Let’s talk about how to build a personal brand you love, without the need of a huge branding agency to help you.
I’m not a brand consultant, and I’m no expert. I’m just someone like you who has started off a brand – with zero budget, by the way – by keeping a few consistent rules in place.
If you’ve been wondering how to up-level your personal brand and really make yourself stand out in the world of business, then you have to watch today’s video.
Prefer to listen? Press play below.
How to love your brand
No matter how long you’ve been in business, you have to up-level your brand every couple of years.
But that doesn’t mean making it more and more fancy. It means getting as close as you can to your true essence in business.
Over the last five years in my business, I’ve made a huge transition from trying to be like everyone else to realizing how much power there is in really choosing a brand that is really me.
Yours might not be a personality-driven business like mine.
My secret motto is, “My face is my fortune.” That’s why you see my picture and my face plastered everywhere. I’m trying to brainwash you into liking me! I’m only half joking, but every time I’m tempted to hide away, I make sure I show up and show my face.
But even if your business isn’t mainly about you, it’s still important to have a brand that you truly, deeply love because it’s going to make you get out there and be visible to many more people.
We’ve all had brand shame, and website shame – and honestly nothing will derail your business faster than being embarrassed to tell people about it.
Everyone starts somewhere. Even people with the slickest, most gorgeous brand usually started the same as everyone else.
I absolutely love my website now but it’s been a huge evolution to get here. I started off completely DIY, then started hiring out little pieces I couldn’t do myself, and then eventually upgraded to a fully designed and developed site.
Here are some examples of my earliest websites.
You’ll see how I was trying to fit into the life-coachy space and I hadn’t quite nailed the chilled out vibe that my brand is all about now. I was also trying to be professional and appeal to both entrepreneurs and women in corporations.
When your brand tries to appeal to everyone, it appeals to nobody.
And it’s going to evolve over time.
I totally understand website shame and brand shame because I had it for such a long time. I didn’t want anyone to visit my website, I was like, “It’s not finished! It’s not right! Don’t look at it! It’s not ready yet!”
The truth is that a brand is never really “finished.” It’s always going to be a work in progress.
At some point, you really have to show it to the world.
Make sure your brand feels authentic to you
Authenticity is a word that’s overused. What does it even mean?
It’s really about doing something in your business and brand that feels good to you, and is how you would normally show up in the world. It would be weird to have a completely different online persona to how you are in real life (to a certain extent).
Like, if you have to completely change who you are every time you post a selfie, or do a random live stream for your audience, chances are there is a mismatch.
That doesn’t mean you can’t “dress up” your brand to be a little sexier than real life.
If you look at some of my current brand images, I’m sitting in a beautiful blue Kombi van (which I don’t own, by the way), and working on the beach next to a surfboard.
But I don’t surf, and I don’t write my blog posts at the beach, I work from my office.
So your brand doesn’t have to show exactly how you live your life, but it still has to feel authentic to you. I could surf at the beach, and I would love to own a blue Kombi if I could drive a stick shift!
The point is that it still feels authentic to me.
What’s the flavor of your brand?
Even though I don’t really drive a Kombi van, it fits with the overall flavor of my brand – chilled, relaxed, friendly, down to earth.
I even chose a season for my brand – summer. It could be snowing outside my house right now and you wouldn’t know.
I chose summer as my brand feeling because I want people to feel happy, sunny and on holidays when they connect with me.
If your brand feels authentic to you, not only does it feel better for your audience, it’s much easier to maintain.
I know I can get in front of the camera pretty much any day (maybe put on a bit more makeup) and it would still look and feel like a Lucky Bitch video. But if I normally dressed in a suit each day, and only Denise-ified myself for my videos, it would feel inauthentic.
Know what your brand stands for
My brand is about doing things in an easy, relaxed, fun, chilled out way.
Everything I do in real life and in my business life is about making things easy and stress free.
Find out what your brand means to your audience
What does your brand stand for?
Does it stand for inspiration or professionalism? Is yours a really high-end brand that helps people aspire to a more high-end life? Or you might have a really simple philosophy and help people aspire to that. Or you might show them mess, like the real stuff behind the scenes.
Whatever it is, stand for something because that will underpin your brand.
Choose a color palette that inspires you
The easiest way to start a brand is to choose a color you love. Then ensure that it’s always in your videos, social media, and other content.
If you look at my Instagram, @denisedt, you’ll see that most of the pictures that I post have blue in them. It’s a simple way to ensure consistency with your brand.
You might notice in some of my social media that I use an aztec pattern. This is unique to my brand, I created with designer, Elissa Jayne.
You’ll see this show up in random pics. For example, I have a little handbag in the pattern, and it might be in the background of a photo of me at the hair salon. I’ve got a Lucky Bee towel that might show up in beach pictures, etc.
Today, I’m wearing my limited edition Lucky Bee necklace and ring that I did in collaboration with Sarah Wilder at The Fifth Element. You’ll often see me wearing my Wheel of Karma necklace as well, which I really love.
There are lots of little things you can bring in to make your brand fun and memorable.
Now, this was a game changer: a video backdrop, so all your videos or interviews are branded too.
All of these little touches make your brand consistent.
Be uniquely YOU
The most compelling way to build a brand is to show up and shine… as yourself.
Don’t feel like you have to be someone else
You don’t have to be like me. Or Marie Forleo, or anyone else.
Be you, because some people out there are going to love it.
People are ITCHING to see someone like YOU be successful in business. So stop your excuses…
I need to lose weight first
I have to change my accent
My hair isn’t perfect
INSERT OTHER B.S EXCUSE HERE
The truth is that if you are YOU, it’s going to be so much easier to show up and do your thing.
You’ll just love being in your business because it’s you.
Someone out there is going to love exactly who you are and what you represent.
Just start with a few guidelines of how you want your brand to look and feel. If you commit it to paper, it’s going to be so much easier to keep it consistent.
Then you can evaluate everything based off those few simple rules.
- What colors you like to use
- The “flavor” or “season” of your brand
- What fonts you use
- The look and feel of your videos, social media, etc
Want to see my Brand Guide?
Why should you have a branding guide?
This is the internal document we use to make sure everything is consistently on brand – it makes it so much easier to know who you are and how you want to show up for your customers.
Plus, it’s so handy to have all of your color codes and font guidelines in one place. It’s great to be able to send to designers, contractors and staff so they know exactly how you want things to look and feel.
If you look at my brand guidelines, you’ll see exactly how I want my brand to show up now. Just go to www.LuckyBitch.com/brand.
It will give you a little bit of an inside peek at what my brand looks like, and show you some of the decisions I’ve made about my current branding.
It doesn’t have to be perfect! You can change up your brand and evolve over time.
Again – you can check out mine at www.LuckyBitch.com/brand.
Did you miss last weeks post? Check it out here: 4 Cautionary Lessons From Making a Mobile App