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Branding You: Discover and Leverage Your Personal Brand

Par Serra Semi, Creative Director and Founder of Lumens

Your unique authentic self is your best asset.  It’s the ever-evolving story of what makes you an entrepreneur.  It’s what drives you to work for your passion. It’s what fuels you to do things differently.  And it’s exactly this difference that your personal brand leverages to put you in the spotlight.

What is a personal brand?

Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills, experiences, and qualities that define you as an individual and sets you apart from others. A personal brand is always growing and evolving as you walk down the path of your professional journey. As an entrepreneur, it’s how you present yourself to the world. Essentially, it’s a human-centered marketing strategy with YOU at the center.

Why do you need it?

In the professional landscape today, the need to stand out is greater than ever.  Your personal brand strategy will help you differentiate yourself from your peers and colleagues, and elevate your professional standing, ultimately inviting more opportunities and growing the audience for you and as an entrepreneur, your business.  When potential investors evaluate your company, they also consider who the person behind the company is.  On the other hand, with your customers, your values and personal journey will build trust and grow loyalty.  Investing time and effort into cultivating your personal brand will unlock more potential for you as an entrepreneur.

What makes a good personal brand?

In order to create a successful personal brand, you need to define your own story and decide which tools and strategies are best suited to represent you and to what extent.

  1. Be Authentic

First and foremost, a good personal brand is built on authenticity. People are more likely to connect with and relate to someone who shows vulnerability and reveals their true personality.  Building your brand on what truly makes you “you” will foster a genuine trusting relationship that will last. 

  1. Embrace Thought Leadership

Confidently sharing your values and beliefs, your unique point of view and your insights on your entrepreneurial journey will influence people to think in new ways about their own.  This influence consequently will fortify your personal brand. Thought leadership and your personal brand are linked at the core.  Leveraging your thought leadership to support your personal brand will in return support your role continuously in the industry as a thought leader.  To be a true thought leader, you must hone your tone of voice and your message and consistently share it across channels such as speaking at panels and webinars, writing papers and books, and posting on social media.

  1. Create Inspiring Content

“Every company is a media company,” said Gary Vaynerchuk.  In today’s digital-driven content-crazed world, this is true not only for your company but also for your personal brand as an entrepreneur.  To stand out and make an impact, every professional has to be a creator of written and visual content.  Writing articles and blog posts on your expertise in the industry as a thought leader, creating high-quality images and videos, and contributing meaningfully to your online communities will keep your audience engaged and create a rich foundation for your brand. 

  1. Engage Online

Your online presence encompasses how you appear and engage on various online platforms, including your social media profiles, personal website and portfolio, and any online content that contributes to the public perception of you.  Not everybody needs a website and profiles on every platform.  Being strategic in how you approach your online persona is key to establishing an authentic personal brand and in the long run, a sustainable practice. To benefit from your online presence fully and to ensure that it’s impactful requires continued attention to your profiles, engaging with your audience, and contributing meaningfully to your online communities.

  1. Establish a Visual Tool Box

A corporate brand is not just a logo or a set of colors and neither is your personal brand.  A logo, font, and color palette are some of the tools you might choose to use in visually representing your brand.  Depending on your industry, expertise, and personality, they can play a big or a small role in defining it. Photography and personal style are also fundamental in visualizing your brand. How you present yourself to the public is multifaceted, from the colors you choose to wear to the style of your professional headshots. 

  1. Tell Your Story

Storytelling has the power to capture attention, to inspire and motivate others. A compelling story about your journey, experiences, and aspirations sheds light on who you are, where you come from, and what drives you. It creates a vivid and relatable picture of you. The stories of your entrepreneur journey with all its highs and lows, challenges and wins, serve to emotionally engage your audience and forge a sense of community.  When people can relate to your persona narrative, it strengthens the bond in between. Real stories foster real connections.

  1. Keep Showing Up

Your personal brand is a valuable asset for you and your company. It’s the result of the time and effort you invested to cultivate it, but it doesn’t stay still. It requires ongoing contribution to your outlets and staying current. To truly have a successful personal brand, you need to continuously invest in it through content creation and initiatives that keep you engaged with your audience. 

As an entrepreneur, you are driven by a deep passion for your company, a desire to create something new and make a difference. You are a story in the making, an evolving amalgamation of your experiences, values, beliefs, expertise, and aspirations. Investing in your personal brand will ground your business in real connections with your customers and attract your business to new opportunities, ultimately transforming your entrepreneur journey.

À propos de Serra Semi, Creative Director and Founder of Lumens

Serra Semi is the multi-disciplinary creative director and founder of the design studio Lumens, specializing in brand aesthetics from brand strategy to website design to marketing. She holds an MFA in Media Design from Art Center College of Design. She has been selected as a mentor at the prestigious design organization AIGA NY Mentorship program three years in a row. Obsessed with cultural trends, she co-creates and co-hosts Gatsby Fridays, a podcast about getting the best out of a creative life from two Creative Directors working around the world and based in New York City. 

À propos de Lumens

Lumens is a company of designers, thinkers, and writers working together to bring your brand vision into the light. With strategy at the core, they define your company’s brand, culture, and story to launch a bright brand world. Lumens empowera visionary founders and corporate leaders to clarify their brand’s purpose and expand its impact. Their signature strategies ensure a thriving brand that stays true to its core values as it organically grows and evolves.

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