How to Build a Personal Brand: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
Your personal brand is more than just a logo and a slogan—it’s how you want people to see you. It’s what you’re known for, an authentic manifestation of your personality, experience, and expertise.
Creating a personal brand is as exciting as it’s daunting. It’s what defines your talents, beliefs, and values, so you must create something unique and memorable to stand out in the online world. But with so much on the line, where and how do you start? Well, I’m here to help!
In this article, I’ll show you how to build a personal brand in nine steps. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to create a brand that embodies everything you stand for.
Let’s dive right in!
4 Elements That Define a Personal Brand
To create an effective personal brand, here are some integral components you need to consider:
Authenticity is one of the most important aspects of personal branding. It’s what gives you and your business substance.
Your personal brand should scream “authentic” without actively promoting itself as one. Authenticity can’t be forced—either you are, or you’re not. And that difference is crucial when making a personal brand.
Brand authenticity has three components: continuity, credibility, and integrity. Continuity brings value to your business, while credibility brings intention and trust. Integrity is a reflection of your brand’s mission, purpose, and values.
These qualities are achieved through honesty, consistency, and your willingness to provide good quality service.
2. Core Values
Your values define the fundamental beliefs of your brand and business as a whole. They give meaning to your brand’s existence and actions, making them an essential part of your brand’s core identity.
In some ways, brand values can be classified as a set of guiding beliefs that a business must follow and uphold in pursuit of its mission. They’re implemented throughout the brand strategy, from strategic decision-making to communication with customers and employees.
For example, if your brand’s value is simplicity, you need to ensure that your products and/or services are minimalistic, easy to understand, and aren’t overloaded with a lot of complicated information. If it’s transparency, you need to be transparent about the origin and manufacture of your products and show your customers the behind-the-scenes of your organization.
Regardless of what your values are, you must uphold them till the very end. If you don’t, your brand’s reputation will take a massive hit.
Ask yourself this: what makes you stand out from the competition? Why should customers pick you over other businesses under the same niche? What are you giving them in exchange for attention?
Your personal brand should reflect what you have to offer to your audience. Identify what makes you unique and boil it down to a single word or sentence.
Remember: a personal brand isn’t about what you do, but rather who you are. Without a differentiator, there’s no brand—just another passing business in a sea of business.
If customers don’t trust your brand, there’s little worth to your business. Trust is directly connected to reputation, and bad reputation can permanently damage a brand.
Without a prior track record to go off of, customers are forced to rely on your word alone that you’ll deliver what you’re promising them. As such, it’s critical to instill a sense of trust in your brand.
To do so, your brand’s voice should not only be believable and polished, but also approachable and human.
Real-life interactions and authentic dialogue can establish a life-long friendship with your customers, which builds good reputation.
Your personal brand must prioritize post-sale relationships to gain customer loyalty and make them feel like a part of your brand rather than a paying customer.
How to Build a Personal Brand In 9 Steps
Now that we’ve discussed the factors that influence your personal brand, let’s get into the meat of the topic: actually building a personal brand!
Step 1: Determine Your Area of Expertise
With thousands of businesses working on their personal brands, standing out from the rest isn’t an easy feat. As such, you need to find a niche and build your expertise around that area.
Professionals, companies, recruiters, and clientele are more likely to reach out to a brand that specializes in a specific niche rather than a brand that specializes in “everything.” Therefore, you must ask yourself these questions:
- What niche do you fill?
- What do you want your brand to be known for?
- Why should people pick you over other brands with the same expertise?
Your answers to these questions are the cornerstones of your personal brand.
To make your brand even more appealing, develop brand innovations and use them to your company’s advantage.
For example, you can add a unique after-sales service to achieve a more efficient sales process or adopt technological solutions that have never been seen before. The possibilities are endless.
These innovations help display your expertise in the field and put more attention to your brand.
Step 2: Stick to a Theme
Coca-cola is known for its unique bottles and red-and-white color scheme, while McDonald’s is known for its “M” logo and I’m lovin’ it slogan.
What do these two companies have in common?
That’s right: a unified theme.
Regardless of how long they’re in business, they never stray away from their personal brand. And clearly, it paid off—they’re two of the most recognizable brands in the world, after all.
The same concept applies to your personal brand. Your brand must have a consistent, unified theme to make customers instantly recognize you.
Your fonts, colors, logos, messaging, catchphrases, slogan, motto, and images should be the same across all your social accounts, portfolio, website, and other channels.
Inconsistencies, even minor ones, can negatively impact the effectiveness of a personal brand.
Step 3: Know Your Audience
When crafting your personal brand, you need to know your audience—who they are, what challenges they face, and how they’d benefit from the service or product you provide.
The sooner you define your audience, the easier it’ll be to craft a personal brand that resonates with the people who matter most to your success. This is how you build a strong, long-term relationship between you and your audience, as well as brand loyalty and reputation.
To understand your audience, you should:
- Monitor audience comments, feedback, and engagements
- Review company analytics and data
- Conduct surveys and polls
- Experiment with products and content updates
- Keep an eye on your competitors to understand how they’re retaining or losing customers
Once you’ve determined your target audience, create a personal brand that appeals to their needs without straying too far from your end goal.
Step 4: Strengthen Your Social Footprint
These days, the success of a business is heavily dependent on its social footprint. If it doesn’t have an online presence, it may as well not exist. This is why you should solidify your brand online so you can easily reach your target audience.
When marketing your products or services online, choose a platform that’s popular in your industry.
For instance, if your audiences are mostly millennials, it makes sense to create a profile on Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter. If your audiences are more on DIYs and how-to’s, post videos on YouTube and articles on your website.
You can also market your brand in specific groups and forums to further increase your brand’s visibility.
Regardless of which platform you choose, always be consistent—especially if your personal brand is tied to your image. If your brand is centered around vegan food, for example, don’t post pictures of you eating meat or hating on animals. This will ruin the integrity of your brand.
Remember: a personal brand is called “personal” for a reason. It’s more than just an online persona—it’s how you carry yourself in the office, at home, around people, and even on your daily commute. Your reputation ultimately defines your personal brand.
Step 5: Tell a Story
As author and CEO Allen Gannett says, building a true narrative is the most effective way to create a personal brand.
And it’s true—no matter how much you market your products online, no one wants to hear about a brand without a heart. This is why you should create a story that your audience can relate to and engage with.
Your brand story tells people who you are, what you believe in, and how you got to where you are today. It’s basically an autobiography of your brand, detailing its history, challenges, values, and its journey from nothing to greatness.
Tell your story through a series of videos or written content and make sure it’s accessible to anyone that stumbles upon your brand.
Step 6: Bring Value to Your Brand
Creating a brand is easy, but bringing value to a brand isn’t. You need to look for a strategy that makes your brand indispensable in your niche.
For example, instead of trying to convince your target audience that you can help them, create content that actually helps them. Alternatively, instead of discussing the effectiveness of your product, show the effectiveness in real time.
These strategies not only build trust but also solidify your position as an expert in the industry.
Step 7: Increase Your Brand Visibility
Posting on social media platforms only does so much for your brand. Instead of trapping yourself in a small bubble, increase your brand visibility by exposing it to other people’s audiences. Put yourself out there!
Here are some ways to increase your brand visibility:
- Get interviewed as a guest on live streams and podcasts, as well as traditional media like magazines, TV, and radio.
- Write articles for blogs and online publications centered around your niche.
- Apply to charity events, local conferences, and meetups that your target audience attends.
- Engage with other people in your field.
- Build a relationship with other people and companies through partnerships, shoutouts, customer referrals, and joint ventures.
- Hire social influencers to help you gain followers and spread the word about you and your brand.
The more opportunities you have to engage, the higher the exposure your brand will receive.
Step 8: Share Your Blessings
After you’ve developed your personal brand, grow a positive community around it. Make it a space that allows people to freely talk about the impact you’ve had in their lives.
Moreover, be open to helping others.
Donate to charities and organizations, host giveaways, and offer generous discounts and promotions.
You can also take a more hands-on approach: plant trees, recycle, and use eco-friendly materials in your products.
If you’ve established yourself as a successful brand, your customers expect nothing less.
Aside from making the world a better place, sharing your blessings with others fosters long-term loyalty, creates a strong internal culture, and even encourages purchases.
If a customer is given a choice between your company and another that doesn’t give to charity, they’ll likely choose you. In fact, a study shows that 90% of consumers would act in support of a purposeful brand rather than a non-purposeful one.
Step 9: Be Genuine
At the end of the day, your brand represents you as a human. It’s no good to hide your “real” self to keep up an image. It’s beneficial to show your human side every now and again.
Don’t be afraid to mention your colleagues, work experiences, customers, and personal events on your platform. Share content from people you admire and the hobbies you’re partaking in. This way, your audience won’t think you’re a button-up-wearing office worker who’s all business but instead a person trying to connect with others. Don’t lose who you are.
I hope this guide on how to build a personal brand helped you with your goal of creating a brand that defines you and your ideals.
Establishing a personal brand is all about trust, authenticity, and highlighting your strengths. It’s about leaving a long-lasting legacy that cements your name in the world we know today.
If well-cultivated, it’ll push you forward in your career and help you take the steps you need to succeed.