In this digital age, if you want to stand out from the sea of other businesses, you will need to put a lot of time and effort into building up your personal brand.
Building your personal brand will open up the doors to more business opportunities, connections with peers in your industry, help you increase your influence online and attract more customers to your business.
This is because once you have established a solid and recognizable personal brand, people will start to see you as an authoritative figure in your space.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is essentially what you want to be associated with and known for in your industry. As you start building a personal brand for your business,
How to begin making a personal brand (day 1)
If you’re just starting out and you haven’t had time to establish your brand identity, it would be wise to start from there.
It’s helpful to think of your “brand identity” as a person. Every person has a name, personality, and physical characteristics that, combined together, make them distinct and recognizable from other people.
For example, there are lots of people named “Ben” with brown hair. But there the more features we’ll add to describe that ben, such a “Ben” with brown hair who always wears band shirts, smells like menthol cigarettes, has an Australian accent and snorts every time he laughs. It will be easier to remember this specific “Ben.”
And so it should be easy to distinguish your brand identity from your competitors’, even if you both own ice cream shops in Seattle, Washington. There is something that sets your ice cream shop apart, and you’ll use your brand identity to communicate those unique attributes.
Choosing your brand name
Choosing a name for your brand can be intimidating. A good place to start is always, ALWAYS to look at what your competitors are named. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but you do want to make sure that your name is distinct enough from your local competitors so that you don’t confuse customers.
Start with a keyword Google search of your market to see which competitor appears in the results.
For example, if you run a yoga studio in Seattle, do a search for “yoga studios Seattle.” Write down your competitors’ names and make sure that you don’t create anything too similar to your progress in your naming process.
How brand names are most commonly determined:
- Use your own name/the founders’ name (example: “McDonalds”,)
- Describe what your business does (example: “Pizza Hut” “Snap Chat”, “Airbnb”)
- Describe an image or experience (example: “Nike,” “Facebook”)
- Choose a random word(s) (example: “Amazon,” “Apple”, “Uber”)
- Make up a word (“Google,” “Sony,” “Ikea”)
Remember that your name should be appropriate for your product or service, but it mostly depends on who your audience is and the market you’re trying to reach. If you are a realtor or lawyer, it’s more convenient to use your own name for your practice or firm. On the other hand, if your field and target audience is more creative, young, or advanced, then it makes more sense to have an unconventional name.
Time to describe your business
Make a list of 10-20 words that you want people to associate with your business. Use those words to inspire the direction of your brand name. Now try to make 4-5 optional names for each of the following categories – Conservative names b. Made up words c. Descriptive names d. Random names
Design: Logo, Color Scheme and Font
Design elements—like color, shapes and size—can have a huge affect on our emotions and how we perceive information and brands. Here’s a simple example: Which color represents heat? Which color represents cold? Chances are you answered “red” and “blue,” respectively.
What about Size? How do you feel about more IMPOSING SIZES?
what about font? Would you have read this far in the lesson if the text was in Comic Sans? And what feeling would you have while reading? Some Caribbean breeze perhaps?
As we can see, visual design elements have a great influence on our emotions, reactions and perceptions. This is why your brand’s logo, color scheme and font must align with the emotions you wish to evoke, and with the values, and story you created
How design works for different businesses:
|Professional and business services (accounting, law, consulting) – these businesses often seek to portray a feeling of professionalism, accountability and security. Therefore, they often use a dark, muted colour scheme (greys, blacks, dark blues), a traditional fonts with clean lines.||Professional and business services (accounting, law, consulting) – these businesses often seek to portray a feeling of professionalism, accountability and security. Therefore, they often use a dark, muted colour scheme (greys, blacks, dark blues), a traditional fonts with clean lines.||Creative businesses or startups (graphic designers, musicians, photographers, app developers) – these businesses often seek to portray a feeling of innovation, fun and creativity. Therefore, they often use a brighter, bolder color scheme with a more interpretive, playful logo or font.|
Insurance company with light, modern design – https://www.lemonade.com/
Bank with modern young language – http://www.pepper.co.il/en/
Tone of voice (personality)
Just like design, language also plays a huge role in your brand’s identity. It’s not just what you say but how you say it.
Think about how you would tell a funny story to your best friend versus how you would tell it to your mother. The story doesn’t change but the way you tell it does. Why? Because the audience is so different;
Try to imagine if your brand would have been a real person, how would he talk? Would it be a “he” at all? Or maybe a “she?” How old is he/she? Where from? What accent he/she might have? Is it very official or maybe friendly and easy-going? Is it directive and didactic or maybe requesting and wishful?
The voice and tone is not just the story, but also the small gestures – the microcopies. Microcopy is all the mini texts and gestures that our brand might use in the communication with its audience. Just like the marketing messages, the microcopy should be an outcome of the brand identity.
The Micro copy is the continue button texts next to it or the legal comment below the leave details form. The way it is addressed by the audience is as relevant as the main message.
At this point in the lesson, you’ve already identified your target customer (or have begun to). This target customer is your audience, and your tone of voice must appeal to them as well as reflect the emotions you want to convey
Create your brand persona
Answer the following questions and create your brand persona (note that the persona you create should always be similar to your target client characteristics, but usually it helps to make it similar to ease the messaging process later on.
Questions commonly used to create a brand persona:
- How old is that person?
- Is it a male or female? Where is he/she from?
- What does she like?
- Is she sarcastic /humorous/ funny/serious any other emotional features?
- What does it like to do?
- Does it have kids?
- What kind of relationship she has with her family members?
Now identify the repeating words you have – like caring, Funny, serious etc. Use them to create the voice and tone for your brand.
Find your brand’s voice
You have a customer who just completed an order for your product or service. You now need to send the customer an email to confirm and thank them for their purchase.
What kind of tone will you take in the email? Take the following email and rephrase it to match your brand voice and tone, make sure you also match the micro-copy in the email.
[This could be instead of receipt email]
[branded image or typographic image with “Thank you” ]
Dear [Customer name],
Thank you for your order.
We truly value our loyal customers. Thanks for making who we are!
As a token of appreciation, have a 15% off coupon code for your next purchase.
[discount code block with CTA]
That’s what you’ve ordered this time:
[table with products ordered]
[Send out to customers on the parcel delivery day]
Dear [Customer name],
Thanks for shopping with us!
Your feedback is important to us. Would you mind writing a short review of your last purchase?
[table of products purchased with CTA to review page]
Thank You once again,
The [brand name] team
[make a segment of customers that recently have bought more than two products]
Hey [Customer name],
Recently you have purchased a bunch of our products. Thanks a lot!
We would like to know how you like them. Did you have a chance to try them all?
[CTA to review products]
[table of recently purchased products]
Thanks again, looking forward to hearing your feedback.
– Elsa from the [Brand name] Team
[Order confirmation email to send out immediately after the purchase has been completed]
Hi [customer name],
Thanks for your order!
Estimated time of delivery
[Table of items purchased]
The [brand name] team
The tone of voice must always stay consistent (unless you decide to rebrand years from now). Brands rebrand themselves when their values, goals, or type of business change.
They need to match their personal brand identity and appearance to their new values and goals, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves!).
Brand style guidelines
Your personal brand style is the look, feel, and tone of your brand, which consists of carefully defined visual design elements and language that represent specific emotions. Your brand identity must always adhere to the guidelines you defined.
- Font type
- Color scheme
There are countless places (or “assets”) where you can place your brand: ads, social media accounts, your website, and even a coffee mug. No matter where your brand appears—online or offline—it absolutely needs to be consistent.
The look, feel and tone of your brand should not change from asset to asset. Everything from your color scheme to your font type and weight should match, and this is why it’s crucial to develop brand guidelines. You’ll also hear it referred to as “brand standards,” a “style guide” or “brand book.”
Think of your brand guidelines as an army uniform. Your brand might have a few variations of its “uniform” (just as the U.S. Army has three), but there is still continuity between them and each remains consistent in and of itself.
Here is what to consider when defining your guidelines:
Brand Guidelines Checklist:
- Voice & tone
- Color palette (including colors code)
- Font type(s)
- Font weight(s)
- Images guidelines
All done. What’s next?
Once you’ve compiled your guidelines, use them to create your brand assets such as your website, business cards, social media, merchandise, advertising, and more.
How to build your personal branding assets
1. Create your assets
Now that we’ve covered what a brand is and its purpose, it’s time to explore your brand assets. There are two general categories for brand assets:
- The experience:
These are elements that create the look and feel of your brand. It can include your brand logo, colors, typography, and tagline. If we take the “Nike” brand, for example, its distinct brand assets are the “swoosh” symbol and tagline “Just do it.”
- The touchpoints:
The term “touchpoint” refers to how audiences come into contact (or “touch”) your brand. This could be your website, your social media pages, business card, advertisement, or anything else that your audience might encounter.
2. Build your online presence
Creating a solid online presence for your personal brand and business is super essential, especially since we are living in a digital age. Your online presence consists of all of the web properties that you establish on the internet such as your social media profiles, your website or your blog.
3. Network with fellow peers in your industry
If you want to really level up your personal branding, one of the activities that you should concentrate on is networking. If I can be honest here for a second, this is one of the areas that I totally shied away from but one that is already making a huge impact on my new brand because I didn’t fully understand the power of online networking.
The thing is…is that you cannot build a brand or business alone. You will need to start branching out and networking with others in your industry to really start getting your business and brand out there.
5 Top personal branding tools
Canva is absolutely one of the best graphic design tools that I have used. Whether you are a beginner or even a seasoned designer, Canva is a resource that you can use to design all sorts of graphics with.
For my new website, I used Canva to design my lead magnets, sidebar graphics, product covers and my blog post images.
WiseStamp is an excellent email branding tool, but it is much, much more branding wise. With WiseStamp, you can integrate and connect your social media profiles to your email signature, add a picture to your signature, easily incorporate your brand’s color schemes and add links to your latest blog post.
Talk about one-click branding! Yep, it’s possible with this nifty resource.
About.me is a free service that lets you create a personalized splash page that gives people a quick glimpse into who you are and what you do. With the About.me pages, you can easily link your social media profiles to the page, add your contact information and more.
Pixlr is an additional tool that I use for personal branding in particular to create text logos, lead magnets, etc. for my current website.
If you are creating a personal brand on a budget, then this is a resource that you will learn to love.
5. Your Blog
Blogging and promoting your content across different platforms online is one of the most effective ways to brand yourself and your business.
Content is always being exchanged and promoted online. As such, writing and sharing content (aka blogging for business) consistently from your blog is an important branding activity the small business owners should do regularly.
WordPress is currently the most popular blogging platform and content management system that the pro’s use for blogging.
I hope that these tips and 5 tools help you start establishing an awesome and solid personal brand for your business.
Cheers and Happy Branding!