At Nvrland, we build brands. We believe personal branding is just as important as your business branding — in fact, it’s the cornerstone for success.
It doesn’t matter if it’s for the business world or for your love life, developing your brand is an important life skill. Statistics say that people form an impression of you in the first 17 seconds. Since your “brand” is how you appear to the world, how people see, perceive and engage with you, it’s important to curate a strong, authentic personal brand.
Here are five fundamental tips for getting started on developing your brand.
1. Find your Authentic Voice.
Creating your brand starts with establishing your voice and connecting with who you are and what image you want to portray to the world. Every day, you have the opportunity to shift the conversation about yourself and the story behind your personal brand because every day we have the opportunity to start fresh. What is the message you want to send as a brand? Who is receiving that message? And, through what platforms?
If you’re a digital nomad looking to pick up work while traveling Southeast Asia, your brand should have a considerable digital story or presence. If you’re an artist, how do you communicate your brand? And, if you’re a professional surfer, what is your message?
If you’re establishing your brand for non-business reasons, think about the message you want to send. Are you someone who loves yoga, meditation and mindfulness? How do you communicate that to the world? And, what is your reason?
2. Speaking and Writing.
A great way to find your voice and identify the core of what your “brand” is about, is through writing. Journaling or documenting what your goals and objectives are, who you are and who you want to be as a brand and more are all helpful practices to hone down and truly know your brand.
Beyond this, publishing your writing gives you credibility in the industry and gets your name out there. Even if you’re just starting out, take the time to document your creative ideas, your energetic outbursts and your journey. You may think, “I’m too busy for that” or “I’ll do it when I’m done”. Don’t give into these temptations! Writing and sharing your knowledge and expertise is one of the most important steps in developing your brand.
When you’re ready, it’s time to start looking for speaking engagements. Stepping infront of a group of 5, 15, 50 or 500 people and sharing knowledge is an incredibly empowering feeling. As you develop your brand, your expertise and skill in certain areas will naturally emerge. When this happens, it’s an excellent opportunity to step up and share your knowledge with the rest of the world. The best way to do this is through guest speaking engagements.
3. Google yourself. You might be surprised with the results.
If you’re not curating your personal brand online, Google is doing it for you. Nearly all babies in the world under 2 years old already have a digital footprint (factcheck), which means unless you’re living off the grid somewhere, reading a printed copy of this, you do too.
Once you’ve established the goal of your personal brand, solidified your core values and established your voice, it’s now time to get the message out there. Digital is the fastest growing platform for sharing your voice and how you tackle it depends on your goals. The best place to start is with a website — even a basic one — and, most likely, a Facebook Pages profile. From there, you need to consider your options as these are limitless.
Are you comfortable in front of the camera? Think about sharing your brand story through Vimeo or YouTube. Prefer writing? Get started on your own blog, ask to be a guest contributor to other blogs or digital publications and on platforms like Medium or Amazon. Are you best at communicating your brand through visuals or photography? Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr are a few platforms you might find appealing. The key is to find a way to tell your brand’s story that makes you happy.
4. Always keep learning.
Take every opportunity you have to learn something new — and share what you’re learning. This can be as simple as reading top industry resources, inspiring leaders or up and coming creative minds. Alternatively, you can check out courses online through platforms like UDemy, Skillshare and more. There are also some amazing short courses offered online from top universities around the world. If you’re going into a new field or want to further your expertise, these are great ways to get a jump on every other Jack and Jill out there.
Beyond this, embrace opportunities in your everyday life to learn something. As everyone’s circumstances are different, you’ll have to figure out how to apply this to your life but the universe is filled with learnings in every moment if we’re open and aware to them. Tomorrow, start your day by asking – what am I going to learn today? Then, begin every meeting or interaction with the goal of learning something new and see what happens.
5. Expectations meet reality. Be who you are. And, most importantly be memorable.
Your digital brand is only half the battle. The true test of your personal brand is when your online “promises” turn into reality. This starts from the initial meeting and how you greet someone and beyond. First impressions are key and if you’ve done well establishing your authentic voice online, the first in-person meeting should be smooth sailing. The key, however, is to be memorable when you meet.
Whether you’re applying for a job, pitching a new client or teaching a yoga class, you want to give your new contact a reason that you stand out from the crowd. If you can make yourself memorable, you’ll have a much greater chance of success.
Bonus Tip: Networking requires nurturing.
How many people do you think you have met in your lifetime? And, how many more will you meet? Studies suggest we meet about 80,000 people in our lives or about 3 new people a day living in a city. That’s a heck of a lot of people. We certainly wouldn’t suggest you try to build a rolodex of 80,000 people but think about your own personal network and how the people you meet each day might impact or be impacted by your brand.
Want to learn more about establishing your personal brand or creating a digital presence? Get started with these tips from Forbes, Entrepreneur and QuickSprout. Or, drop us a line (link to contact) and find out what our digital strategists and brand builders can do for you. After all, building brands is what we do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gregory Zeleny is the founder and managing director of Nvrland Creative. With nearly 20 years industry experience, Gregory has built five established brands from the ground up, worked on hundreds of brands during his agency days and struggles to maintain his personal brand, too.