(part 3 of 3)
When I thought of the idea for a blog series about my brand,I didn’t think it would teach me so much.
I simply said to myself one day:
“It’s probably time to take of the glass-slippers Cinderella and show Ohio that you’re back. Not only are you back, but you’re better, more mature, a little tanner (thank you Florida sun) and ready to take on the world! So go on out there Jess, make your mark on the world!”
OK, maybe I didn’t say exactly that inspiring and well-thought out – but close. I knew that I had a pretty decent understand of personal branding and that it was time for me to move from princess to professional (but let’s be honest – the pink and the glitter are staying).
The first part of slightly shifting my brand to was figuring out my values, goals and what I wanted my brand to say to people. You can read that journey by click here for the 1st post of this mini series: You, your image & your brand. One I knew my foundation, I needed to know if my brand would whisper, speak or yell.
Well, that’s a tough one – and, in my professional opinion – a trick question. I want all three.
I want to whisper that I am both a child and adult
speak of my experience, education and personality
yell that I am the optimistic and ready to change the world
So now, let’s do that – time to implement a brand.
- Clean up the image. To me, that really lands on social media. I designed a new website header and the fabulous @allyheller (check out her fantastic website: http://www.allyjeanhellyer.blogspot.com/ ) is helping me with a blog signature. I made sure that my website, overall, represented me – young professional, slightly on the girly side, and highlighted my blog and resume. I also updated LinkedIn and GOOGLE+, making sure all the information was correct and up to-date. My favorite social media outlet is Twitter, so I knew that had evolved with me. However, if you aren’t a huge tweeter, make sure that you have a photo, background and appropriate bio. Also, tweet fairly often about subjects that fall within your “brand umbrella”.
- Brand Umbrella. This idea came from a brainstorming exercise a professor told me about junior year. If I need help finding a topic to blog about, I simply starting writing down topics that fall into my brand umbrella. This is a great way to help get the creative juices flowing, and when creating a brand, seeing what falls into your comfort zone. Topics under my umbrella are college life, internships, young professionals, running, cooking, cupcakes, blogging, Walt Disney World, family, Ohio, OSU buckeyes… the list continues! Your brand is how people perceive you, and knowing subjects are in your niche will be extremely helpful when you show it to the world.
- Get a business card. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you’re a college student or a new professional – you need to have a business card. Not only does it allow you to keep all your information handy when you’re networking and meeting someone new, it just FELLS more professional! If someone asks for your email, you’re not rummaging for a pen or piece of paper. Simply grab your card and hand it over with a smile. BOOM! Great brand imaging right there. www.visitaprint.com is my favorite website for personal business cards. You can get 250 for free, you only need to pay shipping and handling (which runs about $6, so you can’t beat that deal).
***the most important thing about creating and implementing your band is CONSISTENCY***
If you have a color scheme, an icon, a quote or ANYTHING that is the foundation of your brand, put that on everything.
When you go into an interview or a networking event, properly represent your brand. Now, I’m not saying dress all in pink or go around citing a fabulous motivational quote (come on, let’s not get crazy) but you need to walk-the-walk. BUT I HAVE GREAT NEWS! If your brand really represents you, it will be easy. I want my brand to show someone that is optimistic and loves meeting new people – and I try to have that come across when I meet new business connections.
Brands will mature and change as you do, but it’s important to know that you have complete power over your reputation and how people perceive you. Don’t be afraid to really take charge and decide what YOU want to represent.
thanks for reading!