5 Key Elements to Question when building your Personal Brand
There are many key elements to include when branding your business.
But what do you do when you’re branding yourself?
When you look into your personal brand, you should focus on how you want clients or your audience to see you. Try not to focus too much on how you see yourself.
Now you might be asking yourself: “Why? Should I be reflecting who I am to clients?”
Here’s a simple answer: NO.
Personal brands should have personality but they shouldn’t overpower what you want to convey as a business owner to a potential client.
You want people to see what you bring as a business more than who you are. If you’re focused and determined to gain clients from your choice of audience, you want to appeal to them.
Despite creating a personal brand, you are still referencing yourself as an employable entity. To be employable, you need to emit a similar aesthetic to that clientele.
Here are some things to consider when investing in a personal brand:
Some great points for color are usually in Pinterest Psychology of Colors pins.
Each colors carry hidden meanings. Some examples could be: Silver as a depiction of wealth, classiness, and timelessness while green would depict money, cleanliness and nature.
Red: Causes excitement, passion
Examples: Coca-Cola, Nintendo
Orange: Excitement, Impulsive
Examples: Nickelodeon, Orange Julius
Yellow: Cheerful, Hunger
Examples: Long John Silvers, McDonalds
Green: Wealth, Responsibility
Examples: John Deere, Android
Blue: Trusting, Dependable
Examples: U.S. Bank, Twitter
Purple: Wealth, Luxury
Examples: Casper, Hallmark
Brown: Earthy, Rugged
Examples: UPS, Cracker Barrel
White: Purity, Simple
Examples: Apple, Squarespace
Black: Professional, Intelligence
Examples: Nike, Adidas
These are just some of the examples that you can see how psychology can influence a consumer to buy a product from these brands.
As a brand, I would choose anywhere between 2 to 4 colors.
Tip: It’s usually better to have a mix in case you have to resort to black and white printing but having color never hurt anyone.
Take a look at some of my own color selections that have caught my eye on my Branding: Colors board on Pinterest.
Having a particular type can create a unified front of the style you want to depict for your clients.
Here are a few styles of typefaces you could choose from and their perception to audiences:
Sans-Serif: A familiar typeface for this would be Helvetica. There aren’t many embellishments at the end of this type. It usually comes up on web or digital works because it is easiest to read in that format. Sans tend to favor more contemporary brands, like Apple or Google.
Serif: Something like a Garamound or Baskerville typeface comes to mind for serifs. This type face shows up in books most of the time. There are slight brackets at the end of this type style. Serif also tends to lean towards more traditional brands, such as the Gap.
Script: This is anything that is similar to a cursive type. One of my favorite types is the Edwardian Script. It’s very flourished and has a prestige about it when using it as a signature. This typeface is highly considered feminine and depicted as a display type rather than a body type.
Decorative: You could see a decorative type in Stencil. They are more used for their artistic attributes than they are used for their readability. Similar to the script type, decorative types are used as a display type than a body.
Similar to colors, it’s good to have a range of possibilities when it comes to types. For a personal brand, I’d suggest at least 2, but you could have a selection for each of the categories above.
Take a look at some of my own type selections that have caught my eye on my Branding: Fonts board on Pinterest.
A brand’s style can go in many directions.
This is also something you can bring a bit of fluidity with, in terms of your projects. With your brand components, try to remain stylistically similar, but projects that you take on can be less rigid.
When I talk about style I refer to a few different things:
How much detail do you bring forward?
Do you put a lot of detail in your work or do you tend to take a more minimalist approach?
Do you put a lot of detail in one element, everything or not at all?
Do you color inside the lines with your work or is it more general?
What is your aesthetic?
Do you tend to be quirky? Calm? Rustic?
How do you portray that aesthetic?
Colors, detail, objects, subjects, etc.
What is one of your favorite artistic styles throughout history?
Do you emulate the same styles of that era? Are you different?
Style takes many forms. When you are looking for clients, you should consider what your ideal client’s style will incorporate with your own brand.
If your client is looking for a style that differs from your personal brand, see it as a chance to grow. Just because your ideal client looks for a more minimal style, that doesn’t mean you’re barred from ever working on detailed projects.
Being aware of the differences of opposing brands shows that you’re willing to expand into new territory.
You should consider who you are trying to reach within your personal brand.
Having an ideal client or audience allows you to see where you would like your work to develop.
Knowing who you want to appeal to will help you see where your brand should go. It will guide your work into certain clientele that you want to associate with your brand.
If you want to develop your brand to appeal to businesses, even more specifically, luxury, high-end, top-notch businesses, you might consider more of a minimal, sleek and silver-colored themed brand compared to a bright, intricately-detailed and busy brand.
Knowing your audience should be, ideally, determined while setting up your business. This allows you to market towards potential people or audiences but if you’re still determining who your ideal client might be you might consider a few of the questions below:
What are possible occupations for my client?
What are some key habits of my client?
What is my client’s home life like?
What are some of my client’s needs or wants? Are they personal, functional, professional, etc.?
And leading into my next section: Where are my clients throughout their day?
Each of these questions delve deeper into your ideal client that your brand wants to appeal to.
Where is your ideal client located?
Location is important to keep in mind because, while they might be there, it’s a bit difficult to find rustic clients in the heart of New York City.
Even if you’re located in another location or you’re a digital nomad, it’s important to know where your clients frequent.
This doesn’t have to even revolve around a physical location. If you want to gain ground in the digital community, you might consider learning how to play a video game or start learning about local clubs revolving around a certain culture or hobby.
Knowing possible locations for your clientele is important for you to know what your client potentially needs or wants from your service but also for you to make connections with possible clients or leads to clients.
Make sure you know where and when your potential clients are around each other. It’s important to know when so to have an optimum window of opportunity.
There are many components that make up a brand that aren’t mentioned here, such as logos, submarks, variations, etc. but this list should give you a great starting point in creating your personal brand as an entrepreneur or freelancer.
If you have any other tips, advice or references to provide other readers, please leave them below in the comments section!