By Kristen Harris
Our world is becoming more and more brand-centric and for good reason. Brands help set one product apart from another, stand out from the pack, and quickly communicate their promise to the customer.
We no longer just have vacuum cleaners, shoes, and sparkling water. We have a Dyson, wear Rothy’s, and drink LaCroix. We talk about brands as if they’re a part of our lives and share them online like they’re our friends.
In this creative space, many of us create, grow, market, and sell brands all day long. When people buy brands they know and trust, they’re buying what the brand stands for not just the product that’s being sold.
Are you crafting your personal brand as carefully as the brands you create for your clients? Do you have a personal brand that people know and trust?
Yes, we are people and not products, but everyone has a personal brand. If you only tell people about your functional skill set, the software you know and your years of experience, you’re promoting the product of you. When you share the unique combination of who you are, what you do, and how and why you do it, that’s the brand of you.
Your personal brand includes what you do, how you do it, your communication style, your values and beliefs, and everything else someone gets when working with you. It tells people who you are, not just what you do.
Personal branding tends to show up three key places: in-person, on paper, and online.
In-person, our individual brand comes across the minute anyone sees us. How we carry ourselves, our posture, confidence, speed, energy, volume, and wardrobe or personal grooming choices all add up to a physical projection of our brand. Whether it’s a choice we’ve made or something we’re born with, our physical presence is a part of our brand. Make sure the brand you’re projecting is the one you want. Some physical attributes can’t be changed but most of what people see and perceive about you can be adjusted to project the brand you want to communicate in-person.
On paper, our personal brand is clear on any physical materials like a resume or cover letter, marketing pieces, printed samples, or portfolio. It’s communicated through word choice, writing style, fonts, colors, graphics, and paper textures–and you get to make all those choices. Select options that project who you are and what you do; a good brand will attract the right people and repel the wrong ones.
Online, you get to create and curate your personal brand. Since you’re making all the choices, choose images and words that project the brand of you. Help people get to know what you’re all about, where your passions lie, and your unique skills or strengths. Caution: sometimes people curate their online presence and social feeds to the point of becoming inauthentic. Project the brand that you want to share but also keep it real–let people see a bit of the real-life messiness, behind-the-scenes steps, or special process of your work.
We live and work with other brands all day long; take a little time to consider your own personal brand and how you’re sharing it with the world.
Kristen Harris is the COO • Co-Creator of Portfolio Creative. A central Ohio firm solely focused on creative roles, Portfolio Creative has been connecting companies with the top creative talent for onsite staffing, full-time direct hire, and project needs since 2005.