Branding is a powerful tool. People and organizations use branding to shape how they are perceived in the mind of their target audience. Ideally, branding communicates an entity’s mission and their values to establish a recognizable image in public.
For individuals, personal branding can be an effective way to create a distinct identity for yourself, whether you’re launching a hobby podcast, your own startup, or anything in between.
It doesn’t matter what your specific area of expertise or interest might be. Everyone – including small business owners, academics, celebrities, and politicians – needs to know how branding can shape the way the public perceives them.
If you’re trying to build a successful personal brand, here are a few tips on how to brand yourself.
1. Define What Drives You
What are your passions? What is it that drives you in your job, your relationships, and even your hobbies? If you want your brand to be successful, you have to start by taking stock of who you are.
When you're yourself, what is it that makes your point of view unique or impactful? These are areas that you can focus on within your brand.
Make sure to be genuine and honest during this introspection. Don't convince yourself that you're something you're not, or try to jump on the latest trends without examining how they align with your values. You'll be associating yourself with your passions through your brand for a long time.
As you gain clarity regarding what drives you, start to put the pieces together to build a central story. This story should build a bridge between two things: who you are and the brand you want to develop. Marketing guru Neil Patel also points out that brand stories should:
● Build trust and connection between you and your target audience.
● Be filled with personality. (This is easier with a personal brand.)
● Legitimize why your brand exists.
● Be conceptually concise by presenting a problem, offering a solution, and using it to define success.
Once you’ve figured out what drives you, it’s time to discover who would want to hear or read that information.
2. Identify Your Audience and Industry
Every business needs to know its target audience. Identifying a target audience is something that is typically done during the first stages of a startup (it's usually included in a business plan). It isn't a one-time deal, either. Companies must always be willing to adjust and add to the group that they see as their target audience.
Personal branding is very similar. Now that you've figured out what drives you and how to communicate it through a central story consider who will want to hear that story the most. Here are a few questions you can ask to get this process started:
● What is the primary solution or success element of your brand?
● What problems or pain points does your solution address?
● What kinds of people share similar struggles?
You'll need to conduct some market research to answer these questions. You can search online for similar people who resonate with your struggles. You can also look for other personal brands with similar messages and see who they’re targeting with their marketing.
As you compile information, consider turning it into a buyer persona. HubSpot has a great buyer persona template. It considers everything from demographics to motivations and more.
3. Connect Personal Passion with Constructive Value
This step may feel unnecessary — but don’t skip it. At this point, you’ve figured out some of the unique elements that you can build your personal brand around. You’ve also researched and outlined what kind of person would be interested in hearing that kind of message.
Now you need to put those two things together.
This step takes some serious insight and self-discipline. For instance, just because you love comic books doesn't mean building a personal brand around comic book reviews will automatically attract people who share your interests.
Take some time to consider the specific ways that your nascent personal brand can speak to your target audience. Be detailed as you do this; don't be afraid to ask others you trust for input.
In the above example, a shared interest won't make you stand out against countless other comic book blogs. Instead, you need to find a specific angle that aligns with the existing pain points and needs of other graphic novel fans. Maybe you can focus on tips and tricks about comic book collectables, or showcase diverse illustrators and authors.
In the age of misinformation, it’s even more important to back up any assertions you make with data; that means researching and citing verifiable sources, while also acknowledging potential biases of other sources.
Again, make sure you're consciously connecting your branding strengths to verifiable information sources and with your target audience's needs. The results should give you a clear direction to focus on as you launch your brand.
4. Launch and Market Your Personal Brand
Once you have a clearly defined personal brand, central story, and target audience, it’s time to launch and market your brand to the world. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few of the most common items and activities that you’ll want to use to jumpstart this process:
● Build a central hub for your online presence: A personal website serves as an online hub for your brand. You can use it for content, networking, SEO marketing, e-commerce, and more. You can also use Bubble's hundreds of no-code templates to build an app for those who want to access your brand from their mobile devices.
● Increase your social footprint: Find the best social media platforms for your brand. Don’t overstretch yourself, though. Be strategic. Northeastern University helps break down what each social platform is best for personal branding.
● Grow your network: Networking is an intimate and powerful way to grow your brand. It can be off-the-record discussions with similar self-branded experts. It can also include collaborating with other influencers to cross-promote each other's brands.
Throughout all of these initiatives, remember to be consistent. From your message to your color scheme, your wording to your logo, strive to create the same impression with every interaction from day one.
Building a Personal Brand for a Startup or Business
Building a personal brand for a business isn't easy. As you explore your product’s market fit, you may find that you need to adjust or make a full-blown pivot as you go along to keep your brand aligned with your target audience.
Despite these challenges, personal branding is well worth the effort and can be powerfully effective. It can help you stand out in a crowded space, connect with others, and build a loyal following that believes in you and your goals.
If you’re working on branding your own tech startup or business, you may be looking for a way to test out your tech product before investing in marketing and sales. Bubble’s no-code web app builder lets you create custom, powerful web apps from prototype or MVP to launch, on an all-in-one platform.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more.
Millions of users are building and launching businesses on Bubble — many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raised $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs who are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.