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Branding! Such a ubiquitous concept these days!
Building your own personal brand or defining your business' brand is incredibly important these days, no matter who you are. If you are building a business, wanting to attract new clients and customers as a freelancer, applying for a new job, wanting to advance in your career or applying for colleges, it will benefit you greatly to define your brand. Defining your brand creates structure and a framework for all actions, interactions, visuals and more to fall into place to create cohesion.
Your personal brand is how people see you; how they’d describe you. It is the set of values and characteristics that describe who you are and guide your choices—in work and in life. Your personal brand is what makes you, you.
And we can apply the same definition to your company's brand. What is the driving force behind your vision? How do you start to create assets that reflect your brand? How do we create those assets on a budget?
While I am no expert, I have been working on building my own brand and learning as I go along. There is so much low and no cost information that is easily accessed. I follow websites and experts on branding and business; I purchased a low cost branding and marketing guide for photographers; I listen to entrepreneurial podcasts while I walk Chico; I download free resources that are widely available and so much more! Again, I am no expert, but I am happy to share with you what I've culled from this process.
As a photographer and filmmaker, I've learned that it is incredibly important to show who you are and not hide behind your portfolio and reel. We all relate to people's faces, voices, choices, etc. when we see them online. It is the first glimpse into what that person is like and if we feel aligned with them. It creates trust and camaraderie, even if you never meet this person IRL.
As I've been mentioning, showing photos and videos of myself and my personal life has been a real challenge for me. I want to share more of me (even if I were not working on my own branding!) and despite my fears, I am choosing to continue to challenge myself and share more of who I am.
Authenticity is EVERYTHING! Don't be afraid to be your best, weirdest, most unique self. That's what will make you stand out. If people don't like it, then they're not the people you want to work with or attract. By being yourself, authentically, you will attract the exact right people who are aligned with you and your work and everyone will be the better for it.
Without further ado, I'll jump into some real life resources and tips on finding your voice to build your personal brand.
*** There are many ways you can begin to define and find your personal brand. I believe it's very important to get very clear on what's going on behind the scenes and in your heart, mind and soul before you build the trappings of your brand, such as your website, Instagram feed, blog, etc.
The best thing I've found to start looking into the source of your brand is this Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on finding your "why". Please do yourself a huge favor and watch this post haste. Take out a journal, write notes, brainstorm, chat it through with a friend. Just do this before you do anything else!
Brain dump all of the things about you that you love about you. Think of all the things that make you uniquely and authentically you. What do you love to do? What is important to you? What are your values? Think not only about the things about you that you currently are, but go further and dive into who you want to be and what you want to project out into the world. Use this brainstorm/dump and the notes you took on the Ted Talk and hone in on the most important and relevant things about you, who you want to be and how you're going to project that in your brand.
Ask a friend to join in on the brainstorm or to reflect back to you the things they love about you.
Take classes! Skillshare and Udemy have classes on ALL THE THINGS! I love love Skillshare and encourage you all to jump on. I just created my first photography class there, which you are welcome to check out. If photography is not your cup of tea, you can still sign up for a 2 month free Premium membership through my class link. Do yourself a favor and check out the vast amount of resources available there.
Favorite website for free business and career information:
*** Let's move onto the tangible assets that will help you communicate your brand to the world (aka the internet!) ***
My brand guide template is free for you to use as inspiration to create your own brand guide. I refer to my brand guide regularly to check in to see if what I'm posting is aligned with this simple guide that I created.
Watch a screenshare video here on how to edit the template :)
Canva website is AMAZING for making free graphic content. Seriously. I use if for flyers, slides for presentations, Instagram posts, personal party invitations and so much more. YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING on Canva! And it all looks fantastic.
Color Picker site is incredible for obtaining color codes so you can personalize your brand colors. I uploaded several of my favorite photos, held the mouse over the colors I liked and then jotted down the color code for later use in building my graphic assets. I used this site to create the brand colors that you see in my brand guide template. Placing color codes can be a bit advanced, but not always! You don't have to be a graphic designer or expert in Photoshop to use color codes. You can use them in Canva, even as a newbie!
Watch my Color Picker demonstration here
There are many sites for free and inexpensive fonts. Squirrel Font is one of my faves and has tens of thousands of options.
I found this site on a quick search and it looks like they have some wonderful font assets as well!
All of this information is just the tip of the iceberg. As I was writing this, my brain kept adding more and more ideas that I could share with you here. I had to edit my thoughts and ideas down as there is just SO much you can do with all of this!
The main thing that I've learned from all of this is to keep your brand AUTHENTICALLY you!
Hit me up if you'd like to schedule some time to discuss branding further. You know where to find me!
SURPRISE FRIDAY FUN VIDEO!!!! yes yes yes. WORK IT!