What is a Personal Brand?
You’re a creative entrepreneur plugging away at growing your business and working to build your brand. Then you hit a common creative entrepreneur roadblock: you are your business, but are you your brand?
I’ll admit, the concept of branding can be abstract, and I have been in the business since 1999. Add in the distinction between your personal brand and your business brand and it’s enough to throw a wrench in your whole system.
Growing up I looked up to the personal branding of single name musicians. Think Cher, Prince and Madonna, you can’t get more personally branded than that.
During Super Bowl halftime, as they were showing the video montage of past performers like Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, they showed a performer behind a curtain holding a funny shaped guitar in his crotch, moving to the music. Know who that was? We don’t even have to see Prince to know it’s him. His “Love Symbol” guitar tells the story.
With my favorite single-named music legends in mind, you can see how approaching the concept of personal branding with a Google search won’t do much for us creative entrepreneurs. Google “What is a personal brand?” and you’ll only yield results from Forbes and other big-league career advice blogs, geared toward personal branding for your career.
We’re not aiming for a specific job title and a corner office, we’re aiming for building a business that brings us a whole lot of joy and Benjamins.
That’s why I’m talking about personal branding specifically with you, the creative entrepreneur, in mind. But first:
What is a brand?
Simply put: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – My celebrity crush: Seth Godin
With that definition of a brand, this means that a Brand Experience is created in the mind of your audience, not sheerly by your brand design’s color palette or fonts. Those can evoke feelings, but that’s not what builds a relationship with your audience.
Strong brands arise from consistent practices that combine to form a clear, differentiated overall brand experience.
They all provide a very unique brand experience that has been formed from the various ways they present themselves to their audience through their stories, what they give away as inspiration and the work they produce.
Diving deeper (because that’s what we love to do) there’s a whole list of ingredients that go into building a brand:
Your brand’s guiding insight into the world.
This outward-facing statement is the shortest way to say what your brand’s vision is and what your business has to offer.
The actions, aspirations and truth behind your brand, which should affect everything you do.
While it would be great if your business appealed to everyone, everywhere, finding your focus is what makes a brand last. Your brand differentiators help you set your target markets, talk about yourself in ways that set you apart and help you think about how to best sell your products and services.
Back to the personal brand for a creative entrepreneur:
I work with a lot creative entrepreneurs who ask “Do I need to make my brand about me, or about my business?” I got into a deep conversation about personal branding with a food and prop stylist last week who is interested in what her next step in life is.
This is one of the main points from that conversation:
Your tribe likes to peek into your personal life just as much as they like to see what products and style you curate. If you are an entrepreneur who sells services, guess what: people are buying you. Your expertise, your ideas and your spirit. You are a brand.
One thing you should know about your business’ brand is that it requires infusion, or an overlap, of your personal brand to truly make it a living, breathing thing that your customers can connect with and feel attached to.
Because without that personal touch, people who want to know more aren’t truly getting a brand experience.
Here are some questions to consider when you are thinking about your overall brand experience and how to infuse it with your personal brand.
- Are you selling services or products?
- Are your products curated by you, are you selling your creative eye?
- Are your services closely tied to your artistic abilities or knowledge?
- Are you visibly showing up to your audience in photos, videos, or in-person? AKA: are you the face of your business?
- Do you have a specific outlet where you share your stories or behind-the-scenes of you working in your business?
- What are some ways you can personally show up more for your audience through your business’ brand?
- Tear out a piece of notebook paper, get those answers down in ink! Connect with me on social and let me know how the process is going, this is much of a continued exercise for me as it is for you.
Hi there, I’m Lisa.
I’m a life, brand + business coach. I help ambitious entrepreneurs create a life by design with intention, experience, and insight. Interested in seeing what’s possible for you? Message me and let’s talk.
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