In my previous post, I discussed the importance of your personal brand.
Today, I’ll show you how to build one.
Personal Branding Basics
Your personal brand is a living entity. It should change and grow with you.
You always define your brand; your brand should never define you. You should never feel restricted or confined by the brand you’ve built.
Let your personality shine.
We aren’t creating a new persona here, simply bringing out the best of who you already are and who you aspire to be each day.
1. Identify Your Core Values
What are the qualities and characteristics you most value, both within yourself and others?
A good way to figure this out is to think of what most irks you about other people. What qualities do you strongly dislike in others?
For example, some people hate dishonesty.
Once you’ve identified what you dislike, invert it. If you hate dishonesty, you probably value its opposite – honesty!
Another exercise for tapping into your core values is to imagine that you have the power to reshape the world in an instant. What would you change and why?
If you would destroy racial tension and prejudice, you obviously value racial equality. If you would tear down every city and plant trees everywhere, you seem to value nature, harmony, and oneness with the natural world.
I encourage you to write down at least three core values as a result of these exercises, but you can write down as many as you’d like. After all, this is your brand.
As an example, here are my core values:
Pick any words you like and remember that these aren’t carved into stone. Don’t get hung up trying to find the perfect words; you can always improve them later.
2. Write Your Action Title
Now that you know what you value, it’s time to bring it to the world.
An action headline is similar to a ‘mission’ or ‘vision’ statement (only better!). It puts your values into specific action.
Unlike a company mission statement, however, your action title should never exceed the length of a single sentence.
Brevity is usually helpful, as it forces you to choose clear and concise language. (Plus, when was the last time you enjoyed reading a company’s long-winded ‘mission statement’?)
Here’s an example from the Facebook page of Sabah Ali. (This is her page’s cover image.)
“Creating Unforgettable Brands”
Or, consider the about text from Mark Angel’s page with more than 9 million followers:
“I share Funny videos to make people happy. “
Think in terms of action. Don’t be afraid to make yourself sound a bit heroic and daring here either.
Amy Porterfield does a fantastic job of fitting a lot of detail into her action title:
“I teach business owners, educators, and entrepreneurs the profitable action steps for building a highly engaged email list, creating online training courses, and using online marketing strategies to sell with ease.”
When crafting your own action title, use strong verbs and be specific while maintaining a clear focus.
3. Find Your Look & Feel
It is important that people recognize you as quickly as possible. This is achieved by continuity across all platforms and mediums.
For example, you probably want a social media presence on multiple platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
At a glance, your audience must be able to recognize you from your distinct ‘look and feel,’ which consists of four primary elements:
We’ll discuss each of these in further detail.
The Hulk is green and purple, Superman is Blue and Red, and Batman? Black and yellow. Obvees.
Comic book heroes are insanely well-branded and easily recognizable wherever they appear.
Now, I’m not recommending you reduce yourself to a fictional character, but you do need to become easily recognizable and colors are one of the simplest way to do that.
I recommend selecting two primary colors and a third accent color for pop.
Football teams use this tactic effectively in the same way as superheroes. Nearly every team has two primary, contrasting colors, and a third accent color.
(Look closely. Some accent colors can be hard to spot!)
You can choose any colors you like.
This is your brand, man. Don’t hold back and don’t try to please anyone other than yourself.
Your face is the logo of your personal brand. Take time to have a little photoshoot and get some great, professional shots for your online profiles.
You don’t have to hire an expensive photographer (although you can), just bribe your spouse, friend, or some other unsuspecting family member into taking shots with the best smartphone you can find.
Tip: Newer iPhone cameras have ‘Portrait Mode,’ which focuses on the subject of the photo and blurs the surrounding background. It gives a nice, professional look to your photos.
Remember to let your authentic personality shine. I love wearing suits, so I dressed accordingly (with one of my favorite ties too!).
If you’re a cowgirl, wear boots and jeans. If you’re a rocket scientist, bring on the lab coat and gloves. There’s no absolute right or wrong when it comes to attire for your headshot.
Be sure not to include anyone else though. We should see you and you alone in your official headshot.
Obviously, you can take photos with other people and use them on your website (like I do) or wherever else you want, but your headshot needs to be all about you.
This is because you want people to recognize you instantly, and when there are multiple people in a photo, it becomes less obvious who the focus is.
Use your headshot as a profile image on social media, as an avatar on forums, or as a bio pic to go with your writing.
Finally, be sure to crop the image so your face is prominent.
The use and significance of signatures has changed a lot over the years.
Today, signatures are perhaps less important than they were last century, but they can certainly bring a sense of continuity to your online presence.
A word of caution: Don’t use your actual, handwritten signature online. Instead, develop a unique and appealing digital signature.
Don’t worry. It isn’t difficult. I used this website to generate a realistic, life-like signature.
Where do you use your signature?
The more places you employ your digital signature, the better. You want this to become a sort of seal. It might seem odd, but psychologically your signature will become a stamp of approval wherever it is placed. People will learn to trust it, and trust is crucial online.
Finally, consider developing a unique tagline.
This short phrase can be used as a hashtag on social media, a byline for your website, or a kind of salutation when closing a piece of writing.
Think of it as a personal slogan or motto.
Just do it – Nike
Make America Great Again – Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign Slogan
I’m lovin’ it – McDonald’s
The Best or Northing – Mercedes Benz
There’s a good reason companies and political campaigns use these short phrases over and over; they quickly become entrenched in our minds.
For better or worse, attention is key online. The longer you can hold a person’s attention, the more value you can provide them – the bigger your brand becomes, the greater your impact, influence, and personal success.
A familiar tagline draws our attention. It also builds rapport over time, so once you develop your tagline, use it consistently for maximum benefit.
To learn more about creating and using hashtags, look for my upcoming post dedicated to the topic.
Bringing It All Together
Combine everything we’ve discussed and your personal brand will emerge.
No single element can capture the totality of your brand. Your core values, action title, and look and feel, all work together to showcase your personality and mission.
So, are you ready to build a powerful personal brand?
It’s time to get started.
Cody Ray Miller
Live Your Way