As an online entrepreneur, creating a personal brand is something you have to do if you want people to know who you are and what your business is all about.
But exactly what is personal branding? What all needs to be included? And can you do it yourself or should you hire a branding specialist?
If you aren’t sure where to begin with creating your personal brand, I’ve got you covered!
My guest on today’s episode is Bernel Westbrook. Bernel is a Charlotte-based designer whose firm specializes in branding and web design.
IE 175: What Is Personal Branding with Bernel Westbrook
A lot of us may be familiar with branding, simply because we visit various websites or shop for specific brands when we go to the grocery store.
But how does personal branding differ from branding a website or a company brand?
Bernel defines a personal brand as “the experience someone has every time they connect with you.”
Building a personal brand isn’t as easy as just deciding how you want to represent yourself to your audience. There are several steps involved in building your personal brand, which Bernel breaks down into 4 pillars.
Pillar #1 – Your Voice
Your brand voice is unique to you. It encompasses your story and is the way your audience connects with you.
Bernel encourages her clients to actually record themselves talking about their business, their story, and the specific problems they solve for their clients.
Listen back to the recording, clean it up as you write it down, and then you have a great representation of your brand voice.
Pillar #2 – Your Vision
Your vision for your personal brand is your mindset, the goals you want to reach, and the ultimate vision you have for your business.
In this phase, you’ll want to ask yourself some questions like:
- Who is your target client (or avatar)?
- What is their greatest need?
- What is the main thought you want to leave people with?
- How do you plan to convey that thought to the world?
Pillar #3 – Your Visuals
This is probably what most people think of when they think of branding. It includes things like your logo, color scheme, typography, and branded photography.
The visuals are what gets most of us excited because our ideas come together in something that people can actually see with their eyes.
Pillar #4 – Your Values
The last pillar is one that you absolutely can’t skip. The core values of your business are what you care about and what values your business will represent.
“People won’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
Your values are important, and you want them to come across in everything you do so that your people will find you.
How to Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out
In Bernel’s business, she works with many different industries.
One thing that is the same across all industries is the need to stand out. But in a saturated marketplace like the internet, is it still possible to stand out?
Bernel says, “Absolutely.”
For example, with her photography clients, she has them tell her how they want their clients to feel after a photography session. Then, she has them work backward from there.
So, if a wedding photographer wants her clients to feel comfortable, she should use language on her website that expresses that desire to ease the experience for the client and the specific steps she will take to ensure that each client is comfortable during their time together.
Perhaps one of your core values is trustworthiness.
You would want to do everything possible to earn your client’s trust by maintaining integrity in every interaction with them. You would follow through with every promise you make and you would deliver the best end result possible for them.
Why Your Personal Brand Is Important
We’ve defined what a personal brand is, the steps to take to create your personal brand, and how to use language to get your values across to your ideal avatar.
But we haven’t talked about why a personal brand is so important for your business.
Bernel says, “Your personal brand is what humanizes you.”
Humans connect with other humans. Think about it, when you think that the mom down the street always has a perfectly clean house, you can’t identify with her. You feel uncomfortable around her.
But as soon as you find out that she has dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, or closets that need to be sorted, you can all of a sudden identify with her on a personal level.
You want your reader or client to connect with you in this same way. You want your audience to relate to you in a personal way so that she can begin to know you and like you. From there, her trust in you grows.
How to Tie Your Photos to Your Brand
Because you want your personal brand to help you stand out, the photos you use play a big part in how your audience will respond to you.
It’s important to include some of the more personal elements in your photos so that your client or customer feels like they know the real you.
It’s also important to have a cohesiveness to your visuals, so there should be branded colors in your photos.
When you have a photoshoot, wear your branded colors, bring props that show off your hobbies or something you love, and choose a photographer that can get into who you are and can grab that with their camera.
In addition, if you have products with your logo on them, like a t-shirt or a mug, be sure to add them into your branded photos. This gives your audience another way to remember your logo and who you are.
Let Your Personality Come Through Your Photos
Don’t just go for the professional headshot.
Try some photos with you being more active, even if it’s just you laughing. Let your audience see the real you. They will relate to you more easily once they see you doing something you enjoy.
The great thing about these types of photos is they let your audience know what it would be like to work with you or what they can expect when they purchase something from you.
If you’re the silly type, take some photos of you being silly. If you’re the studious type, be sure to get some photos of you showing that side of your personality.
This allows you to build genuine connections with people.
Your Guide to Personal Branding
If you need to update your personal brand, or you’re starting from scratch and need to build it from the ground up, Bernel created a guide just for you.
You can get a free copy of her Branding Fundamentals: A Guide to Building a Profitable Brand if you visit her website.
In this guide, you can work through the 4 pillars that Bernel talked about in this episode, along with a checklist for branding, and some tips for your next launch.