In order to stand out among a saturated commercial market, a company must develop a strong, recognizable brand worth remembering.
In a world filled with social media thought leaders, sole proprietorships, and independent freelancers, it’s just as important for some people to define a personal brand of their own. This brand will help set themselves apart from other people offering the same online courses, jewelry, or copywriting services.
In order to define your personal brand, you need to take a look at what your goals are, what your story is, and what you hope to accomplish with your brand.
Here are 5 factors you should consider when developing what will become your personal brand.
Tips to Define Your Personal Brand
1. Accept That You Aren’t for Everyone
Not everyone loves buffalo wings. Some people find that they’re too spicy and don’t enjoy the flavor. On the other hand, some people just can’t get enough of that exciting taste.
Would it make sense for buffalo wings to water down their flavor so that it’s bland enough for everyone to eat?
The reason that people love buffalo wings is because of their spice. And it’s okay that not everyone loves them. Because if wings removed the one thing that some people don’t like about them, they’d take away what makes them special.
See what I’m getting at?
Not everyone will like you. You don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea. If you try to take the politician approach and gladhand everyone, you’ll come off as disingenuous, because ultimately you’ll stand for nothing.
Decide what your brand stands for. Figure out your spice. You aren’t trying to attract everyone, so don’t be afraid to be bold in your branding.
2. Narrow Down Your Niche
Specificity is the key to branding and how you define your brand.
It’s not specific enough to be a video gamer. That’s too broad of a brand. If you’re a streamer, you need to pick the games that you’re best at and stick with those. If you’re a feminist vlogger who deconstructs sexist games and offers alternatives for people to play, lean into that angle. Again, you’re not there to appease everyone.
Not all gamers like the same thing, so if you try to appeal to such a wide audience, you’ll get lost in the crowd. Set yourself apart within your niche to a much more specific niche.
Find your niche within a niche and stick with it.
3. Find Your Spark, Define Your Passion, and Fan the Flame
Define your passion. You develop your brand out of the passion that drives you. If you don’t build your brand on something that excites you, it’s going to be absolutely exhausting to keep up the facade before too long.
What do you want to achieve? Why? What are your strengths? What are your motivations? Are there parts of your job that bring you joy? What are they?
If you can’t figure out why you want to do what you do, why will anyone else care?
Find that spark that sets you apart from all other people in the same field. How can you use that spark to create a unique persona that represents your passion?
4. Craft and Tell Your Story
Once you’ve figured out what makes you passionate, figure out how you can tell your story. It’s the next important element in how you define your brand.
If you’re building your brand as a speech pathologist, tell the story of how you struggled with a lisp as a kid. When you worked with a speech therapist, you discovered how to conquer your impediment and found a brand new confidence as you found your voice. That’s what inspired you to become a speech pathologist yourself.
You want to help other people the same way you were helped as a kid.
People will be much more compelled to go to this practitioner than one who just fills their website with their certifications. That’s because you can see the passion behind the first professional’s motivations.
You’re drawn in by their story of success and want to overcome your struggles in the same way they did. You know they care, because they’ve been in your shoes. You feel like you have a personal connection with them, even before you meet them. That’s where personal branding finds its success.
5. Personal Presentation
The way you present yourself pertains to both your online and in person presence. And it’s an important factor in how you define your brand.
The way you present yourself online should be cohesive. On your Instagram graphic posts, stick to the same brand colors and fonts. In your captions, maintain a consistent tone. For example, if you’re professional and erudite, lean into that.
If you’re brash, sassy, and to the point, go for it. If you run a dentist’s office, maybe don’t throw curse words in there when you’re explaining your latest office expansion. Or if you run a streetwear brand, feel free to throw in the occasional f word if it fits your vibe. Use the language that your customers can connect with and relate to.
When people meet you in person after knowing you online, it shouldn’t be a culture shock. However you present yourself in person, make sure your online presence is just an extension of that.
If you’re prim and proper, always dressed to the nines, make sure your online presence is just as polished. If you rock tattoos and have the “I just rolled out of bed” hair, make your social media reflect your punk rock attitude and vibe.
It all goes back to being yourself. By building your brand around your authentic personality, you don’t need to put in so much effort trying to express a persona you don’t already have.
Define Your Personal Brand by Being Yourself
No matter how flashy or trendy you make your personal brand, it will never work if it isn’t genuine to who you are. Your brand needs to come from a place of authenticity. Otherwise your followers will immediately sniff you out as a fake.
Look deep inside yourself and think about your motivations, your hopes, your dreams. What drives you? What story created you? Define your personal brand by authenticity. Being yourself never goes out of vogue.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.