Personal branding: a puzzle only a few have solved. We have seen icons like Jay-Z, JLo Oprah Winfrey and the Kardashians create global brands that span across industries. From books to shows to endorsement deals, these personalities have created multi-billion dollar empires with their names alone. Although these examples are exclusive to the entertainment realm, there are many other examples such as Melinda Gates, Malala, J.K. Rowling and Martha Stewart that we can identify. What are some of the common components of having a solid personal brand? A successful personal brand has multiple must-haves that include:
- Being an expert in your industry
- Books and publications
- Working with media
- Corporate clients and sponsorships
- And more recently, developing a solid digital media platform.
As an entrepreneur or young professional, social media is the component to begin to focus on. Kim Kardashian has been an expert, harnessing social media and using it to create relationships with her fans, communicate with media, secure corporate sponsorships and self-publish and self-promote her products. What one must keep in mind is that simply creating accounts on social media sites and pushing out your content is not going to help grow your brand. You must have a concrete plan that encompasses various tools and channels simultaneously while sharing a consistent message.
With brands, people expect consistency. Imagine walking into Zara and seeing sleek european style pieces replaced with tacky, ill-fitting clothes. You would walk right out because that’s not what you went there for or what you have come to associate with the name Zara. A brand promises a certain level of quality. They tell a story. The same goes for your personal brand.
Brand consistency is divided into two parts: Tangibles and Intangibles. Tangibles relate to the things you can see and touch. This is also what people tend to focus on most. It’s your logo, website, graphics, color scheme, etc. The intangibles however, are just as important. The brand personality and brand story guide the creation of those tangible items. They set the tone for the look and feel of your brand. Below is a basic branding checklist you can use to gauge where you are with your brand consistency.
@@ Use this branding checklist to see if you're on track building your brand: @@
Basic Branding Checklist
- Are your profile images the same across platforms?
- Do your profiles maintain the same visual identiy and tone?
- Have you kept your profile names and handles consistent? Can I find you by your real name?
- Are you connecting with and engaging your target audience?
- Do you have a website? Does it prominently display your contact information?
- Are you capturing your website visitors' information so you can directly market to them?
- Are you telling your story and communicating your value?
- Have you been featured in the press, positioning you as an expert in your field?
- Do you have a brand style guide and templates that inform the look of your brand?
- Have you mastered blending personal and professional on social media?