Learning The Bankable Brand Method™ And How You Can Cash In On Your Gifts
How You Can Create A Business (& Brand) Around Your Gifts
Understanding Your Gifts In This World (“Who The Heck Am I Anyway?”)
Finding Your Hidden Brand (And Life Purpose On The Planet)
Examples of Strong and Weak Brands
Dangers of DIYing Your Brand
Evidence That You’ve Got It Right
Revealing Yourself To The World
Modern Strategies To Build Your Brand And Stay Relevant
YOU WANT MORE? GET IT HERE.
A WARNING FROM THE AUTHOR
This guide was developed for the serious, committed, and enthusiastic personal brander who needs help addressing the finer points of branding.
They know what they want, they have the energy & time to work hard for it, but they don’t have all the answers–and that’s OK.
Does that sound like you? GOOD.
After reading this epic personal branding guide, you’ll have the answers to these critically important questions:
- What’s a personal brand and why do I need one?
- What is my personal brand?
- What’s is Unique Selling Proposition and what is my USP?
- How is my purpose and genius, my talents, tied directly to discovering my personal brand?
- Should I hire a personal brand coach? Do I actually need one?
- How can I profit from my personal brand?
OK. Let’s dive in.
Learning The Bankable Brand Method™ And How You Can Cash In On Your Gifts
- PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESS #1: BE REAL
- PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESS #2: BE HONEST
- PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESS #3: BE STRATEGIC
- Let’s Talk About These SO-CALLED “Experts”
- Resisting Cookie Cutter Brands
Now You Can Finally Learn The Bankable Brand Method™ And How You Can Cash In On Your Gifts
I’ve been fixing brands for over a decade.
Big brands. Little brands. Not-yet branded brands. Good brands. Bad brands. Even brands and odd brands. What I’ve discovered is that the majority of brands are only a few fixes away from the next level…from making more money, more impact, more of whatever you want or need.
That’s why I wrote this guide–because the so-called experts (we’ll talk about those poser punks below) aren’t telling you what you really need to know about personal branding.
They aren’t saying anything new, and your brand is hurting because you aren’t getting the honest help you deserve…that just ain’t right. And they’re for sure not telling you the WHY and HOW.
59% of consumers indicate they would stop shopping a brand if it presented fake information or content (Pudik, 2017).
But no one in history ever openly admitted– “My brand is dishonest. It’s a copy. A fake.”
Nobody thinks their brand can so easily fall into that category. When you’re building a brand, this is likely the last thought to pop into your head… but trust me, IT CAN HAPPEN.
In order for your personal brand to evolve into a Bankable Brand™ (and a brand that speaks truth and not BS), it needs to be three things from the get-go: REAL, HONEST, & STRATEGIC.
Here’s the rundown of importance on these three principles of successful (bankable) branding.
PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESS #1: BE REAL
Have you ever know someone who is the furthest thing from being their “real” self?
They lie all of the time, exaggerate, change personas frequently…you just can’t trust them. And c’mon, you’re not a dummy. You don’t trust these people at all. Seriously, how do they not realize that the average person can seen right through their lies?
80% of consumers say that authenticity of content will influence them to follow a brand (Crezeo, 2015).
In my personal branding experience, half-measures do not work. Most people can detect a fake online in a matter of seconds (you’ll learn later the crazy importance of capturing interest in 8 seconds or less).
Authenticity is the easiest, most attractive way to build a personal brand. After all, why create a personal brand, if you aren’t willing to truly get personal with it.
PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESS #2: BE HONEST
What you’re about to read sounds wayyyy too good to be true, but then again most unicorns are…
91% of consumers think honesty about products & services is MORE important than a brand’s popularity (Bonfire).
Not only are lies super-risky to in branding, they’re extremely hard to maintain. Just look at all the (despicable) lies that have ruined some of our (formerly) beloved brands, celebs, and businesses and tell me if it’s worth it.
- Brian Williams lied about taking fire helicoptering in Iraq.
- Volkswagen lied about meeting emissions standards.
- Martha Stewart lied about insider trading.
- James Frey lied about, well, his entire life.
- Steve Rannazzisi lied about being There on 9/11.
- Elizabeth Holmes lied about a medical “breakthrough” worth 700m in funding.
- Milli Vanilli lied about being able to…sing.
- Lance Armstrong lied about not abusing PEDs.
I’ve never known a lie to really go the distance. Big lie, smart lie, white lie–it doesn’t matter. Lies cannot exist in reality. No matter how successful or popular you become, a lie will damage your name FOREVER.
PRINCIPLE OF SUCCESS #3: BE STRATEGIC
Your brand is only as good as your strategy.
Remember Kodak moments? As digital photography popularity grew in popularity, and smartphones began toting cameras…
Kodak did nothing to adapt to the market they helped pioneer as it was redefined by digital media (Forbes).
What’s even more embarrassing is that Kodak INVENTED the very thing that killed them… the freaking DIGITAL camera.
So they not only failed to develop a strategy to remain in control of the market they’d dominated for a well over 100 years, Kodak failed to capitalize on their own invention! Whether you’re a Baby Brand or a Century-Old Titan…never stop strategizing.
If your personal brand isn’t founded on these three principles, your odds of success in branding and business decrease dramatically. If you can instill these things in your brand, your work, and your success will come naturally. Why? Because all you have to do is be yourself–and trust me, that’s enough.
Let’s Talk About These SO-CALLED “Experts”
They go by the name “personal brand coach,” “brand builder,” “brand strategist,” and “brand consultant.”
In fairness, I do too. But not all of them are creating equal results.
Because few people–even those who call themselves experts–really understand the complete anatomy of a personal brand.
I’m going to make some enemies by saying this…
Most “experts” simply don’t have the gift. The experience. The know-how. And the track record of proven results. Let me ask you something…would you like to have a medical student do brain surgery on you?
These experts are only giving you surface level advice dolled up to look like breakthrough knowledge…all just to appear as if they are a bonafide expert. They are damn good at this, too–and that makes them dangerous as HELL.
If you build a personal brand based on faked or amateur knowledge, it will NOT survive.
And that’s exactly why I created this Absolute Guide To Personal Branding. I wanted to set the record straight and give people real, workable advice that could make an actual difference.
After reading this guide…
- You won’t walk away wondering how to use what you learned.
- You won’t feel like personal branding is impossible.
- You won’t be MORE confused after reading.
- You won’t find any “Best Practice” BS in here.
- You won’t be afraid to brand around your greatest gifts.
- You won’t get ALL the answers, but you will get honest help that nobody else is giving out.
Over time, as you try your hardest to bring your dream to life, if it isn’t based on something real and personal, if it doesn’t utilize your greatest assets in the most vulnerably confident way…you may even grow to resent your own business. That’s scary.
I Don’t Do Cookie Cutters Brands–And You Shouldn’t Either…
Take your time and read through the guide. It’s full of real, actionable knowledge you can put to use building your Bankable Personal Brand immediately.
From leveraging your greatest gifts to showcasing your truest self to the world, there’s a lot more to authentic branding than most people realize. I wrote this to teach you how to get personal, how to get REAL, and how to really know yourself before progressing forward in your brand.
Reading this guide will not only prevent massive overhauls in the future of your brand, it’s also going to show you how to avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your profits, growth, and overall success.
No fly-by-nights. No one-hit-wonders. Let’s build your brand to stick around for the long haul.
Alright, let’s rock n’ roll.
How You Can Create A Business (& Brand) Around Your Gifts
- The most important step in creating your money-making personal brand.
- Stop Burying Your God-Given Gifts
- Finding the Natural State of Mastery that already exists within you.
- For Goodness Sake, just be authentic![e]
HOW YOU CAN CREATE A BUSINESS (& BRAND) AROUND YOUR GIFTS
If you want your brand to be successful (which you do because you’re breezing through this guide already), then your personal brand MUST be carefully crafted around your greatest gifts for the world.
The cornerstone of your brand or business is your PURPOSE.
It’s what you were meant to do on this earth and in this life. You feel compelled, as if you are on a life or death mission, and you know damn well that nobody can do it better than you can.
This is the most important step in creating your money-making personal brand.
The basis of any good brand begins with understanding yourself, your power, and your purpose.
If you have complete confidence in your gifts…then you already have EXACTLY what your customers are searching for.
But here’s something weird you have to watch out for…
When people begin building their brand, too often I find people become great at hiding their greatest talent or gift. Insecurity creeps in, and when you doubt yourself…your customers and followers will doubt you, too.
What does this look like in the real world? …CRAZY.
- The incredible writer will drop his pen and start learning how to record videos.
- The sales maven will busy herself with administrative work.
- The angelic radio voice will pick up the pen and try to speak on paper.
- The coach won’t take the stage, but if she would, she’d get a standing ovation.
- The design guru turns down HUGE contracts because she’s afraid of failure.
You’re already the master of something–it’s time to stop burying your God-given gifts.
Your personal brand should revolve around your purpose, that one thing you were meant to do. And you can’t be afraid to flaunt it, to be selfish, to be cocky and to wear a chip on your shoulder.
We’re taught for our entire lives not to get too full of ourselves–and what happens? We never really believe in our gifts. We never discover what we’re actually capable of accomplishing.
- Writers should write.
- Speakers should speak.
- Salespeople should sell.
- Coaches should coach.
Taking this approach to your brand will not only simplify your work–it will also make it enjoyable.
I had a beautiful personal branding experience with a client once where we rediscovered her greatest gift, and easily repositioned it for immediate success. It went like this…
She was once a teacher, then she became a doctor and nutritionist (she’s basically a genius when it comes to optimizing your health).
But she was having trouble finding patients who desperately needed her help. In a local setting, it’s hard to be a freelance nutritionist without the backing (& 9-5) of a hospital or healthcare facility. There are only so many people within in her reach to treat…
So she had the idea to take her gifts & knowledge online. We helped position her brand to reach more of those in need by putting her back into a teaching role. Her greatest gift wasn’t healing patients…it was teaching people how to heal themselves.
This woman was extremely talented (and had a lot of specialized skills), but in the end what really took her brand to the next level was getting back to her Primary Talent…teaching!
Odds are–you’re simply forgetting what you’re capable of…
You don’t need to work your ass off trying to master something new. All you’re required to do it work hard and remember what you’re really made of.
- Think about your talents, which feels most natural to you?
- Which skill are you most confident in?
- What is the real foundation of your talents?
- Are you passionate about it?
Find the Natural State of Mastery that already exists within you.
Most of my clients come to me because they are serious as hell about making their personal brand BANKABLE & BIG.
I’d estimate that 75% of the time, these clients these have written off & devalued their greatest gift because they feel like a fraud. They tell themselves lies like these…
- How could I deserve a gift this great?
- Nobody would pay me for this…
- Why would anyone believe me?
- I must be making this up in my head.
- Everyone’s right, I’m nothing special.
- I haven’t earned this…
I hope that sounds familiar–if so, you are in the right place. This guide is going to help you change everything…
The great thing about embracing your primary talent is that it’s actually easier to showcase your most stellar talent than to put on a persona every day you go to work. Even if you aren’t building a personal brand…this holds true.
If you really want it bad enough, you’re going to be busy working harder than ever on your business…so why make your life and dream harder by having to act like something or someone you’re not?
Just DON’T do it.
The strongest brands in the world are the most authentic.
Elon Musk (#SpaceX) and Richard Branson (#VirginEverything) should come to mind. They are unabashedly themselves ALL of the time…
- Kinda cooky
- Scary determined
- World changing
- Love of the F-bomb
They don’t care what anyone thinks of them–because they are on a mission to change the world. When you’re in that zone, that battle mode, the critics and BSers disappear. I call it going fully NAVY SEAL (we’ll get into that more later).
Despite their outlandish ideas and fierce intensity, we love personal brands like these.
We admire them. We connect with them on a human level–and because of this, we appreciate (#buy) their brands and products, too.
It’s certainly easier to trust the “experts” & best practice guides telling you to do something you shouldn’t. But believe me, it won’t work out how they say it will.
You have to make your own path.
The Assignment: As an interactive recap of this section, answer the following questions to begin digging up the incredible gift you’ve buried.
- What is your genius?
- Which gifts come easy to you?
- What kind of results do you get for others?
- Are you afraid to embrace your gift?
- Is this gift connected with your purpose?
- What lie(s) do you tell yourself that prevents you from charging for a service?
- When did you start telling yourself this lie?
- Was there a moment in time that you KNEW what your gift was?
*Don’t be chicken.
*Nobody else is going to read this.
*You owe it to yourself to get ABSOLUTELY HONEST with these answers.
Understanding Your Gifts In This World (“Who The Heck Am I Anyway?”)
- The Importance of Brand Identity
- STORY: Why it’s absolutely critical that you learn everything you possibly can about yourself.
- Where Do Your Gifts & Passions Intersect?
- TRUTH ASSIGNMENT
Understanding Your Gifts In This World (“Who The Heck Am I Anyway?”)
It’s time to get personal…
Now that you know how important it is to instill your gift in the every-function of your personal brand or business…we have to figure out how your gifts set you apart from the world. You are most likely VERY different than most people (even if you don’t outwardly show it).
That’s one of the tragic missteps people make when building their personal brand…they forget (or are unwilling) to give their personal brand an IDENTITY.
Think about it this way…
Have you ever had a word stuck on the tip of your tongue?
You know what you’re trying to say, but you freeze up, it becomes impossible to locate the word you so desperately need to complete your thought.
That’s an awkward situation to be in…
When it comes to finding your Personal Brand, if you don’t really, truly know yourself…that’s how you (and the world) will feel about your brand–like you’re almost there, but not quite yet.
I hope that freaks you out a little bit. It’s extremely important to understand yourself…
- Who You Are
- What You’re All About
- Why It Matters
- What Makes You Different
- What Makes You…YOU
You have a personal brand. And you have a message or service that NEEDS to be shared, right? If your clients can’t make sense of you, they won’t interact with you.
Clients MUST TRUST you if you want to make ANY SALES.
By discovering your Brand Identity, you create a bridge between your customers and your offerings.
Think of Brand Identity like it’s your brand’s personality–everything people notice about you. The way you look, the way you talk, the way you stand, the way you are.
It would be hard to understand someone’s motives if they had NO personality whatsoever. They would be a blank slate…
So if you can’t figure out how to deliver your message–how to say it, where to say it, or who to say it to–then your brand will never make it into the world.
Brand Identity is what brings your brand to life.
It’s the heartbeat, the spirit, the lightning bolt, the soul of what you’re building.
You absolutely-positively-MUST discover your BRAND IDENTITY. Without a personal touch, your clients or customers won’t be able to relate to you (let alone trust you).
Brand Identification should be centered on yourself…
- Your beliefs.
- Your dreams.
- Your humor.
- Your charisma.
- Your awkwardness.
- Your loves.
- Your hates.
- Your passions.
- Your mission.
- Your everything.
Let’s think of the writer who started recording videos…
Dude. He’s not a tech guy, recording videos is going to be a difficult process for him to learn. He’s trying to master a new skill–video production–while he already has a masterful talent that’s not even being used. WRITING!
While you may be able to learn a new skill fairly quickly, be careful not to underestimate your existing gifts.
The writer could be sitting on the most viral blog in the world and never even know it…
That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you learn everything you possibly can about yourself. Sometimes our genius is hiding under a rock.
Ever feel like you’re a diamond in the rough?
Take me for example.
I’m Monaica Ledell, The Positioner™.
I’m a sales girl. Not just any sales girl (I’ve sold over $10 million for my clients). Even though selling is one of my greatest passions, it doesn’t define me. There’s more to me than that…
My personality makes me pretty different from other personal branders…and everything about my brand mirrors this.
I’ve known for awhile that my superpowers are brand identification and influencing. So I bought a domain for over $1000 that reflected this to the world…I am The Positioner™. That is my identity.
I position people, brands, and companies for the greatest possible success. I also believe in telling true stories to sell real products.
That’s what I offer my clients, absolute truth. I learn their stories, their histories, their pains and their strengths. Why they are who they are–and I tell these REAL stories in the form of a brand.
When I decided to open a branding agency…the experts told me absolutely DO NOT name it Truth Hacking. Guess what I did? I flipped them off and named it Truth Hacking.
Why would someone ignore the experts? Because I was passionate. In my gut I knew it was the right answer. Because I couldn’t possibly build a successful brand without being myself: honest as can be.
Think about how your gifts and passions intersect…
- Which ones have the strongest, clearest connection?
- Which don’t go together at all, and why?
- Which talent excites you the most?
- Which passion do you wish you could bring into the world?
- What kind of people appreciate these things you listed?
I’m not going to tell you how to personalize your brand, but I will urge you to trust your gut. There is 100% absolute no science to brand identity. I believe it is one of the most beautiful things to discover for a client.
It’s time to get to know yourself, get clear on what you want and how you want to do it…
You can’t be like the writer who introduces himself as a videographer…ashamed or afraid to admit what you really, truly are.
Truly knowing yourself means…
- You have accepted your gift.
- You aren’t defined by a career, reputation, or external force
- You know, for sure, that you’re doing what you should be doing.
- You don’t back down to criticism.
- You don’t care what the world thinks or how it judges you.
- You understand your purpose.
- You know what your passions are.
- You are devoted to your mission.
The truth is, deep down you know what you really want–who you really are. It’s not always easy to embrace that level of personal truth, but I can 100% guarantee you that it is worth it.
Nobody in the world ever figured out their gift and their truest self and thought, “F-bomb. I miss the old days when I was living a half-measure.”
You will not be sorry living an honest and open life–so don’t risk the regret of life lived falsely.
Above all else…follow your instincts, stand your ground.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Answer the following question, and then define yourself in a single, simple sentence. Be matter of fact, confident, and genuine with your answers.
- What defines you as a person?
- What makes you stand out from all others?
- How do you express your gift?
- What makes you unique?
- How is your identity different from all others?
- Define yourself in a single, simple sentence.
You need to adopt this truth. It takes time to instill in fully into every facet of your life. So be patient. Carry this sentence with you at all times–in your phone, your mind, and your heart. Do not ever forget who you really are.
Finding Your Hidden Brand (And Life Purpose On The Planet)
- There Is A Brand Hidden Inside You
- Converting Brand Identity into Brand Loyalty
- STORY: How my personal brand loyalty was recently revolutionized.
Finding Your Hidden Brand (And Life Purpose On The Planet)
Right now, the finished product, the website, the audience, the mission, the products, the success–every answer to your successful personal branding process is already with you. You have to dig DEEP to find these answers.
There Is A Brand Hidden Inside You…
We did a little bit of prep for this in the previous section, but now it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of defining your brand’s identity.
Within you right now, are all of the answers you need to build your personal brand. Now I know I said there’s no science to brand identity, but there are some technical aspects of branding you need to think about…
- Who is my target audience?
- Why is that my target audience?
- What is it I think I can do for them?
- What are MY greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- How do I want to reach my clients and customers?
- What, exactly, am I offering?
- How will I monetize my brand?
- What are the goals for my brand?
- How do I want my brand to be viewed by the world?
Your brand must…1) be geared to a certain group of people & 2) answer a question they have or fill an urgent need.
The more relatable your brand is, the easier it will be to earn BRAND LOYALTY.
That’s a serious keyword!
- Think about this, which brands are you seriously loyal to?
- Samsung? Apple? Coca Cola? Levi Strauss?
- Why do you side with these brands?
- Why don’t you branch out and try new things?
It’s because you know and trust these companies, these brands. You get exactly what you expect to receive from them. You know them to be true to their word. If they say it’s the warmest jacket-fastest phone ever, you trust that they’re telling the truth.
Above all else, you relate to them. You’re a Coca Cola man, a Samsung Note-8ist, a Macbooker, a Levi’s-butt-shower-offer. When you buy these brand’s products, they become expressions of who you are.
You are so loyal that it doesn’t matter what else is on the market, every other option disappears. Unless…something BIG happens.
My personal brand loyalty was recently revolutionized.
Yes, I’m the girl that absolutely ditched Apple’s iPhone. We own an embarrassingly, sinful number of Apple products. Too many for me to feel proud about since we truly have people starving in the world.
So here’s the scoop:
I was an iPhone loyalist. Work phone. Cell phone. I had all the latest upgrades. Hell, my entire family had an iPhone. I was thinking about being an iPhone for the next costume party. Then one day my husband came home with a Note 8…Samsung. My sworn enemy.
It pissed me off. I literally tried to force him to take it back, but he refused. It actually caused an argument. He tried to build it up, brush it off, but I thought it was off the deep end.
My whole Apple world was falling apart.
Where was my Tech Knight In Shining Armour that would always make sure my apps were updated, my back-ups were done, my iCloud accounts were synced?
Out of pure ego alone, I started playing with his phone, learning about it and trying to find an angle to bring him back from the dark side. But, as I played more with the Note 8 (something I would have never, EVER done had he not brought it home), I started to crush on it.
And here comes the real kicker–it’s a hella better phone, large and in charge, with far more customization possibilities (I’m talking exhausting options), a fraction of the price and insanely faster.
The truth hit me between the eyes. I was finding a new love.
Eventually my eyes were opened to the fact that Apple and iPhone had fallen behind Samsung. They stopped innovating, which is what I loved about them the most.
You know what happened next? My entire family has Samsung phones.
But just to be sure, thirteen days later I walked into the Sprint store to play with the new iPhone X. I was having doubts. I was a little sheepish and still under my fourteen day return period. I thought maybe I should just be sure.
I walked over and started playing with a tiny phone that I thought for sure could not be the new and improved iPhone. I asked the store manager, “could you tell me which phone is the new one?” He replied, “the one you’re playing with.”
I released it and walked off. I was now pissed at Apple. They had failed me. The iPhone X officially sucked. Especially in comparison. I called my dad (like a good daughter does), and as he called me an Apple Traitor, I told him, “Apple is officially behind. I feel like a little kid…like when I got my first iPhone. Your phone sucks, Dad.”
Okay, the point is, if you don’t remain true to your Brand Identity–you risk losing your Brand Loyalty…and that ain’t something you can buy.
Apple used to be innovative, techie, cutting-edge. I held on for as long as I could, but I’m not loyal to a fault. I’m now a proud Android user, but I’m not jumping ship yet on the computer–so don’t get too freaked out.
48% of consumers report that they are more likely to become loyal to a brand during the first purchase or experience (BOP Design).
However you decide to approach your brand identity, make sure that…
- It’s how you wish to be perceived by the world.
- You hold true to your identity from the get-go.
- It’s human.
- You don’t lie, fake, or act.
- It’s different.
- You truly believe in the message, and are sharing it with the right audience.
Brand Identity is your epic sales positioning in the world. It’s an expression of who you are and what you believe in. And it’s how the world can make sense of you. You’re positioning yourself for sales.
Examples of Strong and Weak Brands
- One of the strongest brands of our time: NEIL PATEL
- One of the weakest brands of our time: TED CRUZ
EXAMPLES OF STRONG AND WEAK BRANDS
One of the strongest brands of our time: NEIL PATEL
Do you follow Neil Patel? He’s the creator of HelloBar, KissMetrics, Crazy Egg, & NeilPatel.com, and also arguably the most prominent personal branding and marketing master of our time.
But he’s not like many other branders. His approach to marketing is a really sweet harmony of data and creative content.
Rather than simply writing a DIY guide or blog, Neil Patel takes it upon himself to experiment a challenge and blog (in real-time) about the challenges and successes he has. You can read the full article (How Neil Patel Made $4.4 Million With 4 Controversial Marketing Experiments) on Wishpond, or just settle for this quote:
“Based on data. I look at both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative is numbers and I look at things like drop off rates in the funnel for example, bounce rate, or even time on site. Qualitative is feedback that you get from users through methods like surveying.
For example if everyone says they don’t want to buy your product because you don’t offer free shipping, increasing your product price and making shipping for free could be a test worth running” (Wishpond).
While it sounds pretty data-driven, take a look at any of his websites and you’ll understand that Neil is a laid back dude. Each business he manages is inviting, but also very crisp and professional.
While we know his tech is sound, he’s a data stud, and he’s got design keyed in damn near perfectly, what really sets him apart from other personal brands in his space?
He gives back.
Everything he does in his own life, he shares in some way shape or form with his followers.
When he promises to help them with a marketing problem, this is how he does so.
And you can really tell that it is genuine. He’s not making the BIG bucks from blogging anymore, he’s onto much greener pastures, but in order to maintain his following and connect with real people that love and support his brand…
He makes time for people like you and me, people who simply wish to get better at branding and marketing.
You won’t visit one of his websites and not understand…
- What he does.
- Why he does it.
- Who he does it for.
Even though he’s packing some SERIOUS tech skills, he doesn’t box-himself as merely a tech expert. His curiosity and branding sets him apart from all others.
One of the weakest brands of our time: YOU?
I mean no offense, but every personal brander runs the risk of investing serious time, money, and sweat equity into a brand that’s just…WEAK.
Good thing this is a Definitive Guide! I’m here to draw attention to helping you Brand STRONG and not fall short in any way.
Your brand’s weakness can take many different forms.
Sometimes a weak brand simply doesn’t offer anything worthwhile to the space it’s trying to occupy. Other times it’s just really, really beige–it doesn’t do anything different than their (probably) millions of other competitors.
I’ve seen brands in the past that have been funded with TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars…and they still flopped. PLEASE, don’t you ever think that a strong brand depends on money to be successful.
Sure it helps…hell yeah money helps! But the way this person spent these tens of thousands. Oh man. It was BAD. They absolutely and totally ignored the advice of the branding experts they hired–just because they felt like it.
- They never developed a way to track leads, opens, or subscribers.
- They never created an ideal client avatar…
- Or a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
- They bought and paid for strategic copywriting…then “revised” it with words they “preferred.”
- They marketed HARD and FAST, but with nothing to offer–and to a demographic that made NO sense.
- After finally noticing their brand was sputtering, they did nothing to pivot or regroup.
So what happened to this brand? It launched into LIMBO. No lie. They launched. They sat. They went nowhere–and nobody ever noticed them. It tore me apart to watch this unfold.
Go with your gut. Always. Just be strategic and smart when you do it. Browse your competitors and you’ll find a hundred different kinds of weak brands.
A brand is a complex, living, breathing thing. It’s vulnerable and always changing. You have to be the master of your own personal brand. Money can’t buy that. Only your passion and diligence will grant you that level of deep understanding–of your brand, your market, your data, your goals.
The Ugly Truth? More weak brands exist than strong ones.
I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t want you falling into that fold. So take this as a lesson about not branding around your greatest gift, truth, and passion.
Your Truth is always be the very best option.
Dangers of DIYing Your Brand
- DANGER 1: Copying (That looks good on her, why not me?)
- DANGER 2: Being Beige (Why your competition matters.)
- DANGER 3: Getting It Wrong (& not realizing it soon enough!)
- STORY: The time I accidentally went after my LEAST ideal clients.
- DANGER FOUR: Wasting A Ton of Money And Time
Dangers of DIYing Your Brand
DIYing your Personal Brand is a slippery slope.
Don’t get me wrong, it can done. But if you can get a true brand builder or marketer to weigh in, all the better.
So many phonies are floating around the web that tell you it’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s the best route. And that sounds soooo attractive to someone building or re-positioning an already existing brand.
Do not be fooled by these claims.
Doing It Yourself…that’s so 2006. The standards for web presence and functionality have evolved. BIG TIME.
An online brand is no longer just a good looking website with your name all over it. Customers are looking for an experience when they visit your site. They want to relate to you, understand you, and connect with you.
Customers want to uniquely get caught up in your story. DIYing that is a pretty tall order…
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest dangers DIY can bring to your brand.
DANGER 1: Copying (That looks good on her, why not me?)
When you’re building a brand, it’s pretty common (and a good idea) to research other brands occupying your space. What makes them stand out, what you like and dislike, who they are targeting, how they present their products…you know the drill.
But it is NOT OKAY to be a copycat.
Not their colors, not their design, not their services, not their copy, not their ANYTHING.
Just because you REALLY, REALLY like something about a person’s brand–that doesn’t give you the right to rip it off. A huge disadvantage of DIY is that you don’t get a professional brander’s or designer’s help. Unless you hire a person who also likes to copy others. You’re all on your own…and if web design and branding isn’t your greatest talent, you’re going to have a hard time competing in your market.
That might hurt to read, but it’s true.
- Don’t you get a little worried when you visit a subpar website?
- Don’t you find it hard to relate to a brand if they take forever to load?
- Don’t you judge websites with poor design or low quality pictures?
- Don’t you find comfort and trust in a perfectly designed website?
- Be honest–don’t you roll your eyes when you read the same lingo for the hundred millionth time?
If you end up copying someone’s brand, consciously or unconsciously, you are admitting that you can’t do it better than them. And moreover, if you can’t be original, then what will make you stand out in the marketplace?
Lastly, I think it’s important to note that sometimes we forget where we found an idea–we subconsciously copy. Here’s how to prevent copycatting when doing market research on competitors…
- Learn your competitor’s strengths–but only use them to get stronger.
- Take what you love about another brand–then make something even more beautiful.
- Figure out how they became original–and reveal what makes you authentic.
Not only does resisting DIY ensure you aren’t copying anyone, it also makes certain you are going to look GOOD online.
P.S. It always help to write these things down!
DANGER 2: Being Beige (Why your competition matters)
Even if you don’t copy someone, you are still at risk of Being Beige.
This means blending into the crowd. Looking the same, talking the same, offering the same things. It dilutes the market, and it’s incredibly hard to stand out in a sea of beige.
DIYers tend to launch cannonball directly into the beige.
Think about a DIY project… Do you literally do it yourself? Do you come up with the idea, make your own instruction, choose your own materials…without ANY help or inspiration from someone online?
Likely, the answer is NOPE.
It’s okay to DIY a rundown dresser transformation or build your own pallet wall, but your personal brand should be treated much better, much bigger than that.
Your personal brand is an expression of yourself, unless you are wildly inventive and skilled at tech, branding, and design…you will most likely DIY yourself a very, very Beige brand.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Run to the roar?”
It means that while all the other animals in the jungle are scurrying away from the roar, you are the one that runs to it. You are NOT apart of the crowd. You are fearless.
I love my competition. Why? Because they show me what NOT to do. If they all run in one direction, you can bet that I’m headed the opposite direction.
While they blend into the beige, I’m focused on ALWAYS staying Red Hot. Redesigning my website, refueling my SEO, offering new services before anyone else, going with my gut and staying as original as possible.
Don’t you dare slip into that drab beige.
DANGER 3: Getting It Wrong (& not realizing it soon enough!)
In the world of DIY, you’re usually alone…
If you are truly alone in your personal brand build and launch, then you don’t have anyone giving you feedback. It’s so important to listen to what others think of your brands. When you’re working that hard on something…all by yourself…you tend to live in a bubble.
Have you ever had one of those “AMAZING” ideas while you fall asleep?
You write it down, right? What usually happens is that you think your idea is absolutely incredible…then you wake up, have some coffee, remember your idea…and suddenly you realize it wasn’t really all that great.
This happens because you exited your bubble. The idea is only amazing in that brief, blissful falling-asleep phase.
What if you launched your brand…and you thought WAY too small?
If you launch your brand to a hyper-niche market, you might have some success…but your ceiling will be quite low.
It’s like those actors that get typecast…always playing the same role in every movie.
Hugh Grant…the awkward, romantic Englishman
Jennifer Aniston…c’mon she’s Rachel from Friends for-ever
Liam Neeson…always the dad from Taken
Will Ferrell…the outrageous funny guy (but most often remembered in Elf swag)
Elijah Wood…he’ll always be our precious Frodo Baggins.
Don’t box yourself in and become a stereotype. You should always leave room for growth!
One time…I accidentally went after my LEAST ideal clients.
A long, long time ago…I launched a brand.
It was beautifully designed, ran fast on both mobile and desktop sites, the copywriting was killer, I thought it was perfect…and for the most part, it was.
That’s why this mistake stung so badly…
I made one HUGE mistake–I accidentally went after the absolute LEAST ideal clients ever. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad people…they just were sooo NOT the ideal clients I was looking for.
They didn’t have the problems I could solve…at least not with my genius. They weren’t able to pay what I was charging. And overall we didn’t relate with one another.
When you work with clients beneath your genius, it rarely ends well.
- You may get the job done, but you will likely hate the work.
- You may love the client’s personal branding goals, but they could be a nightmare to work with.
- You might even make the money you seek, but your client will demand more work than you agreed upon.
- They’re so remedial, they don’t get that you’ve just given them the keys to a f-ing Ferarri that smoothly flies at 120mph and simultaneously leaves a trail of money wherever it goes.
In order to prevent a branding danger such as this, your brand needs to be smart, targeted, and well-critiqued BEFORE launch!
GET OUT OF THE BUBBLE.
Outside feedback and troubleshooting is key here. If you’re DIYing, you need to test your brand before launch. Get to know what others think, what they like, what they fear. Some advice on handling that…
- Be humble.</>
- Take the critiques.
- Trust yourself when you know you’re right.
- Keep moving forward.
Remember to bring in some trusted feedback before blasting your brand into the marketplace. It’s hard to get that vulnerable…but you better address that before putting yourself center stage on the world wide web.
DANGER FOUR: Wasting A Ton of Money And Time
I see this happen most often when someone tries to re-brand…
They’re having trouble with their existing brand…it’s bringing in the wrong clients, they’re looking to make more money with their brand, it’s old and outdated…they’re having all kinds of problems.
So, naturally, they think they need a new (or revised) brand.
If a brand isn’t working the way it was intended to…rebranding will rarely solve the problem. It usually goes much deeper than that…
When a brand fails to perform, it was 9 times out of 10– it was never truly branded to begin with.
What this means is that the personal brander settled for something surface level, or they convinced themselves of a lie. Their brand wasn’t built around a greatest gift, it didn’t reveal true personality, and it wasn’t designed strategically enough to target the right kind of clients.
Unfortunately DIYers are extremely susceptible to this kind of mistake. You don’t need experts, but you do need someone who has experience with personal branding.
Brands like these will not make any real progress. No matter how many times you revise or re-brand…you won’t find the success you’re looking for until you are fully, TRULY branded.
Don’t stop short of your greatest gift.
Don’t give the people what they want. Give them what you have to offer.
Evidence That You’ve Got It Right
- For starters, SALES.
- Look At Your Tribe
- Followers–They’re A BIG Deal
Now that we’ve covered some of the major dangers of DIYing your brand, let’s take a walk on the brighter side…
How do you know if your personal brand is doing WELL?
FACTOR ONE: For starters, SALES.
Sales numbers do not lie. They’re a naked, tell-all way to understand how productive your personal brand is performing.
Sales allow you to…
- Take Risks
- Survive Pitfalls
It’s extremely important to track your sales numbers, your profit margins, the whole shebang.
One of the very first things any mentor or helpful veteran will tell you: know your damn numbers.
Not knowing your numbers is like…not knowing which button is SAFETY and which one is FIRE.
You can’t be very effective at your mission if you don’t know how to use your weapon. A personal brand can be an extremely effective tool for your mission–to bank more, to make lasting impacts, to accomplish your dreams.
But if you don’t know how profitable your brand is, how do you know if your time is worth it? How do you know if need to make immediate changes? How do you know if you’re charging enough? Or too little?
Sales are everything to a brand. They are the lifeforce to your continued success–and the diary holding every secret to your failures and successes.
FACTOR TWO: The evidence is in your tribe.
Much like analyzing your sales data, Tribe Data is incredibly important, too.
If you’re gaining followers at a steady, consistent pace–GOOD.
Even if you’re a young personal brand, you don’t need to gain 10k new Tribe Members a day (but man, what if you could…) to know that your brand is growing its following. But Tribal numbers reveal a lot more than just growth factors…
The more followers you have, the greater potential you have for growth. Keyword here is: POTENTIAL.
As with any investment…the more you put in–the more you can earn.
Your tribe isn’t all that much different. Instead of just using money to interact and court them, you’re investing with time, energy, and activity.
This goes beyond simply finding quality followers (which is super freaking important), this is about offering the followers you have something worth sticking around for. If you do this well, it can turn into a serious, serious source of FREE referrals.
When you take care of your tribe, and you remain genuinely interested and active with them, it WILL pay off. Not everyone’s going to buy from you. Accept that now. But active tribe members that really love you?
They WILL spread your word and promote your success–get this–to ideal clients, just like you themselves. That’s an investment worth making!
And hey, it doesn’t take a million bucks or man hours to earn that benefit. My suggestion is to remain active daily.
- Touch base with your entire tribe.
- Surprise them with freebies.
- Reach out 1-on-1.
- Team them something.
- Show them your personal life.
- Get real with them.
- Let them in on sneak-peeks.
- Ask for their advice.
- Get them engaged with one another.
- Answer questions.
You can do ALL of this and more from your keyboard.
But if you only do the minimum amount, like only offering surface level goods, barely getting active with your tribe, never courting them in any way…you won’t get much activity out of your people! After a while of inactivity, you’ll even begin to lose followers.
Growing numbers of followers allow you to see how HOT your brand is. They also let you know that people are genuinely interested in your content–enough to commit to subscribe or follow you.
That’s how you know you’re on the right track!
The size of your following…DOES MATTER.
The size of your tribe isn’t going to be AS measurable a metric like sales, but it does allow you to do some pretty awesome things.
It makes it cheaper for you to advertise.
This, in my opinion, is the best perk of a large following. Simply post to your group, email your list, or hand-pick ideal followers for different sales activities–and you just advertised for free.
That’s amazing. You can’t buy cheaper advertising than this right here.
A big following proves that you are an authority.
Let’s face it. When you’re trying to find, like anything, on the internet, don’t you trust the number of likes or follows? Like when I’m searching for a video on youtube, more often than not I trust the one with 10 million views over the one with 1000.
The more followers you have, the more credibility you have (and the higher you will rank).
You could go viral in a matter of days…if you reach the right kind of people.
Going viral, hell, we all dream of that from time to time. Honestly, there’s no hard science to virility.
Sure you need your content to be infectious, highly shareable, intelligent, and easily relatable…
But going viral is, more often than not, something of a perfect storm. If you just so happen to develop the perfect content, at the perfect time, and the perfect audience discovers it. You’ll blow that mountain sky high!
Followers are a WAY bigger deal than you realize…
You wouldn’t sleep with someone at first glance…right?
Lol no way. You need that someone to buy you a drink. Take you dancing. Watch a movie with you. Get married. You get the point…
Every new follower you get–I want you to tell yourself that you just had your first kiss.
It may sound a little weird, but that follow just committed to re-engaging with you. You just got a second date. A new opportunity.
They want to see what you have to say, what you have to offer, what you can give them, and where you can take them. That’s HUGE.
Revealing Yourself To The World
- ELEMENT #1: Your Message (WHAT YOU SAY)
- A Total Expression of Yourself In The Form of a Personal Brand
- BRAND PROFILE: MARIE FORLEO
- ELEMENT #2: Your Voice (HOW YOU SAY IT & WHAT YOU SPEAK ABOUT)
- Speak to your ideal audience…world domination will come later.
- The Power of Revealing Yourself
- ELEMENT #3: Your Visual Brand (HOW YOU LOOK)
- VISUALIZE: YOUR LOGO
- VISUALIZE: YOUR COLORS
- VISUALIZE: PHOTOGRAPHY
- VISUALIZE: FONT
So it’s finally time to reveal yourself to the world.
Like I said from the beginning, I’m going to be honest with you throughout this entire guide. With that said–revealing yourself to the world is not an easy task.
Even the pros, the millionaires, the fearless–they get a little scared when I ask them to do this…
This is one of the most defining aspects of a personal brand. You only get ONE first launch, so you damn well better make it count. This about this…
“The human attention span today is 8 seconds.” (VentureBeat, 2016)
After you’ve launched…it’s done. You’re already out in the world. Visited. Archived. Seen. Judged. And when those visitors start stopping by, checking you out–if you aren’t prepared to catch their interest IMMEDIATELY, you risk never seeing them again (EVEN WITH A RE-BRAND)!
It’s insanely important to make sure you present yourself with your best foot forward from the very get-go.
Whether you’re personal branding for possible employers or seeking to establish your presence in a particular market, personal brands must refine Three Key Elements before launch day…
ELEMENT #1: Your Message (WHAT YOU SAY)
When preparing to launch a personal brand, your message is probably the hardest aspect of to pin down.
Trust me, you’ll find the right colors for your brand. You’ll figure out your services. You’ll find a way to Get This Tech Done Right.
But your brand message…that’s a whole other story. This goes well beyond copywriting (even though it helps to have, or BE, a kickass copywriter). Above all else, your message must be:
CONSISTENT & CLEAR
And I’m not just talking about your website. Think about your social media, your LinkedIn profile, your advertising, your emails. EVERYTHING you say, must flow together well in a clear and consistent manner. No matter how someone discovers your personal brand, it should always express the same thing.
A Total Expression of Yourself In The Form of a Personal Brand
Your message should be alive! What you choose to express should say, in every possible form, I’m here to help you do THIS, because I want to achieve THIS, and nobody else in the world can help you with THIS like I can.
I mean, you don’t wake up one day and dress like a spurs-and-Stetson Cowboy and the next like a hardcore-since-1990 heavy metal fan…
You don’t drastically change the way you express yourself on any given day–and you shouldn’t get caught up making big change after big change to your brand. Think about this…
It takes 5-7 impressions for someone to remember a brand. (Kredible, 2016)
If you change your brand day-in, day-out, you may not even be recognized by potential followers–people who are just a click or two, an impression or two, away from engaging in your brand in a new and bigger way.
Let’s take at an in-depth look at a clear, consistent, and absolutely killer personal brand message….
I want you to click the name below and browse this site with me.
Marie Forleo. One of my all-time favorite personal brands. You visit her website, and soon the freebie pops up, “How To Get Anything You Want.”
Isn’t that an inviting message?
Of course you download her free audio course, and then you’re on the homepage watching brilliant words appear, “The world needs that special gift that only you have.”
Don’t you feel compelled to learn more?
Move your cursor over her name in the top left corner and you’ll read awesome lines like this: Make Silly Faces. Make Mashed Potatoes. Make Your Dreams Real. Make New Friends. Make A Bold Move. Make Weird Art. Make Success Inevitable.
Can’t you feel the consistency here?
On her about page, you’ll notice this line, “I was also passionate about a multitude of seemingly unconnected things: writing, hip-hop, psychology, entrepreneurship, creativity, spirituality, fitness and philanthropy, just to name a few.”
Aren’t you beginning to get a sense of who she is?
Click on more, then This Is How We Roll. This page is packed with incredible copywriting, like, “We believe everything is figureoutable.” This more than just good writing, it’s personal, it’s fun, it’s a total expression of who Marie is and what she has to offer.
Marie Forleo is a serial entrepreneur. She built her brand around A LOT of quirky interests and character traits. And even though some are awfully unexpected, she doesn’t hide who she really, truly is.
That’s takes a lot of courage!
Remember, consistency and clarity are key when forming your brand message. In my opinion, the best way to achieve this is to be truthful. When you tell the truth, you don’t have to rack your brain for lie-deas.
You don’t have to make up a story, and then try your damndest to act it out.
So I push every one of my clients to showcase their truest self in the most endearing and enthusiastic way possible…and the consistency will come easy.
Trust yourself. It’s easier.
ELEMENT #2: Your Voice (HOW YOU SAY IT & WHAT YOU SPEAK ABOUT)
Your Personal Brand’s voice is so mother-loving crucial.
Voice is the way you choose to make your message unique. Which thoughts you share, which words you use to express yourself, every decision you make to showcase your personality and brand.
Like how I used “mother-loving” up above, that’s voice!
It’s how you say what you say.
What makes voice so important in your personal brand reveal? It gives your brand another dimension of personality that goes beyond visual aesthetic.
Are you serious as balls? Quirky? Uptight? Charming? Kinda vulgar? Sarcastic?
Your audience is going to either relate to your voice…or reject it. And that’s okay. If a group of potential leads don’t relate to your voice, you should not change yourself to attract them. Instead, you should seek the groups of people that WANT to interact with you.
Still, keep in mind that the competition is out there working hard just like you…and not just in your home market.
Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day. (American Marketing Association)
Let’s say you sleep 8 hours a night. That means you’re awake (for the most part) for about 16 hours a day. Now to do some quick mental Google math…
EVERY SINGLE HOUR, you are exposed to 625 brands.
The reason this guide advocates so strongly for your brand’s voice to be built on authenticity, to represent who you really are, is because that’s how you’re going to attract your Most Ideal Clients. Given how constantly exposed we are to brands each day, you shouldn’t be thinking about earning the attention of everyone in the world.
Just speak to those who are right for you…world domination will come later.
People you relate with–and people who relate with you.
As you develop your voice, refining it and expanding its reach, I want you to keep in mind these the goals of a properly honed voice. Your brand’s voice should be use to…
- Attract potential clients.
- Keep them on your site.
- Make them want to come back.
- Encourage them to work with you.
The more ways you open up (#reveal) yourself to the world, the more likely it will be that best-candidate consumers and potential followers will relate to you–and eventually want to work with you in some way, shape, or form.
That’s kind of a big deal.
Think of your Personal Brand Voice like a rain barrel–the bigger your funnel, the more rain drops you can catch, and the more plants you can water.
Put simply: the more leads you catch, the bigger you’ll be able to grow your brand, profits, and business.
Your voice must be very dynamic. Think back to Marie Forleo, she isn’t always crazy professional, but don’t you trust her voice?
Don’t you relate to her?
Don’t you remember her style?
Don’t you think she’s an authority?
If you said yes (or kinda), then you’re likely a good candidate to pursue her brand further. On the other hand, if you didn’t dig her stuff at all, then so be it. Don’t worry–she’s simply not the personal brand for you.
In order for you to get people to relate to your personal brand, and not reject it, then you have to use your REAL voice as a beacon. Sure, clean it up, iron it out, be strategic with your voice, and damnit you’ve got to be yourself!
When consumers are looking at over 10k brand messages a day, you HAVE to put every aspect of your personal brand to work when your ideal client stumbles across your site.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
ELEMENT #3: Your Visual Brand (HOW YOU LOOK)
When it comes to personal branding…looks matter.
I can’t tell you how often I see a beautifully designed website, one that’s built strong and smart like a Harley Davidson…
But all of the content looks like CRAP.
- The images are low-quality.
- Portraits were poorly shot (and with bad wardrobe choices).
- The color schemes clash (and not in a good way).
- The logo doesn’t make any sense.
- The fonts are difficult to read.
You could have all of the big picture, framework, and tech stuff built by the best in the business…but if your content looks like crap, none of that matters.
It’s like taking your Ferrari down a dirt road. Why live in the past when you could open it up on some blacktop?
Let’s touch on some of the issues I described above in a bit more depth…
VISUALIZE: YOUR LOGO
Should your personal brand require a logo, you need to be smart about it.
We’ve talked about “branding in a bubble” earlier in this guide–and that especially applies here.
Honestly, who doesn’t want a logo? It’s such an exciting thing to think about, and even moreso for a personal brander. Logos are a personal and intimate thing to develop and choose, like getting a tattoo, and that’s why they’re so easily messed up.
The Common Mistake: If you design a logo, make sure the rest of the world understands what it represents.
That means you need to workshop it, have multiple options, and field-test the relevancy! Be humble and get feedback that you actually spend time reflecting on…instead of rejecting immediately.
Here’s one of my business’s logos. It’s literally just the brand name. I mean, c’mon. My name is all clients need to see to understand who I am and what I do.
Is the Chinese character for “truth” going to resonate more with my clients? I doubt it. I chose to simply write my brand name in a clean, no-nonsense way–because that’s how my business operates–straight-up, open, and honest at all times.
Sure, your logo can have some personal elements attached, but the point of a personal brand logo is to make yourself recognizable.
My final piece of advice on this topic: not all brands need a logo…sometimes your name is the very best logo choice you can make!
VISUALIZE: YOUR COLORS
Colors, colors, colors. How do you choose your brand’s colors?
Well, first of all, don’t immediately think you should personalize (the shit out of your colors) and simply choose your favorite-in-the-whole-wide-world shades…
There is a deep psychology behind colors.
When we see a certain color, it evokes an emotion in us. The emotions become even more nuanced when you examine the different shades of a certain color.
Trippy, right? Needless to say colors require some serious strategy.
The right color can improve readership by as much as 40%, by attracting the eye and being easy to read. (Business2Community)
Take blue, for instance. It’s is the most popular color in the branding world. Why? Because it evokes trust and dependability. Think Ford. GE. Walmart. Truth Hacking. Blue was perfect for my business, really a match made in heaven.
So don’t think I picked it just because it was my fav, and honestly I didn’t choose it just for the emotion behind it either. I won’t share my secrets, but the shade of my colors, the white contrast, the different shades and tones, they all add up to evoke a very specific feeling.
I found these killer insights on Entrepreneur.com in an articled called, “The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding”…
“Additional studies have revealed that our brains prefer recognizable brands, which makes color incredibly important when creating a brand identity. It has even been suggested in Color Research & Application that it is of paramount importance for new brands to specifically target logo colors that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors (if the competition all uses blue, you’ll stand out by using purple).” (Entrepreneur, 2016)
Here, future competitors, an idea you might consider.
If you explore this route of differentiation, you may think about opposing my blue with its opposite color on the spectrum, orange.
See? Colors are a dynamic and complex area of personal branding! Whichever colors you land on, just make sure they’re not there just to look pretty…
Put them to work!
This is one of my biggest pet peeves of all time.
The year is 2017. You can take HD photos from your child’s iPad mini. So don’t tell me you were unable to take a high-quality, not-grainy photo for your brand.
Get-with-the-times rant aside, professional photography matters.
Not only do you need to ensure ALL of your images are of the highest quality possible, you also need to be mindful of the content. Don’t just throw a bunch of cool stock pictures around on your site or social media…because you like them.
Every piece of photography related to your brand should advance it somehow.
Don’t skimp on strategy!
If you’re having headshots or personal pictures taken for your brand’s page and other profiles, you need to be very mindful of your wardrobe.
When you select your wardrobe, think about it the same way you’d approach brand voice and color. BE strategic with your expression. Make sure the tone of your outfits matches what you’re offering.
You don’t need to be decked out from head-to-toe in heels and a dress (or a tux), if your brand is laid back or not formal at all.
And you shouldn’t wear sandals and shorts if you’re going for a super professional look…this should go without saying. But people do it everyday–and here’s why…
- They already have photos of themselves they like (and they wanna share them).
- They don’t want to take or pay for a professional photo shoot.
That is pure laziness in my opinion. Every average-sized town has pro- or semi-pro photographers milling around looking for work. You can spare a few hours of your day to do this–and you absolutely should!
Every well-established brand in the world has a style guide.
Once you get big enough, you really start to streamline the consistency aspects of your brand. Font. Colors. Logos. What to do and what NOT to do.
Some fonts are acceptable for emails, some only for web content. Some colors only pop on the site, others only in advertisements. Some logos only belong on print, others only online.
Regardless, of these aspects, I feel font is the most underrated element of a brand.
Few take the time to research and choose a font that speaks their truth…
Often times, when someone is launching a brand (ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY DIY), they will choose from a shortlist of popular fonts…likely supplied by WordPress.
But if you’re going to stand out as a unique and authentic brand–your font is nothing to shrug off.
Authenticity is not all just about writing “y’all” to show you’re from the south, or “wicked” to show you root for the Patriots.
I researched thousands of fonts before choosing the font for my brand. And listen, if you don’t know this, there are millions of fonts to choose from…
Font is the accent of the online world. It’s your online dialect. Your followers can’t hear your speech, so be sure to utilize font to give your personal brand writing a personalization.
Modern Strategies To Build Your Brand And Stay Relevant
- How to stay up-to-date with Modern Personal Branding Strategies
- STEP #1: The Art of Ditching for Sales.
- STEP #2: Choose the right social media for your Personal Brand.
- STEP #3: Consider business card alternatives. Duh.
- Is Blogging Still Relevant?
- If you’re a writer…
- If you’re not a writer…
- Drop the fear.
The modern world of branding is a whirlwind. Every single day, there are changes. Some that you see–some that only happen behind closed servers.
Security certificates, SEO, layouts, video, communication avenues. Not only is change frequent across virtually every brand that utilizes online tools for their business, us Personal Branders work in a cycle of technology that will NEVER stop evolving.
In order to stay relevant in this system of change, Personal Branders must constantly adapt to new trends and innovations.
It isn’t just important to stay up to date with modern personal branding strategies…it is VITAL.
You know those Business Cards you’re still holding onto? They are sooo 2004. Ditch em’. They’re done. Caput. Finito.
88% of business cards handed out get thrown away in less than a week (SilkCards, 2017).
At some point, between 2004 and 2005, we crossed a threshold where having an online presence (a Personal Brand) became more important than keeping a fresh deck of business cards on your person at all times.
Trust me, I was a business card fanatic–traveling to events, networking at conferences, confidently approaching experts ready to deliver my elevator pitch and a card.
For your sake and mine…
Here’s a step by step guide to ditch your business cards–and immediately get up to speed with Modern Personal Branding Strategies.
STEP #1: The Art of Ditching for Sales.
Ditch ALL remaining business cards in random places across town as bus stops, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, Petco, wherever you want (but maybe save a few for a keepsake).
STEP #2: Choose the right social media for your Personal Brand.
You don’t need to be on EVERY social media platform…you just need to be on the right ones. Here’s a glance at each platform’s uses…
- LinkedIn: Designed for the industry professional, the networker, the entrepreneur, B2B brands, career employees. In terms of social media, this is as businesslike as it gets. Consider it an extension of your more professional self. You can upload resumes, blogs, have your skills endorsed by others…if you need to showcase your dapper side, this is the way to do so.
- Facebook: This is, in my book, a must-have for personal brandes. You can create groups, advertise, interact with other experts in the field, and share your brand identity to the world in a big way.
- Twitter: Wield this platform with care! Twitter has always been relevant, but now it’s beginning to become a necessity for virality and on-demand news. Best for those who have a large tribe, witty humor, brevity, and are responsible with their 280 character count (and the upcoming Tweetstorm feature)!
- Instagram: If you’re a writer, you probably don’t need to be on Instagram. Still, it’s a great way to publish the behind-the-scenes of your personal brands–the days off, your family, your home. This is the best platform for letting followers gain a better understanding of you and your brand. If you’re good with photos (and have interesting shots to share), IG is for you!
The next time you meet someone and feel compelled to give them your card, I challenge you to ask for their number instead. Tell them you’ll text them your social links. You might just make a new follower out of them!
It’s a ballsy move, but in the world of personal branding, you have to take risks! Whatever you do–don’t you dare pull out a business card. For some, this might come easy. For others, you have to push yourself to change.
STEP #3: Consider business card alternatives. Duh.
Once you have built up a good amount of followers, rather than trying to connect with them each individually–your goal is to make them come to you.
Email Marketing is arguably the best strategy to do this on a large scale. Not only is email marketing accessible to all personal branders, it costs next to nothing to do.
Consider using automated systems like Drip.com to do things like…
- Schedule email marketing campaigns
- Segment and personalize your subscribers
- Track your clicks, opens, and conversions
- Manager your subscriber list
Even if you don’t have the a large subscriber list or the need for automation, you can still Cold Email Clients you really wish to work with. I’ve had awesome success simply typing up an email and beginning a conversation with a potential client.
Is Blogging Still Relevant?
Blogging has long been one of the most important facets of personal branding…but is it still as relevant as it once was?
I’m not so sure…
Let’s take a look at the History of Blogging.
Blog (n): a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by one or more authors
- 1994: The first blog was published. People called them “Weblogs” at first, and soon after, thank goodness, that was shortened to Blog.
- 1999: Blogging was available to anyone with a computer and an ethernet port.
- 2003: Google created AdSense, which gave bloggers the ability to monetize their blog with paid ads. AND WordPress was founded. *Wow, this was a critical year…
- 2006: Blogging went mainstream for both personal and business use. Twitter was founded, and was considered to be a “micro-blogging platform.”
- 2013: 152 million blogs now exist.
- 2016: Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages (Blogging.com, 2016)
Back in the olden days, blogging was whatever you wanted it to be–an online journal, a newsletter, a way to publish opinionated articles.
It was a simpler time…
Once blogs we able to be monetized, everything changed. Standard, cookie-cutter, featureless blogs were no longer relevant.
People wanted hyperlinks, pictures, videos, infographics, and other interactive features. They wanted richer content, How-To posts, longer word counts, digital media, more, more, more!
Nowadays, the average blog post takes 3 hours 16 minutes to write (Orbit Media, 2017).
…imagine how long this Definitive Guide took me to write!
Today, blogs are driven by data. Rather than just voicing your opinion online, you have to take into account SEO, Keywords, Strategic Copywriting, Word Count and so much more.
So here’s my advice…if you’re a writer.
- Blog your heart out, but do so with an intelligent strategy.
- Blog, but adapt to the constant changes.
- Blog for killer SEO and indexing.
- Blog to prove you’re the authority in your market.
- Blog to help your followers and subscribers.
- Blog, but don’t put ALL of your time into it.
If you’re a writer, blogging CAN still make your brand relevant. You have a lot of factors to take in, but if you follow the trends and put the work in, blogging is NOT dead.
And if you’re not a writer…
You need to take your talent elsewhere.
Right now video is absolutely blowing up (especially on Facebook…according to CoScheduler’s Blog Post, How To Do Facebook Video Marketing The Right Way,
they’re getting 32 BILLION views per DAY). Video is one of the best ways you can become relatable with your audience.
Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text (IMPACT, 2017)
Remember, your personal brand should be built around your greatest talents. Do not be afraid to put those talents to use–and be careful not to ditch them for what the “experts” are telling you to do.
That statistic above might make a writer second guess their skills, but if you’re not meant for video…trust me, that statistic is false.
If you shoot a poorly made video, awkward and clumsy, viewer will NOT retain 95% of your message
But have no fear…you’re a writer, right?
Get creative, write an incredible script–and have someone else perform it. No matter what your gift is, when modern strategies change, don’t think you can’t capitalize on something new.
Find a way to leverage the new trend and put it to work for your brand.
In the end, staying relevant with Modern Personal Branding Strategies depends on your willingness to adapt. Your talents will remain the same, but you’ll always have to figure out where they belong in this ever-changing world of personal branding.
Stick to your talents–and always, ALWAYS run to the roar.
YOU WANT MORE? GET IT HERE.
- You DON’T have all the answers.
- I DON’T have all the answers.
- Your Free Bankable Brand Session.
YOU WANT MORE? GET IT HERE.
If you’ve finished this guide, then trust me…
You DON’T have all the answers.
I’m not saying this because I withheld information from you. This guide…
- Didn’t keep secret the key to unlocking bankable brand factors.
- Wasn’t meant to be a “silver-bullet” for every personal brand.
- Was never intended to give the DIYer an extra boost.
The so-called “experts” are gonna tell you lies like that. But I never will…
No way. Instead, I wrote this to reveal just how much experience it takes to understand the world of personal branding. #nobullshit
After nearly 10 years navigating the personal branding industry–I’ve had just about every kind of client there is. Celebs. Health food junkies. Master investors. Venture capitalists. Network marketers. Oddball genius entrepreneurs. Every kind of personal brand you can think of.
I DON’T have all the answers.
But I can tell you what will work and what won’t in a matter of seconds. If you spend ten years studying the world’s most intricate painting, you’d know just about every detail.
But you don’t have the time or the will to learn personal branding like I did. That’s what my passion is–and helping others create dynamite personal brands is my gift.
So because you finished this guide, you’re gonna get a free Bankable Brand Session, too.
- 30 minutes.
- You (TBA Kickass Personal Brand) & Me (Monaica Ledell, The Positioner™)
- A nonstop question-answer.
- Big stuff and small stuff.
- Whatever you need.
That’s why I can call this guide DEFINITIVE.
I’m giving you the chance to find the answers you seek, nail down the personal brand you need, and get bankable as quickly as possible.
Ready to put your greatest gifts to work? Let’s do this.