When you are a small business owner, a solopreneur or a blogger, your brand is more than a pretty logo. There’s a whole movement around authenticity and relating to who you are reading, buying from or following, this is why you should build a brand around yourself. Think about it, when you follow someone on social media, you want to connect, feel inspired and respond to their messaging. If someone’s brand is pretty but there is no heart behind it, chances are you won’t follow it. As Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon) famously said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Your brand should be personal. It is the sum of what you do, how you do it and most importantly, why you do it. It’s not something you can fake and it is more than font choices, colors and a logo. A personal brand will make you stand out from the crowd, shine a light on your expertise and enhance your value. By being yourself, you’ll have a unique magic about you that people can’t help being drawn to. I’ve had businesses in the past that have been branded as something other than myself, it wasn’t until I created Emmygination that I truly embraced myself, my authentic story and built a brand around it. The difference between now and all my past businesses is that people connect with me, and with that connection they are happy to follow my journey, work with me and create a lasting relationship with my business.
So how can you build a brand around yourself?
Own Your Magic
Did you know that you already have a personal brand? No really. You totally do! It’s the way you talk, dress, walk, dream and go about your daily life. You’re unique, and your friends and coworkers have an opinion about you. Building a brand around yourself is an integral part of telling your story before someone else tells it for you. You define what you want to be known for and how you want others to perceive you. The first step to build a brand around yourself is to know and own your personal story. People connect with authenticity, they want to relate. So instead of doing a generic brand that centers around what you do (graphic design, life coaching, apparel…), start by creating a brand around WHY you’re doing something.
What is your story? What brought you to this time and space to make you want to create this brand? Sell this product or service? WHY do you want to solve this problem? It’s all about your why. When potential clients or investors look to support you they want to know about YOU, what expertise you bring to the table and WHY. That is what is valuable, that is what makes you stand out from one business to the other, your heart.
It’s All About Your Message
Everything you put out into the world should have the same messaging. I’m talking about, social media, blogging, your website, a tweet, meeting someone, whenever your business comes up, the messaging has to be consistent. It has to relate to… you guessed it… your story! Think of how you talk about your products or services, how you interact with people on social media… your messaging has to embrace the same feeling so that no matter where people find you, they recognize your voice.
For example, in my own brand, I’m very vocal about dreams and magic. I try to sprinkle the same type of copywriting and messaging everywhere. I’ve had people tag me in posts about Disney, dreams and belief because they think of me. That is the power behind personal branding, they related to something I am, something I love and I popped into their heads at that time. If you need further convincing, take Jenna Kutcher for example, she loves mac and cheese. It may seem silly and even random, but this tiny tidbit of information makes people relate to her as a human, she’s not a conglomerate, not part of corporate America, she’s like you and me. She’s constantly tagged in pictures of mac and cheese, which is awesome because you know people are connecting with her and her message. So whatever yours is, say it loud, say it proud!
Show Off Your Failures
When you build a brand around yourself, you need to show the ups and downs. You see, personal branding is… well… personal! The beauty of building a brand around yourself is that people connect with you and your journey, including your failures. People won’t connect with perfection, they want to see themselves in someone else, they want to see that hope, that encouragement, if someone else made it, so can they. The reason we had this boom of social media influencers is because people craved real connection and these normal people who skyrocketed their following because they were being themselves seemed more relatable than current celebrity culture.
I used to hide my failures because I was ashamed, I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect and portray what I thought people wanted, that I totally missed the mark! A strong personal brand is not perfect, its genuine, and what is more genuine that showcasing the truth, the behind the scenes, the struggle, the late nights, the wins, the joy, the tears… Don’t aim to be perfect, aim to be real.
Don’t Be Shy, Show Your Pretty Face
A personal brand is all about you, so you need to show your face. People need to see you to connect with you and feel like they’re your BFF. I know I follow some people on Instagram that I have never met, but they make me feel like we’re the best of friends and like I know them. Weird right? But it works. When people see you in your environment and in your normal day to day life, it creates this connection of authenticity. I’m not talking about posed pictures, but the real you. Plus you’ll start to see that the more you share about yourself, the more people will want to get to know you.
A while ago I was Insta stalking some people, and saw that whenever they showed themselves, they had almost triple the likes as let’s say a picture of their coffee or even work. There’s just something about seeing the person behind the message you follow. If you’re shy like me, try your best to move past it, because no matter what your insecurity is, know that people want to see you.
Build a Brand Around Yourself Like a Pro
People rather talk to other humans than big faceless brands. So the idea of building a personal brand is very smart for all of us who are small business owners. We are the heart and soul of our businesses, so branding it around ourselves will only give us that edge to shine above the crowd. Remember, you have a unique magic that will make you stand out and build a foundation of trust between you and your clients, customers and followers.
Being you, works! So keep on being your most authentic self, don’t be afraid of showing who you truly are, because at the end of the day, people will connect to that.
Do you have a personal brand? Share it below!