Building A Brand Series: What is Branding? -

Building A Brand Series: What is Branding?

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Part 1: What is Branding?

Building A Brand Series: What is Branding? -

Introduction to Branding

What even is branding? I want to clearly define what branding is but first, I want to emphasize that branding is way more than a logo, a color palette, and some fonts. Branding is professional, it’s super intentional, and it’s definitely a buzzword, but it’s even more than that. What if I told you that branding is the key to ongoing success in your business?

This resource is for any creative business owner that is DIY-ing their brand and wants to understand more behind the marketing strategy of building a brand that resonates. I want you to consider this a free resource to look back at when you need it. So for all the creative entrepreneurs building your creative empire and artistic career, we’re zooming in on personal branding, and how you can strengthen the brand you have. Grab your favorite snack and let’s chat about what it means to build a brand that’s all about YOU.

The Definition of Branding: What is Branding?

Ultimately, branding is a unique identity that defines the experience you want your potential clients and visitors to have when they interact with your business. 

Branding is both the impression you leave and the strategy behind how someone will remember you by.

Branding is the logo you use, the fonts you select, the colors and shapes you choose, the design and the graphics you utilize, the message you communicate, and the way they all cohesively work together to create an engaging, memorable and unique experience for your audience. It’s that feeling a business—or a person—sends out into the world.

Think of it as the personality of a business. When you think of Nike, what comes to mind? Probably their slogan, “Just Do It,” or the athletic gear and athleisure wear with the “swoosh” on it. That’s branding in action. It’s how a company is perceived and remembered.

So, What’s the Deal With Personal Branding?

If we shift our focus to personal branding (what a lot of creative business owners will be utilizing), we’re talking about how YOU present yourself to the world when YOU are the face of your brand. Take my business, Mew Photo Video for example. It’s a fictitious business name born from my initials + what I do for my clients. I am the face of my business and I show up in my marketing as myself as I am actively growing my own personal brand. Some creative business don’t want to be the face of their brand and that’s okay, but for the purpose of this article, personal branding is what we’ll be focusing on.

Whether you’re creating services, selling digital products, or just trying to put your professional identity and resume together for LinkedIn, your personal brand is what people think of when they hear your name or see your picture. It’s your reputation, your online presence, your style, and even your quirks. Essentially, it’s what makes you, YOU.

Personal branding is my absolute favorite because it’s a marketing strategy that encourages you to be yourself. 

That is so rad.

Key Points:

  • Branding Definition: Branding is what people think of when they think of you / your business / your artistry. Branding is a feeling, branding is sensory, branding is more than a font or a logo. Branding is the messaging and the essence of who you are and what you stand for.
  • Components of Branding: Visual identity (logo, colors, fonts, design, graphics), messaging (tagline, mission statement, vision statement, voice and tone), and emotional impact (brand stories, connection points)
  • Personal Branding: How you and your business share your story both visually and verbally so you can attract your ideal audience, customers, and fans.
  • Examples: Celebrities, entrepreneurs, and professionals who have distinct personal brands (e.g., Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Qveen Herby, Brené Brown, Elon Musk, Gary Vee, etc.).
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Why Should You Care About Personal Branding?

Why should you even bother with personal branding as a creative business owner? Isn’t it just for influencers and celebrities? Actually, no it isn’t just for influencers and celebrities, and it’s accessible to any creative entrepreneur who is the face of their brand. Here’s why personal branding is a game-changer:

  1. Stand Out in Your Niche: Take photography for example. In a world where everyone has a camera and a dream to make it as a wedding photographer, having a strong personal brand helps you differentiate yourself. Whether you’re trying to capture the attention of a potential couple or growing your professional network to meet other wedding venders (who can refer your to couples), a solid personal brand sets you apart from what I like to call “the sea of same.” There’s so many wedding photographers so you want to make it easier for the right people (your ideal clients) to find you, trust you, and book with you. That’s what having unique branding can do.
  2. Build Trust and Credibility: People are more likely to trust and interact with someone who has am authentic personal brand over someone who seems like they are trying to be someone they are not. Being consistent in your messaging builds trust and shows that you know who you are and what you stand for. Want to build trust? Be confident and consistent in how you present yourself and engage with your community often.
  3. Attract Opportunities: A strong personal brand can open doors to new opportunities. From job offers to podcasting features to strategic collaborations, your brand can attract all sorts of exciting prospects when you play your personal branding cards right! Remember what I said at the beginning? Branding is the key to ongoing success in your business.
  4. Showcase Your Magic, Your Special Sauce: Your personal brand highlights your strengths, skills, and unique qualities. It’s a way to show the world what makes you special and why people should pay attention to you! Your personality + what you are really good at = why people hire you.No one else can imitate that and if they try, it won’t work for very long because it’s hard to keep up with something that ends up being too much work. Pokemon GO, anyone?

Personal Branding Is the Key to Building A Successful Personal Business

Building a personal brand is a strategic marketing move. Sharing your personality + what you do = how you attract your target customers, clients, and fans. Remember that if nothing else from this article.

Importance: Understanding what branding is lays the foundation for recognizing its role in one’s personal and professional life. It helps individuals see themselves as a unique package of skills, experiences, and values that can be marketed effectively. Not to say that a human being is reduced to a mere package of skills, no, we’re much more complex than that, but you get the idea (I hope).

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How to Start Building Your Personal Brand

Okay, if you’ve got this far, you must really be committed to building your personal brand- wonderful. Now that we’ve established why personal branding is so important, let’s talk about how to get started. Building a personal brand isn’t about creating a fake persona or trying to be someone you’re not. It’s about being your authentic self and sharing that with the world.

1. Discover Your Brand Identity

Before you can build a personal brand, you need to know who you are and what you stand for. This is your brand identity. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my core values?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What are my strengths and skills?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • Who is the person that I want to become?

Think of this as your brand foundation. It’s the essence of who you are and what you represent. Try journaling on these topics and asking friends and family, people close to you what they think your strengths are. This will give you insight into strengths you might not have realized about yourself.

2. Define Your Target Audience

Who do you want to reach with your personal brand? Who do you want to help? Identifying your target audience is crucial because you can tailor your messaging and marketing content to them. Whether it’s potential clients, website visitors, or social media followers, knowing your audience will guide your branding efforts. When people say “you have to pick a niche” it’s usually because of this reason. It’s hard to convert your following into buying from your audience is everyone. It’s much easier to convert a fan when it feels like you are talking directly to them.

3. Craft Your Brand Message

Your brand messaging is how you communicate your brand identity to the world. It’s the story you tell about yourself through visuals and words. Make it clear, concise, and compelling. Your brand message should convey who you are, what you do, and why it matters. This one, for me, is the hardest. It has taken me a lot of time to define what I want to say and how I want to say it.

4. Create a Consistent Online Presence

In today’s digital world, your online presence is a huge part of your success as a personal brand. Everything from social media profiles, website, blog, and any other platforms where you’re active on is a potential touch point for you to come across a new client. Here are some tips for creating a consistent online presence:

  • Profile Picture: Use the same profile picture across all your platforms. It helps build recognition and it’s by far the easiest one to do.
  • Bio: Craft a compelling bio that reflects your brand message. Keep it consistent across platforms. I’ll be honest, I don’t even have a constant bio because I like to try out new ways to “elevator pitch” myself. But I do think it is a good idea to have a consistent one so people are more likely to remember what you do.
  • Content: Share content that aligns with your brand identity and values. Be authentic and engaging. Don’t be afraid to try new things, I do this all the time. Marketing doesn’t have to be scary, just think of it like an experiment that you get to refine over time.
  • Visuals: Use consistent colors, fonts, and imagery to create a cohesive look and feel. Again, as I build my own personal brand, I will be the first to admit that I have not been consistent in this arena but, it is highly effective to be consistent with your visuals so I am actively working towards more consistency here.

5. Share Your Story

People connect with stories, not just facts, figures, and visuals. Share your journey, your experiences, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Be vulnerable and authentic. Your story is what makes you relatable and memorable. Sharing your story builds trust.

6. Network and Engage

Building a personal brand isn’t just about broadcasting your message; it’s also about engaging with others. Network with people in your industry, join online communities, and participate in conversations. The more you engage, the more visibility you gain.

On that note, I started a networking group for Creative Business Owners in Portland, Oregon. Join the email list here to stay up to date on opportunities and events.

7. Stay Authentic

Above all, stay true to yourself. Authenticity is the key to a successful personal brand. Don’t try to be someone you’re not just to please others. Embrace your quirks, your strengths, and even your imperfections. That’s what makes you unique and is the best way to develop your personal brand.

Examples of Personal Branding In Action

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of personal branding from some of the most influential people I can think of. These individuals have mastered the art of showcasing their unique identities and building a strong personal brand around who they are. Whether you identify with or like these individuals or not, they’ve certainly made a big impression by being themselves. I find that truly inspiring.

1. Mel Robbins (@melrobbins)

Mel Robbins is a motivational speaker, author, and life coach known for her straightforward advice and practical strategies for personal growth. Her personal brand is all about empowerment, overcoming obstacles, and taking action. I have learned so much from her YouTube Channel.

2. Qveen Herby (@qveenherby)

Qveen Herby, formerly known as Amy Heidemann of the pop duo Karmin, has undergone a remarkable personal transformation that’s reflected in her current brand. After transitioning from pop to hip-hop and R&B, Qveen Herby rebranded herself with a fierce and unapologetic persona all about self discovery and bad bitchery, and woo shit. I love her, she’s amazing.

17. Issa Rae (@issarae)

Issa Rae is an actress, writer, producer, and creator known for her web series “Awkward Black Girl” and the HBO series “Insecure.” Issa advocates for greater representation of Black people in media. She uses her platform to highlight and support Black creators and stories. Through her work and public speaking, Issa empowers others to pursue their creative dreams and to tell their own stories. She is a great writer and Insecure is hilarious and so relatable to women everywhere.

3. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Gary Vaynerchuk, also known as Gary Vee, is a serial entrepreneur and social media guru. His personal brand is all about hustle, entrepreneurship, and no-nonsense advice. He’s known for his energetic personality, candidness, and relentless work ethic. ‘Hustle culture’ is what comes to mind when I think of this man.

4. Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Joe Rogan, known for his eclectic career as a comedian, UFC commentator, and podcast host, has built a unique and influential personal brand.

Joe Rogan’s brand is a testament to the power of authenticity, diversity, and deep engagement. There’s a lot to learn on how he’s built and maintained his brand for decades. Did you know he has the #1 listened to podcast on Spotify?

5. Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

Taylor Swift is so global at this point that it’s hard to imagine anyone not knowing who she is. Taylor is known for her incredible musical talent, but her success goes far beyond her songs. Taylor Swift has meticulously crafted a powerful personal brand that resonates with millions of fans around the world. Taylor Swift is the most streamed artist on Spotify with over 84 billion streams.

Taylor Swift’s personal brand is a masterclass in authenticity, evolution, and connection. Whether you’re a musician, entrepreneur, or simply someone looking to build a personal brand, there’s a lot to learn from how Taylor and her team have crafted and maintained her brand over the years.

Final Thoughts: Embrace Who You Are and Be Bold By Being Real

Building A Brand Series: What is Branding?

Personal branding is all about showcasing your authentic self, building trust, and creating a lasting impression. Your brand is a reflection of YOU. It’s your unique combination of skills, experiences, and personality traits that make you stand out. Embrace your quirks, share your story, engage with your audience, and don’t be afraid to evolve. The world is ready for you!

In the words of Qveen Herby (one of my favorite artists of all time)… “we need your art.”

Just starting your personal branding journey? Looking to redefine your existing brand? Keep these tips in mind and have fun with it. Your brand will change over time because we change over time. Don’t pay too close attention to what others are doing. Put those blinders on and focus on you—your uniqueness is your strength- use it!

Be authentic, explore your interests, engage deeply, do the deep healing work on yourself, and build a strong community around you.

Thanks for being here and diving into personal branding with me. If you found this blog helpful, share it with a friend and let’s keep exploring the world of personal branding together.

Stay Inspired, Mewphotovideo

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