In today’s economic downturn it is important to create your own personal brand. I see many people turning to non-traditional streams of income to make ends meet. Many people have added a network marketing or multi-level marketing business, or use blogging as income, or Ebay or Etsy stores etc… Even if you don’t own your own business, creating a recognizable identity will help you stand out from the crowd.
Steve Woodruff said it well on his blog:
“And you should think about your value-add on at least 2 levels – the professional level (how do I help my employer and clients succeed and make money?), and the community level (how do I help my family/church/neighbors/network grow and succeed?). Usually, you’ll find quite a bit of overlap, because you are you in both realms, and your strengths carry over.
And that’s the point about having a personal brand. The best personal brands are those that are authentic – that is, they reflect who you truly are, in all realms. You may emphasize specific activities and outworkings in your projected identity, because we all put our capabilities and strengths to use in tangible realms of endeavor, but that projected identity – that personal brand – is coherent with who you are. If you changed jobs, locations, or responsibilities, your brand would remain quite consistent.”
Some people are trying their hand at coaching or consulting, and still are not sure if this is their calling, but knowing that they want to do something more than just sit behind a desk. It is important to be true to yourself when choosing jobs like these. In this time of change, many people are building their reputation and identity based on their passions and core beliefs; this is personal branding. No matter what field they work in, in the future this identity will still apply.
In an article from the New York Times, Sol Sender, a graphic designer who created the design Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, states: “The design development was singularly inspired by the candidate’s message. Like any mark, the meaning and impact really come from what people bring to it.”
This “O” logo was specifically created for the Obama ‘08 campaign, but imagine if you will Mr. Obama was an entrepreneur, a coach, a consultant; this design would say what he was all about – a “new day.” This identity is so strong that people associate it with hope. It speaks about his core beliefs and passions.
About a year ago I had created an identity for one of my clients and her online boutique – Ropa. This was something that she developed because of her passion for fashion. By getting to know this stylish woman I learned that her day job as a horticulturist still brought great joy to her life and through the design process, came up with an identity that truly said who she was.
Now she has branched out on her own and started her own horticulturist consulting firm. We took her personal brand and changed her business name. Since her identity was created by looking at who she is and not what she did, the logo still represented her.