Twenty years ago, building a strong personal brand was only the exclusive preserve of people working in the media, the extremely rich or people with stupendous achievements.
No one really cared about you unless you’re a popular celebrity or a very notorious person.
Today, a lot has changed. With just a click, people can “Google” you. And whatever they see or do not see can make them decide your fate, right there and then.
With such reality, you should be really worried about your personal brand and the perception people are having about you.
But, the good thing is, unlike 20 years ago; today, the advent of social media has made it easy for just about anyone to build a strong personal brand that stands out, regardless of their status in the society.
And that is what you’re going to learn in this guide-how to build a strong personal brand. But before we proceed, let’s explain what personal branding is all about…
What is personal Branding?
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Personal branding is the practice of intentionally creating a brand image that projects the personality you want to create for everyone that comes in contact with you.
A lot of the times, people confuse personal branding with projecting your natural self or being who you naturally are but, personal branding is beyond your natural self. It is more about the personality you want the world to recon with.
It is the experience you want to leave with people, when they come in contact with you. And this has everything to do with the personality you want to create, rather than the one you are at the moment.
Why is Personal Branding Important?
When it comes to branding, different people want to build strong personal brands for different reasons.
For instance, as a freelance Graphics Designer, you might want to create a strong personal brand because you believe that doing so will improve your credibility, attract more customers and earn you more money.
A creative writer or artist on the other hand would want to build a their personal brand because they want to create the right image for their creative works.
And yet again, if you’re an entrepreneur, you might want to build a strong personal brand because you want to create the right image for your target audience.
Naturally, everyone has personal reasons why they think that building a strong personal brand is important to them but at the end of the day, the main reason you want to build a personal brand is to position yourself and create the right perception so you can achieve the right outcomes.
Steps to Create a Strong Personal Brand
Whether you’re a freelancer, Writer, Entrepreneur or a random thought leader, if you’re not satisfied with your current brand, you can do something about it.
And even if you’re already satisfied with your brand, by creating a strong personal brand, you can always amplify your results.
The following are some important steps you can take to achieve this:
Identify your Goals
One of the first steps to create a strong personal brand is to identify your main goal or the reason you want to create that brand.
By your brand goals here, I am referring to the things you want to achieve with the personal brand you’re planning to create.
At this point you need to sit down and ask yourself, what’s the need for this brand and what do I want to achieve with it. Get as detailed as possible.
When you figure out your goals, you can now move onto the next stage, where you’ll have to define your brand, in line with your set goals.
Define who you are
To create a strong personal brand, you have to know exactly who you are, how you want to be presented online, before you can pass across this same identity to the world.
Considering that you’ve already defined your goals in the first step, at this stage, you want to figure out who you are.
The reason behind this self analysis is because you need to find out your true self and then find ways to use this personality traits to build a really authentic brand that people can relate with.
To get started with this, you will need to do a SWOT analysis for your personal brand.
And by this I mean you will have to evaluate your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And find ways you can use this to influence your brand positively.
So, go ahead ask yourself, who am I and what do I want to do with this brand? Find out your personal strength and weaknesses and how best you can infuse them into your brand.
If you do not have a clear idea about this from the beginning you can also ask from people close to you.
Ask them about their own impression about you or how they would describe you, what they think are your weaknesses and strengths etc.
With the answers you get from this exercise, you will get a clear idea about your existing brand or who you are at the moment and other people’s opinion about you.
And then with this knowledge, you can begin to decide the brand image you want to project.
Decide what you want to be Known for
After defining who you are, the next step in creating a unique personal brand is to define exactly what you want to be known for.
- Find out, what impression do you want to give to people, the first time they come in contact with your brand?
- How do you want them to be able to describe you?
- What image will you like to leave in their mind after they are gone?
This is going to be what you’ll project with your brand. Be very specific and clear about who you are, so you can customize your message to fit in with it.
Considering that your personal brand does not just reflect who you are as a person, it embodies your life’s whole journey therefore, you have to build your brand from the perspective of your areas of strength, areas of competence or areas you have skills that you really want to be known for.
You have to understand that the brand image you’re creating might be associated with you for a very long while and for this reason, you have to be very sure that this is the personal brand you want to project.
So, at this point you can start asking yourself questions like; Do I really see myself doing this thing I want to project with my personal brand for the next 2 to 5 or even 10 years?
Do I want to be known for blogging, Writing, Singing, Graphics Design etc. for as long as this brand exists?
Questions like this will give you a better perspective on how to tweak your brand correctly.
Choose a Niche
Your niche is an area or industry you want to target with your personal brand.
As a beginner, to build a strong brand within a shorter period of time, you might want to target a smaller niche with a well defined audience.
So, if you’re a Graphics Designer for example, instead of targeting small businesses generally, you can decide to target small online businesses.
To make it even smaller, you can choose to target ecommerce businesses only. Doing this reduces the competition thus making it possible for you to create an impact even faster.
Identify your Audience
Before creating your personal brand, you also want to identify clearly, the audience you want to reach with your brand.
So, go ahead and figure it out, who are you trying to reach? And where can you find these people?
If you’re having difficulties identifying your audience, you can check up other brands that are closely similar to the one you want to create…
If you want to create a writer’s brand for instance, you can check up other successful writers in the niche. Find out, who are their audiences and where do they gather.
Doing this will give you a clue about the audience you want to target with your brand, their demographics and other important data that will help you create a brand they will be able to relate with.
The earlier you define your brand audience, the easier it is for you to craft a personal brand that will resonate with them.
Create your Brand Objectives
After identifying your niche and your audience, the next thing you want to do is to set your brand objectives.
While your brand goals are the outcome you want to create with your personal brand, your brand objectives are the specific steps that will lead you towards achieving these goals.
So, pick up the goals you’ve written already in step one. Ask yourself, what steps can I take today that will lead me towards achieving these goals?
As soon as you figure out these steps, begin to write them down, starting with the most relevant and easiest to achieve, up to the most demanding ones.
Evolve your Brand Message
To create an effective brand message for your personal brand, you’ll need to identify the four core elements that will help you to create a more authentic message viz; Vision, Mission, Culture and the Core values of your brand.
Vision: A vision is the desired future you see about your personal brand. It’s the ultimate destination you wish to attend in the long run. Your vision should be written in a clear statement that will inspire you just as you work towards achieving it.
Mission: Your mission statement defines the purpose of what you do. With your mission statement, you should be able to answer the questions about What you do, How you do it. And Why you’re doing it.
Core values: Your core values should be able to define what you stand for as a brand. What matters most to you either as a person or in relationship with your audience and the people you’re trying to reach.
Also, your core values should serve as a compass that guides your actions, inactions, decisions and the way you relate with your audience as a brand.
Take for instance, as a Content Expert, one of my core values is to create simplicity and engagement with my content.
I love simplicity. I want my audience to understand and be able to relate with what I write without much effort. That’s why I write almost all my content in simple, direct and engaging styles.
Culture: Your brand culture is the culture you cultivate in order to consistently deliver your brand to your target audience.
As a matter of fact, your Mission, Vision together with your Core Values are core parts of the things that will define your brand culture. After setting out this three, you should be able to create a distinct brand culture that is clearly identifiable with your personal brand.
Create a Consistent Brand Image
Now, that you have a clear knowledge about your Mission, Vision, Core values and Personal Brand Culture, the next stage on your journey to build a strong brand is to create a brand image that is consistent on all your platform.
To get started, take a look at everything you’ve created so far, including your brand message, what kind of picture do you have in mind as you begin to imagine the person behind this brand?
Ask yourself, does this picture clearly identify the image I’m creating? If it does, then go ahead and create real pictures that embodies that image you created.
If you’re projecting yourself as a coach or someone with a solid formal experience, create a picture that is consistent with this image and then upload it on your platforms. Ensure that there’s consistency throughout the whole platforms.
If you’re projecting a less formal, sassy or techy image, ensure you also create an image that projects such imagery. And then upload it to all your platforms.
Tell your Brand Story
One of the most powerful tools that will help you in advancing your personal brand is your brand story telling. You can read more about brand Storytelling here
From time to time, you’ll need to create a brand story that’s consistent with your personal brand.
Doing this gives you a very good chance to use words that will demonstrate your brand values and core culture, through every piece of content you create.
Strategies to Build a Strong Brand
Creating a personal brand that stands out is not only very important for your overall success online, it is going to be one of the biggest determinants of the things you can achieve with your social interactions.
As you just read, there are so many ways to create a personal brand that stands out. But one thing you need to always remember is that a lot depends on your ability to show up, consistently.
Beyond that, you must be able to understand that even when your brand can always evolve over the years, being able to create a certain level of consistency through out your evolution is one key factor that will continue to distinguish your personal brand as you continue to grow.
Right here, you’ve learned about ways to create a strong personal brand that works for you. Remember that you can always use these strategies to create your own personal brand right now or you can work with us to get this done for you without stress.
So, what are your thoughts on personal branding? And what strategies have you used to create your own brand?