Today you’ll be taking a ride with me as we ask ourselves one very important question:
What does your personal brand say about your business as a whole?
The overall goal of branding is to differentiate yourself and your business from competitors or businesses in the same market. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “It’s all been done before”, and while this is true personal branding is your way of replying…”But not by me!” It can be arduous finding the road less taken in a highly competitive industry, however if successful, the growth of your brand and development of your business will make a great reward.
#1 Ask yourself, “what do I want” and then write it down– When I began my entrepreneurial journey I had no “end goal”. My purpose was survival. Of course, I enjoyed the thought of being my own boss, but what drove me was exiting the cycle of struggle I had seen my mother fight with all of my life. As I got deeper into my business, and it became more than my next meal I realized that “escaping struggle” was my motivation not my goal. It’s good to note the “why” so that in the event you get discouraged it’ll be there to remind you, but the “what” is your vehicle to realizing your dreams. What do you want to accomplish? What relevant need is your brand fulfilling?
It’s vital to be honest to who you are when building your brand. If you’re creative, free spirited, and relaxed you would want your brand to convey that. It’s much easier to get people to believe in you when you believe in yourself. Some people will prefer the strict and solemn type, and that’s okay! You will find that it’s more valuable to be able to be yourself and love what you do than land a position that affords you everything but your identity.
#2 Research. Put some time into researching people who have actually made it to where you aspire to be and note their journey. Notice I said note their journey and not live their journey. We can imitate the exact plan of someone who’s been successful and still fail. Note their strategies, their hardships and how they overcame them, the steps it took to get to where you’d like to be, how many times they were told no. These are all interesting yet necessary aspects of the branding process that it would benefit you to plan for or at least expect.
#3 Define your brand When I decided to get serious and really “own” my business, I wasn’t sure what I wanted my brand to convey. Of course, at first I wanted luxury. A luxurious beauty and fashion brand that spread across the world before I even had time to create a vision board. It sounds absolutely ridiculous while typing it, but that’s what I wanted, or what I wanted to represent. As you now know from the beginning of this article that couldn’t have been further from my reality. Of course ,I could have spent money I didn’t have to invest in high quality luxurious & convincing advertisements, but the type of clientele that would attract would most definitely feel my brand is misrepresented when I arrive.
Am I rude, sloppy, or incompetent, I like to think not. But the truth is, I don’t have the funds to invest in keeping up a luxurious appearance. I most definitely wouldn’t have the money after running those luxurious ads. Because appearance is an intricate part of building a brand I decided to avoid being broke and embarrassed and I built a brand that reminded me…..well of me.
Who am I? Well, I have tattoos, piercings, almond shaped matte wine colored nails (at the moment), lashes, locs, and a serious certifiable lipstick obsession. At first glance, you more than likely wouldn’t attribute this article, my businesses, my ambition, or many of my thoughts to me. So, when asking myself what I wanted from my brand my answer was “freedom”. Freedom from stereotypes and labels“. I wanted the freedom to be in love with lipstick and literature, to adore pearls and tattoos.
I desired to seen for not only my physical appearance and related skills but my desire for depth, my ambition, and my resilience, because that is what I believed beautiful was.That was to be the foundation of my brand.
In being true to my definition, I hoped to inspire other women who came in contact with me to be everything that they are and not who society thought they should be. That was my goal.
Note: The beauty of being a part of a creative industry like the fashion or beauty industry is that it’s ok to be different. You’re not expected to be in a suit and tie at all times and you would serve better having and showing your personality than not. Not all industries embrace creative individualism so always be mindful of your industry’s standards of perception.
#4 Examine your current position. Who do people already think that you are? While it is possible to change the minds of your audience it’s much easier when you now what you’re up against. If you’ve already started to establish your business ask your existing clients to describe your brand in a few words (literally 3). This will push them to prioritize and choose the words that matter most. If you’re in the planning stages allow your friends and family to be your mirror and ask them to describe you in a few words, after all..you are your brand. If you don’t like the results. Devise a plan to change the way you and/or your brand is perceived and put that plan into action immediately.
#5 Start Now. It’s never too early to start branding! You may have no clue what you want to do specifically, but you’re positive of the industry. That’s okay! Begin branding yourself as someone who belongs there…. somewhere by showing your knowledge on related topics and networking with people in that particular industry. Begin building a presence that is complimentary to the industry you see yourself in. Blogging is a great way to interact with people who are interested in a specific topic. Maybe join a Meetup group. If you’re into beauty, fashion, or photography it may be beneficial to sign up with www.ModelMayhem.com.
#6 Manage Your Brand Your brand is your baby and as my mother used to say in reference to my sister and I, “if they are too quiet, check on ’em.” Your brand needs constant supervision. Constant molding, nurturing, and effort. Don’t be afraid to utilize the force that is social media. About that, if you’re the drunk tweeting type get separate accounts for your business and personal life. It’s best to refrain from social media altogether when you’re not sober, but for those who like to live on the edge get a personal account. Thank me later. Even with my brand being a more rebellious
#7 Protect Your Brand. You’re representing your brand regardless of what time it is, where you are, and who you are with. Always be mindful of your personal brand which includes but isn’t limited to behavior and physical appearance. Everyone is a potential client.
Continuously check your circle. There are people who you are used to being around that aren’t meant to go on this journey with you. That sounds a little tough, but sometimes reality is just that. Tough. Keep your circle tight and surround yourself by people who push you to be the best you. People who honor your goals and respect your grind. You don’t have to hide from people you know, but it’s almost guaranteed that if you replace the things you used to do with events that can better your career and expose your brand you’ll attract different people.
BONUS: 3 C’s of branding
Clarity-B clear about who you are, who you’re not, and who you’d like to service.
Consistency– Be consistent with your brand message. This includes social media, networking events, as well as personal events.
- Constancy-If you want to build a strong brand you must always be visible to your customer. “Out of sight..out of mind” has never bee more detrimental.
Take away :
#1 The “why” keeps you going the “what” gets you there (equally important to consider. You will find that it’s more valuable to be able to be yourself and love what you do than land a position that affords you everything but your identity.
#2 Do your research! It has all been done before, just not by you.
#3 Be sure to define your brand or someone else will.
#4 Continuously assess your brand’s current perception.
#5 Start Branding NOW! Build a website, get Business cards, blog, reply to popular blogs, attend local industry events, begin networking, make connections..
#6 Stay on top of marketing. Use social media to build a presence WHEN YOU’RE SOBER. Adelle will tell you the impact of drunk tweeting is real.
#7 Lastly, Protect your brand by any means.
Thanks so much for reading, and as always I wish you much success…
Original Article Posted on Linkedin Pulse