We all know how important good branding is in business, but what about personal branding associated with just one individual?
Everyone has a personal brand, from our social media presence, what appears when someone types our name into a search engine, and even what people think about when they say our name. Having a strong personal brand can help support your career and life, leading to better opportunities.
However, a lot goes into creating a successful personal brand, and having an effective strategy in place is fundamental. But before we dive into some practical steps, let’s look at what a personal brand is.
What is a personal brand, and why is it important?
Personal branding is about defining and promoting what you stand for as an individual. Essentially, it’s how others see you, which is determined by your experiences, skills and values. In business terms, it’s why a potential client might choose you over a competitor.
In today’s digital era, where everyone is bombarded with thousands of different messages (up to 10,000 ads every day), the need to make a notable first impression is more important than ever, and the best way to do that is by having a memorable personal brand.
Doing so gives you the best chance of building trust and credibility with potential customers, making them more likely to engage with you, something all freelancers, creatives, and business owners need to succeed. So, how do you get started?
7 steps to building your brand
1. Determine what you want to be known for
Building a personal brand that truly reflects who you are means understanding your current skills and abilities, along with your strengths and weaknesses, and using that to uncover what makes you stand out.
Think about what motivates you, your best characteristics, and which areas of work you excel in. If you’re unsure, try asking colleagues, friends, and family. Once you understand those, you can decide how best to brand them, find a niche, and put a strategy in place to help determine what steps you may need to grow.
2. Find your UVP
Knowing what makes you stand out from the crowd is critical for building a successful personal brand. If you’re the same as everyone else, then your personal brand will never truly be personal. Having a unique value proposition (UVP) lets you set yourself apart from the competition.
A UVP is a clear statement that tells potential customers what your product or service’s distinct selling points are. It may feature in your marketing materials (like your website and social media) or when you’re networking. A strong one will help keep your messaging consistent and ensure the best first impression possible.
3. Problem-solving and critical thinking
Many people make the mistake of assuming reaching a broad audience is best, but that’s rarely the case. Instead, it’s more important to find your niche and build a strategy that best appeals to those within it.
Narrowing your focus to a specific audience will help you develop an effective marketing strategy. It can also be more cost-effective, allowing you to target on a smaller, more focused scale.
To define your target audience, you should ask yourself who’s most likely to identify with your brand. What are their biggest interests, problems and desires? Where do they go to find information? Researching this is no quick process, but putting the time in will ensure you’ll be more effective in delivering your marketing strategy later on.
4. Tell a story
It’s no coincidence that all successful businesses have mission statements and brand stories. Take world-famous shoe brand Toms, for example, built around the idea of giving back to others. These stories offer potential customers or partners an explanation of why a business exists, humanising the brand and forming more profound connections.
For individual professionals, it’s just as important to have the same mindset, which is why creating an authentic personal brand story is key.
5. Be authentic
A great personal brand is truly authentic and connected to who you are as a person. Today, authenticity is credibility, even if that means sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. The over-polished and over-rehearsed image doesn’t work anymore and can actually end up putting a barrier between you and your target audience.
As one of the few people in the world recognised just by her first name, Oprah Winfrey is an iconic example of how to do this well. Over the years, she has created a realistic brand persona in whatever area of work she undertakes, whether fronting a campaign, hosting a show, or writing a book. While she is true to her audience, her brand has also been built on motivating others to make their lives better.
6. Optimise your social media profiles and website
Having a strong digital presence provides the ideal platform for you to communicate with potential customers and the ability to control your own narrative. Of course, certain things will remain outside of your control, such as reviews or organic conversations about you on social media, but having a presence will allow you to influence how you’re portrayed online.
American makeup artist Huda Kattan is an excellent example of how to do this well. With over 50 million followers on Instagram alone, Kattan went against traditional advertising methods and used social media instead to promote her work, resulting in the creation of a multimillion-dollar brand.
7. Have a consistent content strategy
Consistency is vital for personal branding, ensuring you remain easily recognisable across all marketing touch points. Long-distance running star Mo Farah is an excellent example of how to stay consistent. He has embraced the media, regularly sharing developments and keeping the conversation going across social media, helping him build a loyal community.
His down-to-earth personality of being a committed family man has made his brand explode, rewarding him with a knighthood and endorsements from major brands. After recently opening up about how he was trafficked to the UK as a child, he has only been greeted with more support and strengthened his image of being an inspiration to others.
Crafting a personal brand is undoubtedly a lot of work, but the rewards can be immense if done correctly. Start by knowing exactly how you want to be seen by your target audience, and then you can take control of your personal narrative. Be consistent, and don’t forget to stay authentic, as this transparency will support you in the long run.
Register your interest in becoming an Elevate brand ambassador
Are you a freelancer, creative, or small business owner interested in participating in additional brand ambassador work? Elevate is an award-winning staffing agency that works with some of the biggest brands in sports, technology, alcohol, health and more, delivering unforgettable experiences to audiences worldwide.
We’re looking to add new talent to our global network across multiple areas, including promotional staff, retail experience staff, corporate event staff, hospitality staff, logistics experts, actors, baristas, makeup artists, mixologists, and more. To register your interest, please visit our website.