What is a personal brand and why is it needed?

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We can clearly associate a number of projects or areas of activity with specific people. For example, we often hear about Artemiy Lebedev in design, Maxim Ilyakhov is associated with editorial, and Apple is Steve Jobs. There are many such examples, but the most interesting point is the following: why do we immediately remember these people? Yes, they made a huge contribution and developed many cool projects. But also because these people have a developed personal brand.

In this article, I will tell you what a personal brand is, why you need it, and how to develop it.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is a certain image that consists in the presentation of the image of people. In the best case, it should be memorable, recognizable and discussed both in the professional community and in the general public. The image is formed due to association with personal or professional qualities and belonging to a certain company or broadcast of an idea.

The result of its development is an increase in coverage and the level of reputation. A person becomes a media person, that is, active on the Internet and social networks.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk. Photo source

Who needs it and when

We can say that everyone needs a personal brand, because it helps to stand out and be remembered among competitors. However, other companies (potential customers) are more likely to work with the best in this or that industry. Well, do they take an example from them.

We are used to seeing a developed personal brand in politicians, actors, showmen or athletes. But who can benefit from it?

  • Entrepreneurs will thus be able to increase the reach of their project or business.
  • Marketers or sales professionals can use the tool to attract new customers.
  • Experts will attract people for consultations and increase the number of speeches.
  • Freelancers will raise the price tag, showcase a portfolio, and be able to visually demonstrate their experience.

Moreover, developing a personal brand can be beneficial for freelancers. As a result, such an employee will be noticed by his superiors, he will have useful connections, and it is possible to earn respect from colleagues or partners.

In addition, a personal brand can compensate for the lack of any skill. This is due to the fact that some employers are looking for people with a good reputation and a strong personal brand, without always carefully studying the resume.

Who and when does not need it

A personal brand will not become a universal solution to all problems. In most cases, it helps only when several factors coincide. For example, if you:

  • You are an expert in your field and you know how to show it.
  • You understand that a personal brand develops over months, if not years, and requires serious investments.
  • Ready to spend a lot of time and money on all this.
  • You have a specific goal that will be achieved only with the help of image development.
  • You know how to defend your position, but at the same time you don’t jump into an argument out of the blue. This is to the point that some are leading serious battles in the comments, and such actions will not help to develop your own brand.
  • Do you have cases? Nowadays, this is the best way to demonstrate your professionalism.

And if you fail at these points, either continue to study and look for yourself, or the development of a personal brand is not relevant for you yet.

For the prank to be successful, you will need significant achievements, the ability to promote yourself, time and money for promotion. But it is much more important to have a goal, an understanding of why you should develop your own brand at all.

Advantages and disadvantages

Personal branding is a common marketing tool, and like any other, it has its pros and cons. First, let’s talk about the advantages:

  1. A simple way to attract and retain attention.
  2. Increasing the level of recognition and competitiveness.
  3. Increasing the customer base.
  4. Free advertising with testimonials from satisfied customers.
  5. Quality digital footprint. This is to the point that your name will be Googled someday, and it will be cool if what you have been promoting for so long appears on the first lines of the search engine.
  6. Empowerment – from moving to a larger company to opening a new one of your own.

But personal branding has some disadvantages, among which it is worth noting:

  1. Facing criticism and negativity in any case. This will have to be understood and remembered: there will always be those who are against you.
  2. An unclaimed brand wastes a lot of resources. First, determine whether the audience needs you and your services.
  3. The need to understand marketing mechanisms and create an aesthetic picture. Any product or service won’t attract attention if it doesn’t look interesting, and it’s the same with personal branding.
  4. And it is not a fact that it will be possible to build a popular image from the first time. Experiment, change your pitch and style, and maybe you’ll find something special.
  5. The need for restraint in behavior. If someone starts to annoy you, it is better to either ignore him or gently push him away or block him. Your stormy reaction will attract not the most loyal audience and create a wave of negativity. And it will take a long time to process it later.

As for disputes, that’s everyone’s business. It is desirable, of course, to respond to comments gently, and discussing hot topics such as politics or religion is not recommended at all.

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Examples of a strong personal brand

  • Elon Musk. Where without the famous American entrepreneur and engineer, CEO of Tesla, Space X and other companies? Most people primarily associate these companies with him. This is due to media activity, as well as stormy comments about various situations on the Internet.
  • Mark Zuckerberg. We all know him as a media mogul, philanthropist, Internet entrepreneur, and co-founder of famous social networks. Now almost any news about these platforms includes his statements and comments. Besides, who hasn’t watched the movie “Social Network” about the founding of Facebook (owned by the company Meta, which is recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation) and his participation in all this.
  • Bill Gates. Another American Internet entrepreneur and public figure is better known as the creator of Microsoft Corporation, which gave us office products and the Windows OS.
  • Jeff Bezos. This person is currently the founder of the Amazon platform, the owner of the aerospace company Blue Origin and the publishing house The Washington. But you have probably heard the song of the same name in his honor, which went viral on the Internet.
  • Pavlo Durov. We know him more quickly from platforms such as VKontakte and Telegram. And his name flashes in many works and Internet resources.
  • Fyodor Ovchinnikov. He is the founder and CEO of the Dodo Pizza chain, which is expanding rapidly and has a unique approach to customer service. Fedor himself often gives interviews on various YouTube channels, telling the story of the business.

Stages of personal brand development

To come up with a personal brand, it is recommended to follow the following stages:

Goal setting

Understand what you want to achieve with the help of this tool, what result you want to achieve. You should have a short and clear goal that you will achieve as a result.

Do not forget about individuality and authenticity. If they are not there, you will simply merge with the flow of other people. Use your trait or characteristic that people notice more often, then turn it into a highlight.

And don’t try to copy anyone. Just be yourself 😉

Definition of tasks

Here, formulate exactly what problems the personal brand will solve, what associations it should evoke. Well, determine the niche in which you will stand out as an expert.

Next, specify your strengths and weaknesses. What attracts attention and puts you in the best light, amplify. And you can temporarily mask repulsive qualities, but then you will have to work on them. It is important to accept your weaknesses and shortcomings, otherwise, at the first stream of criticism, your image will not withstand and crumble like a house of cards.

Selection of the target audience

In order for the audience to choose you, you must first understand what it is and what it needs. If you find their main pain points, and in the future, with the help of a personal brand, start working on them, the growth in popularity will be fast.

Development of concept and key message

The key message is the thought that should be formed in the view of the audience while viewing your blog or website. You will broadcast this message constantly. Therefore, it is better to have evidence of your position or expertise “at hand”.

Based on the key opinion, an exemplary concept of promotion is developed. It’s your packaging, your image, how your audience will ultimately see you. The key message should also be accompanied by a legend, a kind of story about how you got to this stage of life and what you want to achieve.

Choosing the optimal site

To develop a personal brand, it is worth choosing a platform where there is already an audience. And not just any, but your target. Most popular social networks or platforms are considered – from VKontakte to vc.ru. There is also the option of publishing guides, writing author’s books or articles in specialized magazines. A site with a portfolio and useful content will also need to be created, it will act as the main business card on the Internet.

Maxim Ilyakhov's books

Maxim Ilyakhov’s books

Another important point is that you will have to adapt to the rules of the chosen site. Somewhere like Telegram, people read the text more, elsewhere the visual component is a priority. If these rules are neglected, the audience will most likely not understand you and will not even watch. And this is the worst result.

In social networks, do not forget about activity outside your account. Comment and like other people’s profiles, communicate with colleagues in the “shop”, you can even create a joint product. It is also useful to order advertising from people with a large audience. Here it is important to pay attention to elements of visual design.

Elements of a personal brand

Visual design is the most important component of any brand, as a personal one. There are a number of elements that need to be carefully worked out. They should be harmoniously combined with each other so that the whole picture gives a clear image. The list of such elements is different depending on the tasks, I will list some of them below:

  • The logo of the village
  • Corporate font and design templates.
  • Documentation design.
  • Business card.
  • Designing the website and social networks.
  • Accessories including a case, diary and even a bank card.
  • Clothing.

The last point is especially important, because you are greeted by your clothes. In order not to sag here, you should contact a good stylist. If there is time and money, you can order a full-fledged audit from a PR manager to determine strengths and weaknesses, as well as what exactly should be worked on and how.

And finally

As soon as the previous stages come to an end, perform such a check-up on the following questions:

  1. How well does your appearance match the key message or legend created? If there is an opportunity to improve it, do it before launch.
  2. Do you have quality photos that are no more than 6 months old? If not, organize a photo session. And such that the image in the photo broadcasts your ideas and messages.
  3. Have you made a reference about yourself? If not, write it down as well. There should be answers to expected frequent questions: where are you from, where did you study or work, what are your values, achievements, etc.
  4. What does your positioning prove? Be it diplomas, certificates, portfolios, awards or even first places in rankings. It is better to arrange all this beautifully and put it online, then give a short link.
  5. Have you already decided on a place? For example, it will be possible to record stories or useful videos on social networks. For this, choose beautiful and comfortable locations.
  6. Have you thought about what you will say in advance? When running a personal brand, one must be open-minded, but at the same time be one step ahead and think through every word. Prescribe speeches and texts in advance, define topics closed for discussion. Remember that it is not so bad to stop sharing something with the audience, the main thing is not to start lying.

Remember, your own brand is not a hobby. This is work that requires a lot of effort and investment, constant attention and money. It might even start to take away from your leisure time. But do not forget that the development of such a tool will bring a qualitative result in the future in the form of increased popularity and recognition.

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