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And in the quick video below, I’m going to talk a little bit about personal branding and especially when it comes to product based businesses. I’ll explain quickly what personal branding is, why it’s important, and I’ll also go through the most critical steps of building a personal brand.
Personal branding for makers, designers, and other product based businesses.
While personal branding is more than just a beautiful, visual wrapper, it’s easier to step out in the spotlight if your brand visuals are polished and make you feel confident about who you are and what your business represents. And while I wholeheartedly advocate for building a thorough brand strategy before jumping to the look & feel, sometimes you need a head start when it comes to visual branding. For that reason, I recommend you check out my Brand Identity Kit ($27). It is the easiest and fastest way to create a beautiful and professional looking branding (logo, colors, fonts) for your business — and the best $27 investment you can make in your brand.
What is personal branding?
Essentially personal branding is branding yourself — or building a brand around yourself. An important part of personal branding is developing and maintaining a reputation and an impression of you as a crucial part of your business.
This is critical, because of what we already know about reputations in general: it’s essentially impacted by what other people say about you behind your back. Think of it this way: what would you want your customers to say about you when you’re not in the room? Why do we want a personal brand?
Why do you need a personal brand?
For three simple reasons: you lead more, you win more, and you earn more. Your customers have to “know, like, and trust” you before they buy from you. And a strong personal brand builds credibility, authority, and trust, so you’re more likely to attract more business.
Having a strong personal brand also helps you connect with your customers. This plays heavily into the “know and like” factor. When you share your story with your customers, those who can relate to it, will feel immediate connection to you and, as a result, to your business. And having a polished brand will of course help you feel confident and makes it easier to show up to your customers.
And finally, having a well thought out personal brand will make you “marketable” in a sense that in the branding process you’ll create different kind of brand assets — some visual and some copy. All this is something you need for marketing. So, in the process you’re making your business and yourself easier to sell and market.
How do you start building a personal brand?
1. Tell your story
For one, we focus on telling your story: your expertise and your experience, your values, and what makes you different and stand out. If you’re a service provider, this is what you’ve likely already been doing. This is nothing new to you.
But if you sell products this might be a bit more foreign to you. You may have gotten used to talking mostly about your products instead of yourself. But everyone has a story to tell, and especially if the products you sell are designed or made by you, you are likely going to have a very interesting story.
In any case, I highly recommend you build a personal brand, because people best relate to other people. And building your authority and telling your story, as it relates to the story of your products, is a very powerful way to connect with your customers.
2. Have your headshots taken
A part of the process is also building the visual brand. There are many visual assets that goes into this part, for example your logo and colors, and so on.
But, hands down, the most powerful visual branding element you can have are photos of yourself. You can’t build a personal brand without fully “showing up.” Your customer needs to know who’s talking to them, they need to know the face of the brand.
Photography is a very powerful tool for telling your story. In addition to using photos of yourself, you can also occasionally include photos of your significant other or your kids or dogs and so on — anything that helps you tell your story as it relates to your brand.
3. Share your wisdom
Your personal is also about building authority, so that your potential customers can begin to see you as an expert. When they trust you’re an expert in whatever it is that you’re selling, they’re more likely to listen to you and buy from you.
One of the best ways to build authority is to share your knowledge on the topic of your expertise. This might happen through a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube video show. Again, for a service provider this may come more naturally, because they’re often more used to discussing themselves and their expertise.
But for those who sell products — handmade or otherwise — creating content around these products might feel more challenging. But it doesn’t have to be so.
Essentially, you just need to figure out “what do your customers have to understand and believe in order to realize they need your product?” Let me give you a concrete example of this.
Many years ago, I worked in the marketing department of a bed company. They sell rather expensive beds that are individually tailored for each sleeper’s body. And they did — still do actually — almost exclusively content marketing.
But they were not talking about the beds. Instead, they talk about the importance of sleep. There’s a lot of science and research around sleep and how important it is to us. So, they have positioned themselves as experts in all things sleep.
And when their customers understand how critical it is to get a good night’s sleep, they are more willing to invest into the bed they sleep in — and therefore are more likely to buy their bed. It can be as simple as that.
So, what do your customers need to understand in order to realize they need your product? Answer that question, and you got it.
4. Curate your image
Through your personal brand, you have the opportunity and duty to curate your image. Only share things that are relevant to your brand and your business.
There’s definitely the case of oversharing. And for different brands it looks different. It all depends who your ideal customer is and what they would consider oversharing.
If you’re unsure, ask yourself “why would anyone care?” If you can answer that, and you know why your ideal customer would care about your hemorrhoids, then by all means: share away. That might just be the connection your customer needed.
To ask questions about building a personal brand — or anything else branding and design related, come check out my free Facebook group Brand Builders Society where I teach soulpreneurs like you to build their own branding and create their own designs.