath and ask yourself a few questions once again.

  • Who is my perfect customer?
  • What do they think about my company? What do they like? What emotion do they feel?
  • What kind of lifestyle does my customer live? What do they do/wear/buy/talk about?

Now it’s time to start looking for visuals that match this. What colors does this customer respond to? What fonts do they enjoy seeing? What textures match their personality?

That ultra-feminine, trendy, working gal I explained back in Step #1. What do you think she would like?

Berry and blush tones. Ivory and pops of black – for power and elegance. Friendly and feminine script font matched with a sharp, simple modern text. Photos that highlight the bold colors and patterns of products, showing personality and creativity. Playful pops of accent colors throughout promotional and printed materials. Fun conversational text and unique hashtags throughout. Nothing too powerful – she wants to relate and feel a sense of joy and friendship with the brand. Keep it casual.

Pull it all together. Like I mentioned before, I’m old school. I create my first mood board with a cork board and push pins (The original Pinterest, if you will.)  You can use Pinterest, create a graphic or whatever works for you creatively. Collect things that make you feel the emotion of your brand.

Take a look into the psychology behind colors and typography. Dig deeper into what exactly the brain is doing.

Once you compile everything, you can start making decisions. If you are working with a graphic designer, let them in on what you did. Convey the message to your team.

Now you can narrow it down. Opinions vary, and every business is different, but I’d say keep your final colors at no more than 3 main colors and 5 accents. For textures and patterns, no more than a few – and make sure they all look good together.

Think about throw pillows on your couch. Would you put every pattern and color you used to represent your business on one couch?

It’s time for the real deal. You’re creating your Facebook profile and cover photo, designing an ad for a publication or deciding what filter to use on your Instagram photos.

Look at your mood board. Look at what you are creating.

Did you stick to your guidelines? Does it look like it belongs?

That’s what makes your brand stick out. That’s what makes your customer stop in their tracks to look further. Everything fits. Everything belongs on that couch.

The road to a consistent, effective brand can be mind boggling, but it doesn’t have to be.

Take the steps to make a plan, do your due diligence and make guidelines for yourself and for your team to eliminate the overwhelm and bring the focus on to the exciting, creative stuff!

Your business is offering something unique that needs to be shared, now get out there and do just that. 

After 4 years of carefully developing her own successful small business in an even smaller town in the USA, Jessica Romero discovered a passion for branding and a love for the little guy (that's you!).  She found that a commitment to a thoughtful, stylish brand strategy can add that "WOW!" factor and create a buzz around a business. She believes every business needs a cohesive, concise, strategic and stylish identity and works with clients one-on-one to develop and maintain websites, social media sites, local event campaigns and more. Learn more at her website or connect on Instagram

Ready to learn how to market your biz like a boss? Our Digital Bravery Ecourse is open for enrolment now!

Branding As a Multipotentialite

By Kaylee White

As we get older, we all hear the million dollar question “what do you want to be when you grow up” many times. Every time I was asked, I had a different answer. I wanted to be a teacher, a professional dancer, a CEO, an executive secretary, an event planner, a motivational speaker, and much more. Each time I answered, I was confident that I had found my answer and figured out THE career that I wanted to pursue. This happened every time and with each change of my answer, my concern and worry increased.

In the eighth grade, my teacher asked us all to craft a mission statement, pick a college that we wanted to focus our efforts on getting into, and then pick a profession that we wanted to pursue and study it. We had a week to make decisions on all of these, as we needed the answers to complete several assignments, but we were allowed to change our answers as we went.

I think I changed my answers twelve times during that year. I spent many nights agonizing over what I wanted to be and how I wanted to approach the rest of my life. I didn’t want to pick the wrong path. I didn’t want to miss out on amazing opportunities that I could get from picking one path over another.

What is a Multipotentialite?

I spent way too long trying to decide on one single career path that I could take. I didn’t even stop to think about any other options that may be available to me. Then I saw the TED Talk that Emilie Wapnick gave. It felt like she was speaking right to me. It felt like she was addressing every concern, worry, and thought that had crossed my mind in the 22 years that I’ve been alive.

I felt myself shaking my head in agreement, felt a weight lift from my shoulders, and was starting to finally see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Emilie introduced the concept of multipotentialism and what it means as an identity.

My favorite definition comes from Emilie herself: “A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.” In a basic description, it’s someone who can’t pick, choose, and commit to just one path. As a self-proclaimed multipotentialite, I pursue a multitude of paths and as an entrepreneur, that doesn’t exactly bode well, based on every other small business expert’s advice.

Mainstream society doesn’t understand why someone can’t just pick a niche and revolve everything they create or do around that one subject.

Society can’t understand why someone can’t specialize in a specific subject or topic. As a community, we can’t understand how to pick one thing and stick with it for long periods of time. It isn’t in our DNA.

Multipotentialism in Business

As a multipotentialite in business, things can get very tricky in terms of actually picking a direction and moving forward with it. There really isn’t a lot of information on how to maneuver in a business world that focuses on becoming a specialist. Emilie has become a great source of information, but sometimes it takes another point of view to help someone really understand what is trying to come across. Jaclyn has been kind enough to let me lend a hand in that aspect to address all of you, her wonderful community, about how to attack branding when you have as many interests as you do.

There are a couple of directions that you can choose to take your business in to be able to appease your multipotential personality.

You can choose to make each interest or passion into a different entity. For instance, if you are passionate about writing, coaching, planning, designing, and personal fashion, you can turn each one into a different business. As you get income from each business, you can hire more help to keep things running smoother and give you a bit of a break, but you still are able to satisfy your different interests. This is the method that many experts advise. They want to make sure that you end up becoming an expert in one of the subjects and then you can take on the next subject and become an expert in that. I’m not saying this isn’t a possibility - it can totally happen and in fact, it does.

My favorite direction is to create one business that encompasses everything. Now, don’t get all dramatic on me and believe that I am saying to build a business that includes your love of animals, your passion for fashion, and your obsession of feet together. I am saying that if you’re interested in writing, blogging, designing, coaching, planning, and health, then build a business that encompasses all of that. It creates less work for me personally and I still end up being able to satisfy my different interests. It can be great working with a client for something like designing their website and then have them mention that they need to find someone who can take over the copywriting for their website and being able to say that you do that too!

You already have a great working relationship (hopefully) and it should be a no-brainer for this client to hire you out for additional services.

Creating Your Brand

If you decide to take the route of separate businesses per interest, then it stands to reason that each business should have it’s own brand. They really shouldn’t overlap all that much, besides them being all run and a part of you and your identity. If you take this route, follow the advice that mainstream experts give you: decide on a niche, create content that revolves around it, and start to build your expert status up within that community.

There’s nothing wrong with this route and it has certainly worked tremendously for multiple people. It may be the path that works best for the different interests that you hold. This is something that you have to really pay attention to when trying to determine whether or not to turn your other interests into a business or keep them as hobbies.

When it comes to branding multiple seemingly unrelated interests, it can be overwhelming to try and create a strategy towards attacking this. I recently started thinking through this question and how I was going to answer it for my own business. Emilie suggested to create an overarching theme encompassing your interests and make that your business.

I want to take it a step further.

Let’s go back to the example interests I listed: writing, blogging, designing, coaching, planning, and health. These all have several things in common, especially when it comes to how you want to apply it. If I say that I’m interested in all of those things AND I want to apply it to the 37 - 55 year old women entrepreneur range, then my overarching theme can be “support for the entrepreneur who doesn’t have time to learn all new business strategies.” I can take my interests and become a sort of virtual assistant that focuses on helping women who just don’t have time to learn everything that I already know.

So we have my overarching theme, as Emilie teaches, but I want to take it a bit further and craft my brand from this. I don’t want to be branded as a virtual assistant or as entrepreneurial support. Those are such boring titles and the idea of deciding on and calling myself a title to market with causes me anxiety. What happens if I choose the wrong title? What do I do if I call myself this title and then get bored again? I decided that instead of creating an overall theme and using that as my brand, I’m going to use it as a way to answer the “what do you do” question.

I have branded myself as a multipotentialite. My website, Bright Colors Happy Things, is going to include all of the different interests that I hold. Every single blog post I write will include a bit about how I have decided to take that particular interest and create a vital role for it within my business.

Every product that I create will address one interest in particular, with the other interests tapped on and showcased their use in my customer’s lives. The best part is I don’t have to pick and choose what I want to create. I don’t have to create a product that teaches my customers something, because I’m not labeled a teacher. I don’t have to stick to helping entrepreneurs with their administrative tasks because I am not labeled a virtual assistant. I don’t have to make or provide a particular service because I have chosen not to label myself with a particular job title. My label - my tagline - is the writing multipotentialite entrepreneur. 

Conclusion + Action Steps

When my community talks about me, I am not talked about in one profession or one industry. I am talked about in many industries and many professions. I don’t get anxious over the possibility that I might have decided myself into a hole with no room to pursue other passions or interests and I get to expand my creativity more than I could possibility imagine.

Branding your business gives it personality and makes your customers and clients want to come back. Don’t hold off on branding - take this new direction of branding. If you’re like me and you’ve spent years trying to figure out what your one passion/niche was, then I’m sure you have plenty of worksheets that ask you to pick from a list of suggested niches. If you’re a multipotentialite, you never were able to pick only one. Go back to these worksheets. Find out what your passions are and try to figure out your overall theme and then figure out what you are going to produce to make sure that you are viewed in a way that communicates your overall theme.

Here’s where I give you a bit of review of everything that I wrote (mostly for those who skimmed the whole post) and give you some action steps so that you can put this information to good use! So here are the following points:

List out all of your interests, anything that you can’t imagine editing out of your life or you are interested in making into a business

  • Decide on whether you want to create separate businesses for your interests or one all-encompassing business
  • Don’t niche down just because someone else told you too
  • If you create separate businesses, start developing each brand separately
  • If you create one all-encompassing business, start to think about your overall arching theme
  • Craft ideas on products, content, and services that you can offer to your community that will be in line with your overall theme
  • Don’t be afraid to rebrand frequently - just make sure to do it right
  • Use your instinct to expand and move in different areas to your advantage
  • Don’t be afraid to go completely against the “experts” - it’s your business, you can do whatever you want with it

I hope you found this post interesting and helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns about anything in a comment below. Have a bright and colorful day!

Kaylee is a creative writing multipotentialite entrepreneur whose biggest passion in life is to help business owners, fellow bloggers, and all around bright and happy people be the best they can possibly be. She has always been a writer and is now using her super powers of cheeky, but fun writing to help influence and guide others. When she is not writing, she's reading - whether for business, pleasure, or school. Feel free to yell to get her attention - or you can just email her at kaylee@brightcolorshappythings.com

The Art of Branding

By Deneen Alexandra

BRANDING: MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE

Branding is the art of creating an experience through design, messaging, and all the details in between.

Branding can be a loaded topic and, sadly, it is slowly becoming a lost art among new small businesses today. This is mostly due to some confusion around the topic when it comes to creating the visual company. Somewhere along the way, the concept of branding and visual identity has become two separate entities, or at the least two entities that don’t quite tie together. 

This post is framed in a way that will help you to break it down from theory to practical, discovery to creative, and bring forth the overall integrity and legacy that defines a good brand. 

It is my wish that your branding and design be all it can be.

A DEFINED BRAND MAKES A GENUINE IMPRESSION

If you look back over time at some of the most memorable moments of a well-defined brand, you can’t help but be inspired on some level. Whether you are a consumer of the product or not, it left an impression. 

There are many examples but lets take Apple’s Think Different Campaign as one. 

While that was advertising (or advertising transcended, some may say), it would not have come to pass if the brand itself wasn’t defined in the way it was from the start. Apple’s brand was, and continues to be, the foundation of every brilliant nugget that comes through it. This is from the advertising and marketing side, product design, and retail spaces, to the innovation that brings products into our lives we never even knew we needed. In short, it’s an experience.

SO WHAT IS BRANDING?

Branding is an authentic representation of what you are offering, your vision behind it, and how you walk through it. It’s a journey of self-discovery for your business, yourself, and how the two come together to best support and serve your desired marketplace. 

It has the ability to inspire trust and knowingness if done right - or the opposite, if not. There is really no in-between. 

Community

Branding is also the community you create amongst your marketplace and employees. This all trickles down from the seemingly small things to the bigger picture and ultimately becomes part of your brand, whether you intended it or not. 

A Continued Conversation

Branding is a continued conversation. When a brand is well thought out and positioned at inception, it allows it to evolve over time. This evolution can be both enviable and imperative at different times. 

TAKING DISCOVERY INTO THE CREATIVE

On the subconscious level, the aforementioned discovery conveys your values, character, mission, and promise to your marketplace, and how you go about delivering it. 

On the visual level, it is a look and feel that is consistent and well thought-out. 

When explored in just the right balance, the two come together to create a powerful brand on which to build upon. This is where design and messaging come in to support and unify your brand. 

These aesthetics and messaging do the talking for you when you’re not there to do it for yourself. This “conversation” lends greatly to the consumer’s decision to purchase your product or service over another. 

The creative side of this process starts with your logo.

WHAT’S IN A LOGO?

A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.” Paul Rand

Your logo is the foundation of your brand. It is the perfect opportunity to move the aforementioned discovery into creative and begin to build out your look and feel. 

This process is one of streamlining and simplifying the discovery down to a clear, distinctive, and memorable icon (typography logos included) that can evolve and move with you over time. 

It is important to know that while a logo needs to be aesthetically appealing, on message, and positioned to grow and evolve with you effortlessly, it does not bear the sole responsibility of your brand. 

Where your logo takes on real meaning is through the association of all the other branding aspects of your business. If the company is sub-par, the logo will eventually be perceived as the same. It carries energy and you, and your brand, are the conductor of the energy.

DESIGN 

Through the logo is where you explore color theory, typography, icons, taglines, branding elements, etc. These elements will then carry through to your supporting pieces, such as your identity, online presence, marketing, collateral pieces, and more. 

It is important to approach each supporting piece in a new and fresh way. Use these branding elements as a style guide rather than a paint-by-numbers exercise. 

This approach will result in the best design and layout solution for the specifications and messaging demands at hand.

Fonts, Copy & Color

Note: Color carries pituitary responses and trends. Fonts also carry trends and can become dated quickly. Certain fonts can also appear unprofessional and pedestrian, or have the potential to, after a while of being in the mainstream marketplace. 

How your fonts and overall copy is set (typesetting) is imperative as well. It can single handedly differentiate a professional from a novice.

Working With A Designer

It is important to truly understand the choices you are making in the details of it all, and what they say about your brand. Work with a designer that is also a brander - not all branders are designers and not all designers are branders. 

We all have different processes, as well. Do your homework and find the one that best aligns with you. It is a collaboration and both of you should be invested. 

Do not ask a designer to work on spec. Beyond the fact that this is their livelihood (which could be a whole conversation within itself but we’ll save it for another post; this one is about you), if you don’t have equal investment in this process, the end-result will fall short by a very long mile. 

If you can’t afford to, or simply do not to want to bring in a professional to handle all this for you, I would recommend finding one that offers consultation services to help guide you through. 

INTUITION AND A LITTLE MAGIC

The most important thing you can bring to this process of branding your company is your heart, passion, and intuition. 

Branding is not marketing. Marketing is a push tactic and takes an exterior approach. Branding is the expression of the essential truth and comes from an introspective approach. It must precede marketing for marketing to be truly successful.

Brand development and evolution comes from that quiet place inside that is your reason for doing this business in the first place. This is the place you want to brand from. There will be plenty of time to go for the fun effects and tactics when you get into the marketing and advertising phase. The branding is your foundation.

And lastly, allow space and time for the magic to come through. When you do, it always does. 

Deneen Alexandra is the founder and creative director of Funk Delicious Designs, a Design & Branding Studio. Founded in 2002 it began as a cake decorating and graphic design studio. Today the studio focuses only on design; although some baking venture is always looming. Currently, it's baguettes! Baked goods and good design go hand in hand, in their opinion anyway.

Photo Credit: Gratisography

3 Ways To Grow Your Personal Brand // Blog Biz

Grow-Your-Personal-Brand

By Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley

Blogging is ( amongst many things) a way to show the world who you are and what you stand for, as well as what services or products you offer. It tells people what you stand for, and what your quirks are. From reading my blog, you’ll probably notice I travel often and value holistic health and spending time with my family. My love of old school movies and even videos games creeps in time to time.

You don’t have to have a lifestyle blog to hone in on your personal brand. In fact, I believe that personal branding is integral for businesses and blogs of all types looking to thrive in today’s marketplace. People want to buy from people, and they want to consume content from blogs written by someone they can relate to ( or aspire to be like).

So how do you hone in on your personal brand and grow it with Social Media? Here are my top tips that I use with clients.

1. Own Your Worth
Most of us hate to brag and won’t own up to our accomplishments, associations, or other noteworthy elements that others would find quite fascinating. But this isn’t something optional; if you are a Health Coach looking to get clients, you need to mention your training and expertise. If you are a painter, mentioning where your art has been featured or where you trained will be helpful in crafting your personal brand and piquing the interest of potential buyers.

I know what you’re thinking: what if I haven’t been featured anywhere or have little experience?

I bet you do have the above and don’t even realize it. Honestly, everyone has some accomplishments or associations worth mentioning, whether it’s a guest post or doing an interview on a blog. If you don’t have any, now is the time to start building up your media page.

2.) Show, don’t tell
Developing a strong brand relies on showing and not telling. This can be done by crafting a story over just listing things in a way that isn’t too compelling, or it can include using multimedia and digital storytelling ( use that iphone!) to tell your story. As a Social Media Coach, I tell everyone I meet how visual social media is the future, and guess what? That ties into showing over telling.

Your readers want to get an inside glimpse inside your life + biz. They want to get to know you, and be inspired by you. Use Social Media such as Instagram and Pinterest as well as great branding in your blog posts.

3.)  Be Specific
A strong personal brand is memorable. It’s refined, and not all over the place. You probably have many different interests ( I know I do) and skills, but I challenge you to pick and choose what you want to be known for. These questions will help you decide what you want to focus on:

  • What comes naturally to me? 
  • What gets me SOOOO excited that I just can’t help but do a happy dance? 
  • What questions do people ask me on a regular basis?
  • Where does my business and what I’ve answered to the above overlap?

Remember that growing a brand happens over time. But as a blogger, you have the tools to help grow your personal brand, inspire others, and increase your business in a way that’s never been done before. The internet offers us the way to distribute our message all across the globe. Make sure you know what you want to be known for and what you excel at and you’re going to grow a thriving online tribe.

Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley is a Life + Social Media Coach based in Thailand. Her writing and photography have been featured on Cameron Diaz’s blog Our Body Book, Wild Sister, and Tiny Buddha, in addition to being a regular contributor to Annapurna Living. She blogs about savouring the good things in life at Savouring Simplicity.