Personal branding is a puzzle only a few have solved.
Icons like Jay-Z, JLo Oprah Winfrey and the Kardashians have created global brands that span across industries. From books to shows to endorsement deals, these personalities have created multi-billion dollar empires.
There are examples outside the entertainment world, too. People such as Melinda Gates, Malala, J.K. Rowling and Martha Stewart that we can identify instantly.
So what are some of the more common components of a solid personal brand?
Today, a successful brand has multiple must-haves:
- Being an expert in your industry
- Books and publications
- Working with media
- Corporate clients and sponsorships
- And more recently, developing a solid digital media platform.
Where Personal Branding Starts
As a young professional, social media is the first area of focus. Kim Kardashian has been an expert in this area. She harnesses social media and uses it to create relationships with her fans, communicate with media and secure corporate sponsorships. She also leverages digital to self-publish and promote her products.
Simply creating accounts on social media sites and pushing out your content is not going to help grow your brand, though. To succeed, you must have a concrete plan that encompasses proven tools and channels simultaneously. And you must deliver a consistent message.
Consistency is Key
With brands, people expect consistency. Imagine walking into Zara and seeing sleek, European style pieces replaced with tacky, ill-fitting clothes. You would walk right out because that’s not what you went there for. It is not what you have come to associate with the name Zara.
A brand promises a certain level of quality and consistency. It tells a story. The same thing is true of your personal brand.
Brand consistency is divided into two parts: Tangibles and Intangibles. Tangibles relate to the things you can see and touch. This is also what people tend to focus on most: your logo, website, graphics, color scheme, etc. The intangibles are just as important. After all, your brand personality and brand story guide the creation of the tangible items. They set the tone for the look and feel of your brand.
Basic Branding Checklist
Want to know how far you’ve come with personal branding? Use this checklist to see if you’re on the right track:
- Are your profile images the same across platforms?
- Do your profiles maintain the same visual identity and tone?
- Have you kept your profile names and handles consistent? Can I find you by your real name?
- Are you connecting with and engaging your target audience?
- Do you have a website? Does it prominently display your contact information?
- Are you capturing your website visitors’ information so you can directly market to them?
- Are you telling your story and communicating your value?
- Have you been featured in the media? Does that press position you as an expert in your field?
- Do you have a brand style guide and templates that inform the look of your brand?
- Have you mastered the art of blending personal and professional on social media?
Now, armed with this list, you have everything you need to master personal branding. So go sell you brand to the world!
For this post, YouTern thanks Emmelie De La Cruz!
Emmelie De La Cruz is a personal branding strategist who empowers millennials to stop being anonymous in their industry. Through her book, Make Yourself Marketable, and blog she provides millennials with the tools to use social media strategically. She also works with them to develop a digital identity that will help them succeed professionally. When she’s not working, she’s snapping for the ‘gram. Meet Emmelie on Twitter or Instagram (@EmmelieDeLaCruz) or learn more at emmeliedelacruz.com