by Kenal 

November 18, 2021

Building a personal brand

The ins and outs of a personal branding guide. Creating a branding book for a client or project case study.

Personal Branding Guide

What comes to mind when the word branding is mentioned could easily be confused with persona, and this is very different.

While persona tends to capture the public image of what the person tends to give off outside personal space, one's brand is much centered on the core values – what the person stands for.

Take an auditor, for example, an auditor's core values centers around integrity and objectivity and these traits are given off when one is in contact with an auditor, it's non-negotiable as it is the very bane on the profession's ethics! In designing, shapes, lines, colors and their proximity, alignment, balance, repetition are core to a design.  

Now, branding in itself is an elaborate form of design where one builds on the core values to create a long-lasting impression on people rather than creating an entirely different "persona" from scratch.

Branding Books

To give a summary, branding is the process of researching, developing, and applying a well-thought-out strategy with characteristics that an organization should follow and wants the people to recognize it.

Envisaging how one wants to be seen and talked about is the first step in personal brand creation. For an individual, it could be coming across witty at all times, sticking to rules ahead of principles or some others.

As the popular saying goes "learning never ends," we tend to discover more about ourselves daily, our passions, likes and dislikes. We take that unique trait that sets us apart and works with it.

And by working with it, it is imperative that we know we have to make these unique traits accessible at our forefront- your first interaction with an audience.

The Brand Development and Creation

This then takes us to the next step in personal brand creation, and it is basically on improving the core values already observed. This makes one to keenly observe personal action and discern receptiveness to various happenings. 

At this point, the needed trait would start coming to the forefront for easier identification, exploration, improvement and polishing. To understand this, we have to look at the core values as ideals that require to be kept flawless. We have to put this in mind: in branding, people don't follow the saying "don't judge a book by its cover,".

Humans are affected by what they see, then what they hear, so they judge one's book by its cover, which means one's cover has to look good and as well reflect what's written in every page of your brand- what they will say about one's brand.

Market Research of Your Brand's Competitors 

The step after this is the identification and definition of one's target audience. Get a basic idea of what one's audience ought to be. Is it an age range, one of the sexes, belief, culture, a particular topographical displacement? 

In doing this, the message would be refined for its intended target, and this would make your target delivery to be more concise.

Defining the Target Audience

While the target audience is being identified, it would do well also to identify the competition involved in this. Strengths and weaknesses differ across individuals as we are all unique in our different ways, but it's always a plus to identify the competitions core strength and make sure we don't lack on that front.

It's even imperative that we match our competitors' style and also improve on what they've got to offer to place us at a better stand – all these while we steadily improve in our own core values.

Knowing and Respecting Your Competitors

Asides our competitors, it's wise to follow and study brands in our market that are doing very similar things to ours, especially when we are just starting out. A make-up brand should study a host of other make-up brands that are successful.

Questions like how they got there? How long have they been? How do their audience and customers to their every product? and so on  A quick survey on these would only just make one's brand better and accrue an active audience

Branding Outline

Branding Outline

Creating a Voice in Branding

The next step is the creation of a tone and maintaining it. Everyone one has a tone not to leave out a huge brand. We all have friends that only their voice is enough to recognize them.

We can recognize their handwriting and even the words that they use often. All these apply in a brand as well. It could be a word, phrase, color, anything. Just take one, create and maintain. Take the popular movie – OO7 James Bond franchise, for example, "My name is James, James Bond" that is a sentence that would forever be linked with the movie franchise. 

Doing this would make the target audience/customers to get more familiar with a brand, and even when different is said along that line, the brand pops up in their head unconsciously. The main thing here is that whatever is created duly represents the brand and tone you would want to give off to prospective targets.

Getting the right time might not be easy, but the responses from your audience when different ones are used would help decide the tone to run with. Note that each brand has its own parlance and terms. A law firm cannot use "Hi, what's up" because it's informal, but a betting brand or confectionery brand can.

Creating a branding book

Creating a branding book

The Brand's Identity

Now, once the tone has been created, it would do well to choose a font as well as a colored palette for the brand. Consistency is key - like newspapers have masthead and some other brands stick to a particular font, this has to be incorporated into the process of personal brand creation.

Picking out a color to go along would also do a lot of good. Facebook has blue, McDonalds has red, Chelsea football club has blue. Their contents are always given out in their chosen preferred color, and this would just make the audience connect automatically with them. 

Colors have a message, and they should be picked based on the message or quality they exude. For example, blue is cool, while red is fierce and bold. These messages they pass should be considered in picking them. People have color choices, so why not make that choice to align with the brand that shares similar color admiration with them.

Content Strategy For The Brand

On deciding the above, the next viable step is to set up an online platform and develop a content strategy. The goal is to always churn out good content out there every time. 

It's easiest showcasing one's skill or talent online. The use of social media is at an all-time high, and it easily connects one to an audience beyond a preset scope. But since there are no barriers in business, content creation on social media ought to be of high and pristine quality. Websites stand for another major online showcase and connection platform. The website has to incorporate all steps above in its presentation to social media is fantastic but knowing the use of every platform is key. 

Instagram, for example, is all about pictures and apt captions and being too wordy on Instagram, unless it's a Media House, is not the way to go. LinkedIn is official, so any part of our work that won't fit into there shouldn't be there. Note that these platforms are brands themselves that we have to understand the audience.

Once we understand these, remember been have to focus on our unique traits which by stretching it means focusing on what the brand does best and showcasing just those. In these, different social media platforms have various resources and tools that will help showcase the unique traits and best fields of a brand.

Common Knowledge Here: Consistency Is Key

Now that you have a content strategy that is of quality and online platforms (Social media and your website), we move to the next step, which is consistency with your content.

As a good brand with an audience that loves your content, you don't want to make them suffer or beg for your content by being inconsistent. If you do, they might end up seeking satisfaction from another brand and you will lose.

Take a blogger for example that dishes our content every Friday of the week and suddenly gives a month a hiatus, there is a big chance his audience would seek other bloggers.

The Thing With Colors and Slogans

Other things to be consistent with are your trademarks, logos and slogans. If you live in Europe when you hear "never walk alone," Liverpool comes to mind and you can even imagine it being written in white or red as these are their colors.

Once you see "never walk alone written in pink or blue or any other color you know there is something off. These might seem inconsequential but they are very key to your brand. So stick with the slogans, trademarks, slogans and colors.

Personal Branding Guide

Personal Branding
Personal Branding Guide

Physical Deliverables

The next step in creating a personal brand is the creation of physical deliverable. This is a very important step in the whole branding process. While online platforms have the widest reach, physical identity and presence makes a stronger statement. 

It'd be easy for a Beyonce fan not in the United States of America to purchase her album or listen to her song from music platforms say Spotify than hear her sing in person but seeing her in person sing or getting her autograph would have a lasting effect on the fan.

The Physical Aspect and Benefits In Branding With Deliverables  

Physical deliverable can range from the basics - business card, invoices to advanced - calendars, compliment slips, portfolio. Handing over portfolio of one's work to employers, customer or clients and seeing them flipping through can be exciting. It surely would create a good lasting impression on the target audience in that instance.

Professional Branding

Marketing Efforts

Lastly, the final step is making one's name known through outreach. While social media is to direct traffic to the website, there are a few people who are social media savvy and are definitely a target audience.

The step to becoming a household name would require the further step of making an outreach. Be it making short chats with people who you think would make a valuable connection, handing business cards to people deemed as potential clients.

Joining an association that would further enhance the brand outreach, all these can be done. The aim is being known by heart... Once you've accomplished that your branding effort could be defined as effective.

This is basically advertisement which should be taken seriously, to remain known by heart. Unique traits deliverables have to be known by heart too, and this is done by infusing them ads and copy contents.

A good consistent method should be followed in this time, and in no time, a broad audience would follow the brand. Once there is a good follow, it should be maintained with a nice, customer-friendly gesture

Personal branding process is not a short process. It takes a considerable amount of time, a lot of resources and a lot of energy. 

There has been a considerable amount of success, and it is very rewarding. What should always be remembered is to always stay true to one's self. You can only be you because there's only one you hence having every trace of authenticity in the brand.

Inspiration from mentors can also help to direct one to the goal. At the end of the day, one has to pick a brand that alludes with one's personality.

Sharing Is Truly Caring Online... I Didn't Make This Up

I know this is totally unoriginal, but sharing is caring and that's the truth especially online. If you found this post insightful or helpful in any way at all. Please consider sharing the page on PinterestThank you in advance!!

Personal Branding Guide: Creating a Branding Book
Personal Brand
Personal Brands

Kenal Louis

I am always pushing the boundaries of my own imagination whenever I create an artwork. Whether it is a digital painting, traditional painting, or pen and ink drawing, I challenge myself with each creation. Follow me on Instagram @kenallouis to view stories and my most recent works in process and the ones I don't share on the website.

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