How to build a personal brand? A step-by-step guide

  • avatar    By Akshaya Muralikumar · Last Updated February 24, 2020
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In this era of startups springing up at every next street, brand building is the one thing that makes a brand stand the competition, thereby standing out. What most startups don’t realise is how to bring the balance between keeping up with the trends and going further with unique ideas. Brand building goes beyond giving an identity to your brand, by giving it a complete streamlining of strategies and attainable milestones. It ensures an overall umbrella that defines the path forward and holds the interlink between various activities.

When the brand is a personal brand, this interlink gets a whole new priority due to the personalisation factor that strives to link and reflect with every brand activity. For example, when your personal brand picturizes you as an organic product expert, the use of certain ‘species names’ of the plants that prove the expertise add value. The recurrence of such a species-based nomenclature across the branding activities such as ads and even the product label, proves the value of branding in winning the customers.

Step 1: Give a face


Giving a face to the brand is the way to bring an identity to the brand, defining the way people relate to it and achieve a connection. Brand Image is a rich meaningful fusion of content and graphics that marks the starting point for every brand. This is the decision maker of the brand’s “type” and “style” that the future plans or campaigns will follow.

A brand’s face is a union of two things:

  1. The brand’s name, product names, sub-names all following a similar style. Eg. A brand focused on imported products have a french twist in their name.
  2. The color scheme of the brand which would decide all the future advertising material or social media posts. Eg. Brands with a traditional touch made with earthen color schemes could not go with pastel colours in the future campaigns.

The Brand Image checklist:

  • The name must reflect your core values. Choose between traditional and modern concepts. (Eg. Regional style “Mathrubhumi” Vs. Contemporary “XBotanics” for eco-friendly brands)
  • The brand face must be highly personalised and connect to your personal identity. Choose between being a proven expert and being a budding influencer (Eg. SketchIt Vs. The Girl with a pencil for artist brands).

‘Lakshmi’ became ‘Lakme’ to sound western amidst being of Indian origin, because of makeup being a western concept. Read more on the brand’s naming story.

Step 2: Make it stand


If the brand images helps identify your brand, the brand ‘look and feel’ is what gets it moving. This look and feel of the brand helps it achieve the connection with its audience. It helps the customers feel the presence of the brand and understand its core values. This part is the medium that paves way for user connection.

Personal brands have a high seeking to ‘look and feel’ and must invest fair amount of time in this with quality graphics-content duo since everything from the future letterhead to the social media profile will come under the same ‘look and feel’.

At this stage, it is important to get from the personal perspective to the customer’s perspective.

  • Decide your target audience.
  • Achieve the intermediate of audience and personal interests.
  • Create the ‘look’ of the Brand with a desirable logo design. The logo must follow the color scheme pertaining to the brand face and meet the connectivity needs of the target audience.
  • Determine the brand tagline that would add the ‘feel’ to the brand name. It could be a two-worded or multiple worded sentence that delivers the brand’s message to the people. This tagline must also blend with the style choice of color schemes.

Choose between freeflow line-profile logos and the conventional solid logos.

Note: Make the logo universal since the logos might take a multiple form and placement in the future, pertaining to the advertising or creative needs. Keep a global style consideration, because you can never trust the trends.

The automobile icon Volkwagen’s accented famous tagline “Das Auto” is a german translation of “The Car” that expresses machine pride with the lustre in the logo and interlocked alphabets, contained in a circle, making it universal and usable across every place – online (Web) and offline platforms (On products). Explore their story.

Step 3: Build your story

The Persona of the Brand : UI/UX THAT CONNECT THE FEATURES

Brand Persona is the successor of ‘look and feel’ that completes the appeal of the brand. It makes the features on the brand land at the right place. A curated connection with the audience of the specific platforms is achieved that branches the ‘look and feel’ as per the mode of reach to the customer. Eg. A person who reads a newpaper ad doesn’t have the same interests as the one who sees a youtube ad. Everything from the age till the demographics differ drastically. Such curation amidst being separate, branch from the same common brand image and molds the original way of customer appeal.

At this stage, it is important to understand the similarities vs. differences.

  1. SIMILARITY: The brand name logo and tagline stay the same, attracting a similar choice of style in any social media activity or any other. Eg. A brand on natural cosmetic products must follow the green-based graphics that match the leaf-like logo.
  2. DIFFERENCE: The branding pattern could flow according to the target audience or the platform chosen. For example, Social Media Channels could have a first or second-person speech (Eg. Is your product 100% natural? Ours is.) and the Print Media Channels could have third-person speech (Eg. 100% natural product for everyone).

Step 4: Reach the crowd


Brand voice is the ultimate way of reaching out to the end-users – both the actual and potential customers. The brand voice is almost like giving a medium for everything from image to persona, travel to the customer. It follows the trails of brand image and brand-curated strategies that are promoted to reach a wider audience. Before you get to the actual core of the brand voice subject, an extensive study and analysis is involved.

In this stage, it is important for the brand to:

  • Have a clear starting point: MESSAGE: The brand/product’s message has to be curated such that the branch image, persona and etc. are intact. The brand-specific style of promotion has to be set forth. Eg. A high-end cosmetic brand would go for “Combo packs” over “Free” offers since the upper-level target audience would rather choose getting another product together.
  • Be aware of trends: COMPETITOR ANALYSIS: The brand promotions differ across fields, across sub-fields. It is important to understand the “category” of your brand and how the similar brands how brought results in ‘their way’. This study will help finding a direction for the process of promotions since the results are previously proven, eliminating the occurrence of failed attempts.
  • Scrutinize the target group: DEMOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS: Deciding the reach of the promotions is primary since it is a direct influencer of the ‘conversion’. The analyses-supported target is what converts potential customers to actual customers.
  • Branch out the platform-specific promotion: AD PLATFORM: Choose the advertising platform that is suitable for your promotion and its message. When required, make different promotion patterns curated for every platform. Eg. Banner ads, Display ads etc.
  • Keep a track of the results: TRIAL AND ERROR: Make the promotions a cycle and check the results at regular intervals. Test if the desired results have been achieved and get insights on all the ad run. Social media ads have curated insights for the platform.

For your personal brand, the ideal choice of promotion would be:

  • Instagram ads (For new brands focused on millennials)
  • Facebook ads (For brands of semi-formal to formal nature)
  • Google ads (For brand of formal nature and wide audience)
  • Newspaper ads (For established brands focused on audience above middle age)
  • Print ads ranging from Leaflets to Banners (For brands focused on a location or regional level)

The most ideal combination would be a mix of online and print media, cross promoted across each platform to prove efficient reach. Read more about Social Media Marketing that is ruling the trends.

Step 5: Set a track


Once the brand achieves the connection with the customers and a good rate of conversion of the leads, the process doesn’t end, but cycle back to the basics. The continuation of the brand happens with the path further, that goes to the next stage of brand building with business development. A business development team focuses on the processing the cycle, now that the brand has started its complete functioning. A deeper look into the lead conversion and sales target is taken with analysis and insights, and worked out for a future perspective on the track.

At this stage it must be understood that,

  • Business development is highly fluctuating. The development graph goes up and down depending on the seasons, changing mindsets, technology etc.
  • Business development is dependent on trends. It depends on the current trends and beliefs that are a large-scaled understanding of the majority audience’s desire.

Looking for a detailed dig into lead conversion? Click here.

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Akshaya Muralikumar, A graduate architect turned writer, specialises writing in Architecture, Construction, Digital Marketing and allied subjects, with an eye for essence in the words. Being "An Architect of Thoughts", she has had her vibrant thoughts transform into words, across multiple blog and magazine platforms.

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