The Personal Brand Hype
I've heard a few online “gurus” criticizing the concept of personal branding due to the misconceptions that personal branding forces people into the world of daily content creation and influencing marketing. Though both are still viable and respectable paths to lucrative careers, they don’t actually define what it means to be a personal brand or engage in personal brand development.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is the essence of a business centered on the person who created the business and the story behind it all. Any business can be or have a brand. A fitness apparel business might choose to focus on the power behind intense performance and athleticism while another may lean towards a sleek yoga aesthetic for women. Both signatures become recognizable by the masses the more the brand develops and it enables the business to establish a pretty clear and profitable niche.
But let’s say a fitness apparel line is actually founded on the story of cultural and ethnic identity. This company decides to name its company based on racial visibility and represents the power of inclusion and representation. The founder may choose to highlight his/her personal experiences navigating the issue of representation and the journey as a pioneer in the industry.
This example has more room for becoming a personal brand because the branding makes things personal and allows the brand owner to build as a company and an individual. It can be especially helpful if you have other businesses or projects you would like to grow. Your charity work, coaching business, and new book, for example, might all connect as they promote education and support for the black and brown community or promote better personal finance skills for young adults. The niche options are endless but you want to be mindful of drawing a clear connection between it all.
Once you have decided to build a personal brand, there are certain topics that must be addressed in order to find success on this journey. In no particular order, consider the following personal brand elements.
Authenticity is huge right now, especially since the internet is full of copycats looking for the next-get-rich scheme. Legally, it is important to build content and offers that are truly from your knowledge and not stolen from competitors. But from another perspective, authenticity is also about having a trustworthy brand voice and tone.
Since your brand is your business’ personality, it isimportant to determine if your style and message truly align with the personality you want to share with your consumer. Do you feel fake or uncomfortable speaking about certain offers? If your brand does not align, it is unlikely to be received well by your target audience. People love to feel like they know a person (even if they don’t actually know you). Even more, they love to feel like they can trust you. When you lead from a place of passion, authenticity, and integrity allow customers to feel confident in investing in your services and excited to work with you.
Authenticity can refer to a lot of additional considerations but it doesn’t mean you have to overshare. Many new brand builders fear that the only way to succeed online will be by turning their social media platforms into their very own Kardashian series - sharing every little detail and product, both business and personal. This is simply untrue. The only thing you NEED to
do is be consistent! Create your own boundaries and share as much or as little as you see fit. The key is to make sure that the core of your business actually has value and you continue to show up and share this value regularly.
All sales starts with a story. There is a problem or desire out in the world, so you create a solution. This solution is built around the life of the person with said problem or desire through effective storytelling and marketing and then you get another sale! Typically, the personal brand builder has first-hand experience with this issue and wants to share their personal experience as a way to connect and build a relatable and appealing brand.
So if you struggled with acne as an adult, you might want to share this journey as well as your learned lessons of self-love and confidence as you promote your new skin care line. Let's consider a different example. If you are currently a social media coach, you might share how your systems have proven to save tons of time and you can show others how to generate work-product for their clients more efficiently.
Storytelling becomes the core of your business when you’ve become a personal brand but storytelling is at the heart of all sales no matter the product or service. Simply saying, hey I have something you should buy doesn’t work anymore and your story is the only real thing that makes you unique and stand out in the crowd.
I created PERSONiFIED because I wanted to help personal brand builders transform their experience as entrepreneurs. My background in public relations and law enables me to serve as a brand expert, but I was truly inspired by MY own personal journey as a multi-hyphenated
business owner. When your own business plan starts to feel confusing or you don’t feel like you’re effectively communicating your signature value, it’s usually a problem with your STORY.
So many talented and qualified people experience low sales and even lower social media engagement, and the solution begins with understanding your brand's story and improving how you communicate it to others.
I saw and also experienced a common entrepreneur problem, so I created a solution.
We usually know what we need to do, but where do we begin? Consistency is definitely one of those things that is easier said than done, but if you can create a system that is rooted in habits – YOU ARE GOLDEN. Most personal brand builders fall into burnout as a result of doing too much too fast. The lack of clarity and efficiency leads to a spiral of chaos and for many brand owners, the end of their business. It is important to note that consistency has nothing to do with power or talent but everything to do with repeatability. If your daily to-do list is a random never-ending list of disjointed tasks and each day looks different, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Consider creating tasks and repeatable projects each week or month. Work around your big-ticket items and upcoming events and gamify the experience of entrepreneurship. You wear many hats but if the rotation is smooth, you will have no problem rocking all those looks.
Steal my system
Each month I am dedicated to creating at least one blog, like the one you are reading now. This blog should relate back to the theme for the month. I will connect the umbrella topic to my Instagram content, LinkedIn posts, and weekly podcast episodes. The less reinvention of ideas for each piece, the better.
The first week of the month, the newsletter will go out (aiming for first Fridays), and it will feature the monthly blog as well as one core offer.
Each week (on Fridays) I will record new podcast episodes – pulling from previously mentioned themes. Instead of simply repeating the blog on personal branding, I might take it a step deeper and discuss the different sales tactics that actually work for personal brand owners. My content will also follow content pillars that each get their own designated day... First of the Month Affirmations or Tuesday Business Strategy are just a couple of my favorites.
These are just a few examples of how you can simplify through themes and repetition in business. It's all about sustaining an otherwise impossible goal of consistency.
Want to explore your personal brand further?
written x olamide michelle