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Personal Branding 101

July 16, 2019 - Stephan Salt

Personal branding is all about telling your story.

To really guide and develop the message in a compelling way, try and stay true to who you while keeping a sense of professionalism at the same time. The next few steps will show you how to create fantastic personal branding.

Branding shows in a single format who they are and what they do. What is more amazing is when someone asks you to create their brand for them which include the logo identity its corresponding stationery and potentially, brand guidelines.

However, when it comes to doing your own, it’s the hardest thing to do as you’re the client. What’s even more frustrating is that you’re the person making all the amends and altering the design of the logo and other designs.

After I’ve given you a heads up in a way of working for your own logo then I will show you what I did and have stuck by it for all these years.

What is a personal brand?

Personal Branding

First things first, let’s start by explaining what is personal brands anyway.

Personal branding is slightly different to a company’s identity, but instead of branding for a company, think of you. This includes your opinions, thoughts. It’s also a way to greatly promote businesses and/or other interests that wouldn’t fit within a company’s identity. What’s more, in the age of influencers, it’s surely becoming a popular way to promote you as an individual and the entrepreneur in your  – like Lord Alan Sugar.

Throughout the past 12 years, I have learned a lot, however, I am still very much learning every day when it comes to branding. But what I have learned is that self-branding is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

For me, it took several years of study. I’ve decided to make it easier with these 3 key points on how to build that perfect brand personal to yourself:

Make it memorable

Make it memorable Personal Branding

What I mean by this, is to try and design something that when you present yourself to a potential employer that will make that an everlasting impression. This will make you front and centre of their mind whenever they need a position filling. This highlights your drive and leaves a mark.

Make it simple

Keep it simple Personal Branding

If you don’t, then it will make it harder for you to sell yourself. Make it easy and stick to it so you can tell a full story without you actually telling the story yourself.  Again, what I mean by this, is be clever about it and make it obvious enough that someone will get it without having to ask you questions or you having to tell a very lengthy novel. If that happens then you know it’s not going to work.

Make it about you – literally and laterally

Make it about you Personal Branding

I’m serious about this, you should make it about you. This is very important. Make it about you and your future endeavours. Remember not just the promotion but the targets and goals. Prospective clients will remember your personality above all else. Also when doing this, including the other two steps and think about it literally and laterally.

Literally think of yourself as who you are, so, for example, Stephan Salt – Graphic Designer. I’m a passionate creative who seeks out answers and asks the right questions such as ‘Why’. That’s a little about me literally and I’m a designer that wants to be part of your business and by adding me it would make it better for the company.

From there it got a lot easier. You can expand laterally. My surname is Salt, and near enough everything tastes better with a pinch of salt right? Well for me it does. Therefore I can up with a tagline that still to this day I use.

“For Better Taste Just Add Salt”

From there I wanted to be a little creative and make a lasting impression. I wanted to make it so. With that, I spent weeks and weeks of my time creating (printing, sticking and adding salt) to nearly 3000 salt sachets with “Just Add Salt” on the front and my contact details on the back. To make it even better, I created a typeface made from chips (as the first thing you mainly do is add salt to make chips taste better), making this into a poster and printed on Chip Shop paper and used biodegradable chip shop trays added lots of my business card sachets, along with a bounded portfolio book, a CD ROM (yes a CD) with my work on there all wrapped in the poster. This poster at the bottom has my details on there and the tagline, “For Better Taste Just Add Salt”.

These were sent to a number of agencies that I really wanted to get some experience at and most of them took me in.

There was another Salt in the class. I remember being after them in the critique about our branding, in which they said whilst looking at mine “I’m not making Salt Sachets”. BIG MISTAKE, got me the First for that project – anyway enough about what happened to me.

Connections

Branding Connections

When you build your brand try and determine your strengths and what you feel that when you build your brand try and determine your strengths and what you feel that brand stands for. Another thing I did was start making a list of what to I was great that and what I was passionate about.

In this digital age, the importance of believing in your personal brand has never been more noticeable. So there’s nothing more important to make yourself stand out than by being original and expressing what makes you truly unique. Once you have developed your core strength you can then, strategically, build your brand around these consistently.

Unfortunately, branding doesn’t just stop with the identity of the connection you have to make and the connection are essentially getting your brand where you want it to be. Another way that a brand associates you with being a  value-added person. Gaining more recognition and expanding your follower count. This means you get more connections and potential work. Branding doesn’t just stop at an identity, it’s also the connections you will need to make.

Sometimes the biggest and only mistake that people make when branding themselves is when they do not invest enough time and learning about them as a person. The best way to measuring this success is by understanding yourself, your passions, and your goals. Finding the passion is again, hard, and unfortunately, you’ll time and some luck in your favour. Researching online to figure out your strengths can help massively help. Plus if you’re researching you can already find out what other people have been doing and if someone has already done the same thing. This is where a brand discovery document comes in handy.

In fact, it’s easy to do, discovering, documenting and figure out what you’re wanting to do, in many years to come. From setting goals to writing them down as mission statements you can make your vision into more of a reality.

Ever been called humorous? Were these persons your friends/family or co-workers? Then this description could be a vital part of your brand, especially if you think that these attributes are who you actually are. To truly understand if you’ve discovered the perfect brand for yourself, you could do a little more digging and make a simple equation to see if it’s totally a right fit:

Your own self-impression = How do others perceive you

Branding Toolkit

Personal branding toolbox

If you now know what it is you want to do, or in your mind that is, then this is the perfect time to apply all that you have learned onto paper. The scope of marketing materials that you can develop is potentially endless, however, at first, there is a thing called a Personal Toolkit. This kit could consist of any of the following elements:

  1. Business card: To be honest with you, it doesn’t really matter if you are a University Student it a CEO or even a consultant, having a business card will allow to showcase you very quickly. This card or leaflet (however you want to present this) whether this contains your brand identity and your contact details.
  2. CV/cover letter: This is normally a document (printed or pdf/word) in which you will need to apply for your next career venture, but it does all depend if you need one. Take your CV online,  this will then promote your personal brand to the world and making it shareable.
  3. Portfolio: It could be a CD which is best to showcase your portfolio (I know who uses CDs?), web or a printed portfolio, it’s a great way to showcase the work you’ve done in the past, which can make someone understand more of what your abilities are and how far you can stretch them in employment.
  4. LinkedIn profile: A LinkedIn profile, with the combination of your CV and cover letter, is a great way to advertise yourself as there are millions, or even billions of people of potential business prospects on there, giving you access to what you need for building new contacts. You are also able to apply for new jobs.
  5. Email address: This is quite important. Overlooking your email address be damaging. Most people (especially in the industry I’m in) use email rather than social media.

So what is next for you?

What's next Personal Branding

After that initial spend on those elements above, it will be time to then start showcasing your talents to the work. Get yourself out there. Make a name for yourself – be heard and do not be fooled by, “If I have worked hard to build it, they’ll come.” Communicating everything you have created to others is better than having it handed to you on a silver platter, gives you more confidence which gives you more opportunity. This is a scary task, but if you do it once, you will learn and be more confident as a person and simply better yourself.

However, if you think you need any help or guidance then Fifteen are here. At Fifteen we love to do and take the stress away. We know what’s been done before and we work creatively to create a successful brand. We wouldn’t just create a logo, a logo is the starting point of branding, we could create great stationery, such as business cards, letterheads, brochures and even compliment slips. Then depending on if you need it, a website site and some branding guidelines. To be honest there really isn’t a lot that Fifteen cannot do.

So if you want to talk to us about any opportunities you would like us to do then either call us on 0115 932 5151 or drop us an email.

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