There’s a New Buzz-Word on the Scene: Personal Branding.

Personal branding photography for fashion stylist in Philadelphia by Robyn Graham

There is a new buzz-word on the scene, can you guess what it is? 

What’s the Buzz?

If you said personal branding you are right.    You read about it on Instagram and Twitter you might even be following the hashtag, #personalbranding, you read about it in Forbes articles, you see it discussed on LinkedIn, but you really don’t know what it is. You are not alone.

I Gave My Spiel and was Asked What it Means

I recently spoke to a group of entrepreneurs and small business owners on the importance of visual content for personal branding.   After going through my spiel and telling the audience that personal branding is a digital footprint, an on-line reputation, an introduction of your brand to the world, and a way to grow an emotional connection with your audience, and more, one of the women raised her hand and asked, “what exactly is a personal brand?”.

I thought, wow, did I do a poor job of explaining that or what?  Or, maybe she wasn’t paying attention as that happens to the best of us.  But, the reality is, it is a complicated concept if you are not familiar with it.   I gave the audience a lot of information on how to create a personal brand, but, but if she wasn’t familiar with the concept, deliberately differentiating her brand didn’t make a lot of sense.

So let’s delve into what a personal brand is?

First Impressions

A personal brand is something that is unique to you.  It identifies you on both a personal and business level.  Your personal brand is often the first introduction of you to your ideal audience.  It is the first impression you are leaving your audience with when they visit your website or social media platforms.  If you are in a service industry, or the brain behind a product, you are your brand.

Your personal brand is your on-line identification.  It is what people see when they Google you, or when your business comes up in a Google search result.   Your personal brand is the way people view who you are and what you do.

Deliberate Differentiation

The way you build your personal brand is through deliberate differentiation.  Deliberate differentiation is the process of coming out from behind your business and becoming the face of your brand.   Your ideal clients will not purchase a product or service from you until they get to know you.   Your goal when developing a personal brand is to differentiation yourself from all others in your space.

Attributes of a Personal Brand

What are the adjectives that describe you as your brand? Compassionate, creative, fun, imaginative, caring, kind, beautiful, innovative, youthful, approachable, expressive, inspirational, forward-thinking.  These are just a few examples, but the words will help you define your brand and help you identify your brand colors, textures, patterns, typography, and the type of images that you want to use to communicate your personal brand.   These factors will become the identity of your brand and how people recognize you.

Your personal brand should be authentic, consistent and cohesive.  Let’s break these down.

Authenticity

Authenticity is about being yourself and representing the real you, not someone you admire or want to be.   Putting yourself out into the world on your website and social media platforms will open a door for people to get to know, and love, the real you. The “you” that is behind the brilliance of your business.   Everything about you represents your brand.; your authentic style, your authentic communication skills, your authentic social life, your authentic business life.  Being your authentic self will help you pass the know, like and trust test.  If you are representing yourself as someone you wish to be, you will not grow the trust of your audience because they will never truly know who you are.

Consistency

Consistent content is important for your ideal client to understand what you do and how you do it.   Consistently representing your product or service in a way that is recognizable across all platforms is key to gaining the trust of your audience.   You want to use visual content and text that your ideal client can recognize and know without a doubt that it is your content.  Your tone, energy, color pallet and mood should be consistent on all platforms. Your verbal and visual content should reflect who you are and what you do in a way that your client can trust that you follow through, care about quality, and mean what you say.

Cohesive

Your personal brand should be represented in a cohesive manner across all platforms.  Your typography, your colors, and your imagery should all flow from one platform to another.   An easy example of cohesiveness is using the same headshot for a profile picture on all platforms.  When you do this, even if the profile picture is millimeters in size, your audience will recognize the color and shape and know it is you.   Think about your website and social media platforms flowing into each other in a way that moves from one to the other with ease.   The more recognizable you are, the less your client has to work to figure out who you are and what you do and the more likely they will trust you and buy from you.

Visual Content

Visual content is important for being recognizable.  When you are your brand, you need to have unique photographic content of yourself.  Pictures can be of you working, of you doing what you do as your brand, of you spending time with your family and friends, of you interacting with clients and the behind the scenes of your business.   The visual content should be consistent and cohesive, the lighter and brighter the better.   Color images and images with faces will have more engagement than dark images.

Remember, that you can say more with a photograph, faster, than you can with text.   Take advantage of visual content as a quick and easy way to get your message across and grow the emotional connection with your ideal audience.  Stock photos can be very useful, but images specific to you and your brand are key to engagement.  Professional and unique images representing you, will help you pass the know like and trust test with flying colors and your business will soar to new heights.

Want to become a recognizable brand?  Let’s collaborate!

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