A personal brand is lot more than just your logo and website colour palette. It is what distinguishes you from others. Your brand can be seen as a promise. It builds from your personality, the emotions you evoke in others and the way you look. Your brand consists of your name, face, voice, way of talking, logo, colours and fonts, the way you write plus other features which define and differentiate you from others. Your brand also is built from the image and expectations your customers, blog readers, followers, competition, fans, haters and others have of you, your business and your products.
When starting to define your brand, it is easy to feel lost. Especially with personal branding, things get complicated. Where to begin? In order to uncomplicate the beginning of your branding process, below is a list of questions for you to answer. Some questions are easier, some dig deeper and may take more time and effort to answer.
1. What do you do and for whom?
Describe in one sentence what you do and for whom you do it. This is the base of your branding. For example I work with online presences of indie businesses and creatives. Try to keep it simple. If you notice that you have trouble of explaining what you do in one sentence, I recommend simplifying your business, dropping off extra services and figuring out who your ideal customer is. In the free Indie Online Marketing Workbook I offer simple ways to profile your ideal customer and define your business.
2. Who do you admire?
Think about who or which businesses you admire. What makes them so alluring to you? What about their branding is so great? Copying other brands is a terrible idea and will cause you to fail. However, it can help you with defining your brand. You can take lessons of the branding of those you admire. Thinking about who you admire and why can be quite revealing. You may learn something new about yourself.
3. Who do you see as your competition?
As defining the people or businesses you admire, taking a closer look at who is your competition is very helpful. Why are they your competition? Do they see you as a competition as well? Does it make sense for you to think about them as your competition? There's a good chance you'll notice that some of those you have seen as your competition are actually people you admire.
4. Why you do what you do?
Ask yourself why you do what you do. What drives you? Hopefully your business, career path or blogging aren't on automation and you are doing your thing for a good reason. Figure that reason out and building your brand gets easier.
5. What are your values?
This is related to the question of why you do what you do. Often your values drive you to make certain choices which direct you to certain career path or pursuit. Values are what is important to you and what is right and wrong for you.
6. What makes you different?
Distinguishing you from everyone else is the whole point of personal branding. Your authentic self is the basis of your brand. Remember, authenticity doesn't only mean glitter and gloss. When figuring out what makes you different from others include also the less attractive qualities and features. The good and bad, the embarrassing and glorious, it all is part of your brand.
7. What do others think about you?
As I mentioned before, your brand includes also the expectations and ideas other people have about you. Find out what your customers, blog readers, followers and even friends think about you. Ask them to define you in 3 to 5 adjectives. In case those expectations and ideas seem wrong to you, think how you could adjust them. You cannot control anyone else's thoughts but you can try and influence them.
8. What thoughts and emotions would you like to evoke?
After finding out what others think about you, ask yourself what sorts of thoughts and emotions you would like to evoke in them. If other people already think that way about you, good for you! Most likely there are some things they think which don't quite sit well with you. Don't get obsessed with how others are wrong about you. Instead, concentrate on what you would want them to think about you.
9. Which adjectives you use to describe yourself?
List 5 adjectives you use to describe yourself. These adjectives can be similar to ones other people use to describe you. Or something completely else. Do these adjectives align with the thoughts other people have about you? And do they align with how you would like them to think about you?
10. Who are you?
When you can answer the question of who you are in one or two sentences, you have figured your brand out. Personal branding is all about you. All the previous questions help you to find out different parts of yourself. Combine those together in a simple description, which tells who you are.