How to Create a Personal Brand
If you follow any major “influencer” on social media, you’ll quickly find that it’s no wonder they have been given that label. Often, they have thousands of followers, have been featured guests on notable podcasts, and have contributed to bestsellers; they truly have positioned themselves to influence the way we view the world around us.
I often wonder how they do it. How do these people, who would describe themselves as regular men and women, create a name for themselves that is established, valued, and trusted? And how can those of us aspiring to reach some sort of “influencer” status learn from them to create an identity and personal brand that others look to?
Whether you aspire to become an influencer on a national or worldwide level, or just hope to establish your identity among your friends, coworkers, and family, here are three ways you can establish your own personal brand:
1. Own Your Story
You are an interesting, unique, experienced daughter of the King with dirt on your hands and scrapes on your knees. Whether you are twelve or sixty-two, you have seen some stuff; you have experienced the world through a lens that no one else can look through, and you can use it to bring hope and encouragement to others who are experiencing what’s in your rearview mirror.
Think about the meaning and heart behind what you want your personal brand to be. It may take some serious journaling, researching, and overall soul-searching, but it will be worth it in the end if you put in the time now to determine who you are and what you’re passionate about. You must go one step further than asking yourself what you want to do and ask yourself why that’s what you want to do – why that is the way you want to present yourself to the world.
2. Consider the Five Senses ... and Then Some
Once you know the what and why behind your personal brand, it’s time to think about how to present that to others through the content you create, whether it’s a blog, videos, social media posts, or even just the way you speak and act. The five senses are the best way to start. How do you want to sound and look like? How do you want your audience to feel when they interact with you? If applicable, even think about the taste and smell of your brand – whether literally or just the taste you want to leave on the metaphorical tongues of those around you. Think about the way you normally speak, dress, and decorate, and use all of those components of your character to create your brand.
And after you spend all that time looking inward, look outward. Consider the influencers, companies, and profiles that inspire you and are presenting themselves in a way that is similar to your own personality and the brand you want to create for yourself. You always must stay true to yourself – don’t try to copy someone else just because they are successful – but you can learn from others to develop your own personal brand. Be brave and reach out to those influencers, and ask them questions to continue your learning. In my experience, most people are more than happy to help.
3. Don’t Isolate Yourself
It’s really tempting to try to create a personal brand all on your own; it is personal, after all. But as backward as it sounds, the more you can collaborate with others, the more likely you are to have a brand that is truly indicative of who you are as a person. Think about the people around you who can come alongside you as you develop your personal brand. Do you have friends who work in marketing, social media strategy, graphic design, or videography who can teach you and have eyes on the brand you are creating for yourself? Lean in to their expertise, because they’re likely very in-tune with what is popular and the most used mediums to present content.
You can also ask your friends, family, and co-workers what your gifts, talents, passions, and skills are. They may have insights that you’ve never thought of that can influence your personal brand for the better. If you’re brave enough (and believe me, it’s not easy), ask them what your weaknesses are, too. This will not only give you an amazing opportunity for personal growth, but will humanize you to those around you and is a great way to invite them into personal growth, as well.
What it all boils down to is this: be yourself. Whether you are on social media, in a classroom, behind a camera, holding a paintbrush, typing at a computer, or doing anything else, remember that you were created in the image of God and He declares you very good. (Genesis 1:26-31) You don’t have to step outside of who you were created to be in order to gain followers or make a meaningful difference in the world. Start where you are, with what you have, as yourself, and you will be surprised by the number of people who will say that you influence them for the better.