8 Of The Best Essentials You Need For Your Personal Brand
This is a guest post by Hollie Ellis.
Firstly, do you know what the difference is between personal and business branding? If you’re not too sure, let me explain…
A personal brand is when you are your brand. So it could be you’re a coach, a personal stylist, a blogger or a photographer (for example). Typically when you’re a personal brand, your name is your business name.
It can be much easier clarifying your brand personality for a personal brand as all you need to think about is your own personality and how you can reflect that in what you do.
As a personal brand, what makes you unique is you along with your products/services. People want to ‘know, like and trust’ a person before they agree to do business with them and as a personal brand this can be easy to achieve.
Business branding is where you are an actual business or limited company with a team of people such as Marks and Spencers, Cadbury’s or Nissan. More often than not, business branding is faceless, so everything will be branded as the business with no familiar person to associate with the brand, unless they have a celebrity endorsement.
With business branding you can still show the people behind the business of the business, but in terms of branding the business it would be crazy to have the personality of each and every person within the team… it would be so confusing to customers with loads of mixed messages too. Can you imagine?!
Personal Brand Essentials
As a personal brand, there are some essentials you need to have in place in order to move forward with your business. Once they’re in place, you’ll have more clarity around the direction you want to go in with your brand and business and you’ll also have everything to hand whenever you need it too.
So what Personal Brand Essentials do you need?
#1 | A professional logo design
Having a professional logo design can be really beneficial to you and your brand. It gives your audience something to associate with you in a positive way and it gives your brand and business an identity too.
I see a lot of people haven’t been able to invest in getting a professional logo design because they’ve either cobbled one together themselves or their budget has gone, and they end up using one of these websites that provide a much less costly solution.
If this sounds familiar, I’d highly recommend you budget some costs into your business for a professionally designed logo. Working with a trained and qualified graphic designer means you get a more bespoke logo design, specific to your brand and business. They will be able to consider your brand values, target audience, personality and voice and incorporate all of this and more within your logo design. A bespoke and distinctive logo design is so much better than a stock logo, which has been used a million times for lots of other businesses before you and probably after you too.
#2 | Branded materials
This is more about printed materials such as business cards, media packs, sample packs, leaflets, posters etc. You want to make sure that your offline branded materials do the same as your professionally designed logo - reflect your brand values, personality and appeals to your target audience. You also want to make sure it portrays your core message clearly and concisely too. This leads me onto my next point…
#3 | Professional Photographs
And this is a big one, especially for personal brands and bloggers.
If your brand or blog has a lifestyle feel to it, having professional photographs at the ready is imperative. Yes, you can still use stock photos if you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer, however stock photos can give off the air of being just that - a stock photo. They also won’t represent your brand in a genuine and authentic way, whereas professional photos would. If you don’t have the budget for professional photography, could you arrange an exchange of services with a photographer instead?
#4 | Branded social media graphics
These are a great way of reinforcing your visual branding even more. The trick with any visual branding is to make sure everything is consistent - so make sure you stick to your bespoke brand colours, use a maximum of three fonts, all of which need to compliment one another and make sure everything is aligned the same way through out as well.
If you think about a really well known personal brands such as Jenna Kutcher, Marie Folio, Carrie Green - they all have their own individual branded graphics to associate them with. Colours, fonts, patterns, textures and layouts all create a recognisable association to their specific brands and that’s what you need for a personal brand. Even ensuring your brand colours are within your photographic can have an impact along with colours you wear too.
#5 | Branded blog graphics
This is very similar to branded social media graphics. Having branded blog graphics helps give your brand a more professional feel, rather than a home-made feel.
Again, you want to make sure everything is consistent in look and feel. This also applies to podcast graphics and even YouTube channel art, and motion graphics within YouTube videos too. The more consistent everything looks and feels, the better. Take Janet Murray from SoulfulPR as an example. Everything has been branded and as soon as you see any of her branded graphics you know its her brand within seconds.
#6 | Branded Freebies
Freebies are a great way of getting people onto your email list, but even your freebie needs to look and feel right too. If you know you want to target specific people with your freebie you need to make sure your freebie itself is in line with your visual branding, but you also need to consider the look and feel of your landing pages, sales pages and also your email nurture series once they’ve received your freebie too.
This is all about experiencing your brand from the very beginning and even though I’ve already mentioned making sure your branding reflects certain elements of your brand, your brand voice is equally as important in emails and newsletters.
#7 | A professional website
Your website plays a big part in your personal brand. It’s a bit like having a virtual shop front for your business… you need to ensure it’s got the right photography on there, the wording is enticing and makes people want to read more and most of all, it’s eye catching.
You have 3-5 seconds to grab a persons attention with anything, so making sure your website does this is really important. Step into your ideal customers shoes and think about what would appeal to them? What would resonate with them and make them explore your website further? How can you make it easy to direct them to where you want them be in order to take action?
#8 | And last but not least, a positive brand experience
I adore looking at brand experiences! Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room, so if you were in a room with your dream customers, what would you want them to say about you, after you’ve left the room? And how can you reflect this in everything you do?
As soon as a person comes into contact with your business, they are experiencing your brand. So it could be a Facebook or Instagram post, a YouTube video, a comment they’ve seen you’ve written. It could be they’ve heard you speak at an event, or they’ve briefly bumped into you at a networking meeting… That first impression can make a big impact on how you represent your brand and what you want people to learn from you within minutes and even seconds.
Having all these personal brand essentials in place can make a big difference to your business. You could even go through them and give yourself a mark out of 10 for each one. Looking at the lowest score, think about what you can do to make improvements to that element of your brand, create an action plan and start implementing some improvements.
If you have any questions at all about these personal brand essentials please do get in touch.
Hollie is a freelance graphic designer in Newcastle upon Tyne with clients all over the UK and further afield, ranging from sole traders to large corporations. She specialises in branding, logo deign and print design with 10 years experience within the design industry.