By Chelsea Berler, author of “The Curious One: From Food Stamps to CEO – One Woman’s Journey through Struggle, Tragedy, Success and Love“
You’re not a computer or smartphone manufacturer. You’re not a box of cereal, a tube of toothpaste, or a can of dog food. You’re sure not Oprah or Donald Trump. And, you’re not part of a herd of cattle, either.
So, why the heck do you need to be branded?
Why I needed my own brand.
After being in business for years, I discovered (the hard way) that I needed a personal brand. When I was doing everything myself, I kinda’, sorta’ knew instinctively what I wanted and where I wanted to go. I always stood for something and had a real passion for it.
But, when I reached out for copywriting help, things got a little muddier. While I knew what I wanted and who I was, it was all in my own head. And I found that it was hard (nearly impossible) to verbalize all that stuff floating around in my brain to someone else.
I couldn’t specifically set myself apart from the crowd, even though I knew I was different. After all, I was fun and little quirky, with non-stop drive, business savvy, resourcefulness, out-of-the-box thinking, and a helpful, can-do attitude. Everyone can see that, right?
Yet, the copywriter was confused. And the result was that posts were jumping all over the place, my content wasn’t as focused as it should be. It just wasn’t me. I needed a platform for my passion… one that would also enable me to build sustainable relationships with clients and other professionals. I needed a living, breathing personal brand.
So together my copywriter and I clearly defined and focused my brand personality. And you need to do the same, especially if you’re creating content, building a business, looking for a job, or simply living a life with focus and meaning.
Easy path to brand-building.
According to entrepreneur and business author Bernard Kelvin Clive, you have to understand that, “A personal brand is more than just a creative name, cute logo or a complimentary card; it’s a promise of value, it’s a distinctive voice, it’ s a core message, it’s passion driven by purpose, it’s a positive impact that creates an impression.”
That means that you are what your brand says you are! Powerful stuff, right?
A recent article in Entrepreneur delivers the “4 Basics for Building (or Repairing) Your Personal Brand:”
- Start with a strategy. From my own personal experience, I can tell you that if you don’t have one there’s going to be a major disconnect between your own thinking and the perceptions others have of you. Start with excitement about your own real passions. Be yourself, only better.
- Be credible and authentic. And stick with your values.
- Focus on the target audience. Look at their emotional needs, feelings and perceptions.
- Maintain an online reputation. Cultivate a positive and consistent online image, including recommendations and connections.
Next, create your brand voice.
In developing the Mostly Chelsea Brand, we put together a list of words that described who I am, what I stand for, and where I want to go.
I encourage you to do the same. Make a list of words that describe you and how you want people to perceive you. These should be powerful words unique to you… words like resourceful, savvy, and inspiring.
Then, make your own Brand Voice Chart. There are three columns across the top: Voice Characteristic, Description, and Writing Tips. In the Voice Characteristic column list your top 6-8 descriptive words. In the Description column, explain what you mean by that word (how it applies to you). In the Writing Tips column, spell out how that word applies to your content… how to communicate that word in copy.
For example, in my Mostly Chelsea Brand Voice Chart, one of the Voice Characteristics is “savvy.” In the Description column, it says, “Business-smart, clever and witty. Never stodgy or condescending. Up on latest trends and help, but never pushy.” And for Writing Tips, the explanation is simply, “Write clear, concise, direct and to the point. Avoid jargon and business words du jour.”
This Brand Voice Chart is who you are and describes how to communicate that message. It’s a piece of cake once you chart it out… and follow that chart in your content development. Easy-peasy!
The personal brand advantage.
With a clearly defined brand and brand voice, my message is always consistent. The Mostly Chelsea Brand is constant, as is the messaging. No matter whether I am writing about myself or someone else is helping me. No matter whether I am speaking in front of large group or talking to a client one-on-one. The brand message and voice are reliable.
The same will be true for you, too, when you have a clear personal brand. Your personal brand will be your value proposition… what you bring to the table. It makes you unique, real, and authentic (maybe even a little risky)… and that’s all good.
“Don’t assume that being authentic will turn people off,” business author Meg Guiseppi explains. “Nobody is interested in working with a cookie cutter.”
© 2014 Chelsea Berler, author of The Curious One: From Food Stamps to CEO — One Woman’s Journey through Struggle, Tragedy, Success and Love
Chelsea Berler, author of “The Curious One: From Food Stamps to CEO – One Woman’s Journey through Struggle, Tragedy, Success and Love“, was born curious. From a young age — she felt a pull to think differently. Today, Chelsea is the CEO of a boutique, marketing agency that supports businesses around the world. But more than that, she is a champion for people who are driven to bring their talent and greatness into the world on their own terms.