By David Tomas, on 10 August 2021
In the past, branding was something that was exclusively associated with businesses. The term would conjure up images of McDonald’s, Apple, or Coca-Cola. These days, with the right branding and marketing strategy, anyone can be a successful brand.
A personal brand tells the story of who you are and what you stand for. It’s about positioning yourself as an expert in your field and promoting your persona. The right personal branding strategy can help you establish a solid online reputation that showcases your unique traits and resonates with followers all around the world.
There are, however, a few things to consider before you launch your personal brand. To help you get off to a good start, we will explain what personal branding is, and what you need to keep in mind to build a successful online presence. We will also look at a couple of personal branding examples that illustrate just how powerful a well-crafted personal brand can be.
What Is Personal Branding?
Much like corporate branding, personal branding is the practice of creating a recognizable, consistent identity that positions you as an expert in your field. A well-developed personal branding strategy can help you build a solid and credible reputation, grow your social following, and potentially access new opportunities like business deals or marketing partnerships. It’s all about presenting and promoting an identity that distinguishes you from the crowd and makes you unique.
A personal brand is built on a number of elements. It is influenced by the way you communicate and interact with your followers, the aesthetic of your branding, the value you offer, your style, personality and level of authenticity, and the way you conduct business. Basically, everything you say or do transmits a message about the identity of your brand. So who you are and how you bring value?
What to Consider When Creating a Personal Brand
There are a number of things to consider when you create your personal branding strategy. First and foremost, you need to design a clear personal branding statement that clearly defines who your audience is, what value you can offer them, and why they should follow you (your Unique Selling Point). This will help you clarify your brand voice so that you can launch a consistent, targeted personal branding campaign.
There are a few other important points to consider when you create your brand. The following tips will help you create an engaging, inviting personal brand that resonates with your audience and grows your following.
This is probably the best tip you will ever get in terms of personal branding: authenticity is paramount. If your audience gets the slightest hint that you are being disingenuous, they will run a mile. And if they feel you are just copying someone else’s brand, you will lose all credibility. Be confident in what you have to offer and trust your instincts.
However you position your brand, you have to make sure it is genuine. This means being yourself, warts and all. We all have our quirks, and this is what makes us so wonderfully unique. Be proud of whatever makes you original!
Provide Value & Make a Positive Impact
Be clear about what value you are offering, and make sure all your posts and interactions reflect this value. Why should people follow you and not someone else on social media? Effectively communicating what you have to offer can help differentiate you from the competition and build trust among your followers.
You should also focus on trying to make a positive impact with every interaction. Keep a positive attitude, be sociable, and help people out when you can. Most importantly, be ready to fail. It’s all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and it can take time before you figure out your personal branding voice and style.
Humanize Your Brand & Tell a Story
This brings us to another important tip: humanize your brand and tell a story.
The most effective branding strategies tend to be structured around a clear, authentic narrative. What does this mean? It means you should create a story around your brand that your audience can engage with.
This is where creative content comes in. Think about which formats you are going to use. The best personal branding strategies include a mix of written content, high quality photographs, and videos. Use your smartphone to document interesting people or places you encounter during your day; invite people into your life. Interact with your followers and keep track of any relevant hashtags. The more regularly you post and interact, the more likely you are to make a genuine personal connection that people can relate to.
Bottom line: be true to yourself and educate, don’t sell.
Examples of Personal Branding Done Well
Now we’ve seen what personal branding is and what you need to consider when you create your strategy, let’s take a look at a couple of personal branding examples to see just how powerful a branded identity can be when it is managed the right way.
Elon Musk: Personal Branding Over Corporate Branding
Elon Musk is a great example of how personal branding can often be more effective than traditional corporate branding. The personal brand he has created over the years has vastly contributed to the success of his businesses. In fact, Tesla has become one of the most frequently mentioned car brands on social media, despite the company investing relatively little money in marketing and advertising (compared to their competitors). It’s all down to Musk’s personal brand.
Unlike most CEOs who are reluctant to promote their personal image on social media, Elon Musk has embraced platforms like Instagram and Twitter, posting messages and interacting with fans on a regular basis. This personal approach has enabled his followers to engage with him and has cemented his identity as a powerful brand that people can relate to (to a degree, he’s still Elon Musk, after all).
Oprah Winfrey: Authentic & True to Herself
Finally, we have perhaps the most successful example of personal branding in history. In fact, many might argue that Oprah is the queen of personal branding. She has certainly set a high benchmark.
Oprah is considered to be one of the most influential women in the world. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ran from 1986 to 2011 and was the highest-rated television program of its kind. Since then, she has gone on to build her empire, with her own magazine, a world-famous book club, a charitable foundation, her own network, and a variety of multimedia businesses.
Perhaps her biggest achievement, though, has been creating a personal brand based on being true to herself and her viewers. She has relied on real, inspiring stories to captivate and engage with her audience, and she has never been afraid to show her vulnerabilities.
This is the key to a successful personal branding strategy: create a strong and authentic identity that provides value, inspires others, and resonates with your audience.