Elevate your business with personal branding

Elevate your business with personal branding

Elevate your business with personal branding

There’s a revolution taking place. Thankfully, this one is (at least for the most part) quite positive. It’s putting autonomy, pure entrepreneurialism, and confidence in the hands of those with something to say.

Influencer culture and the modern ‘personal brand’ is often seen as something to deride. To that, we say ‘phooey!’ as more and more people are finding their voice, and not only that, having it heard. 

Never before have those with a smaller following been able to promote advertisements, to accept sponsorships, create content that becomes monetized, or to promote their professional candor in a manner in keeping with their skillset. The business heroine of 2020 is personal branding – start getting it right now.

But how can you dive into this approach with enthusiasm? The moment we begin, we may start to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of options open to us. Even something as simple as launching a website approximate a million design questions,

staring inquisitively at you from all around.

This is why great personal branding is both the most exciting venture to focus on, while also being the forward progression that inspires the most active procrastination.

Never fear! We have some experience in this game, and to this end, we hope to help you launch into the new decade with heroine smarts. Hey, even Wonder Woman had to have her outfit designed. Before we discuss that though, let us consider the first and only bitter pill we will force upon you in this guide:

Not everyone is branding themselves as well as they could be.

This grants you some potential, it services as both an opportunity to fulfill, and a lesson in how not to do those things. This can help you land with the most focused grounding possible.

But first, we have some questions to ask of you:

Who are you?

This is perhaps the first thing to consider when hoping to design your personal branding towards a cohesive result. If you have little clue who you are, or what you wish to offer, or the lens in which you hope this to be realized, you have almost nowhere to begin.

If you desire to draw a picture, for example, an understanding of perspective can help you construct the final design. So, what is your perspective? What is your vantage point?

It’s easy to design what you have enjoyed and try to view it through that lens. You needn’t always be one-hundred percent-original. For example, a freelance barber hoping to visit the home of his/her clients to offer wet shaves with a straight razor, their goal being a return to an old fashioned barbering service rarely seen today.

Due to this old-fashioned service, they may consider using a paid-for, licensed, commercially viable Western font for the logo, echoing the signage lettering of the Wild West. This is just one example of how you may represent yourself and how you may allow branding to explain your service or standing.

Perhaps the first lesson to learn is how commercially viable you wish to be. A lawyer hoping to become a consultant for business would brand themselves far and away from a hopeful young YouTube creator. What matters is finding your authenticity. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. As Robin Williams once said, 

‘You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”


A Primer On Being Unique

Being unique at any cost is not advisable, because it can lead you down strange pathways in which you may not wish to be oriented. It’s better to be strong and stable in your simplicity than to opt for an overly complicated logo or website with awkward functionality, for instance.

That being said, it’s also important to remember that while the accessibility of branding is open for you, it is for most other people, too.

This means that finding your own niche is perhaps more of a worthwhile opportunity to take. Focus on what you’re good at, and are doing well. Sometimes, this can be enough to help you stand out.

For example, it might be that injecting a little humor into your bicycle store branding can help draw families and children towards your premises. And, they will be hooked for life (provided you treat them well).

When launching any passion project, you may feel as though you need to adapt to the expectations of the industry. But what about bending the industry’s aspirations to you? Why can’t you come onto the scene with a unique selling point? Before Uber came along, booking a taxi and seeing its GPS route and a bio of your driver seemed unrealistic. But now said company operates in 60 countries around the world.

Additionally, authenticity and uniqueness are not about aiming for the highest success. To this end, we would like to consider how:

Personal Branding Is Flexible

It’s fine not to have all the right answers now, provided you put yourself out there in the best manner you can. You can always shift. You can change your motto. In fact, businesses and the best practice surrounding personal branding shifts course all the time.

Perhaps you were known as a specific professional before. Now you wish to make video content for other business owners, and so are happy to switch up your style.

Never feel like you have to lock yourself into a particular role.

Without the willingness to pivot, you can feel locked into a situation you’re never happy with. No heroine is interesting to watch without a character arc, a change of ambition, a smile in the face of challenge, and a learning process to be followed – so why should your heroine of personal branding?

Think of a tree in the wind. The most flexible and bending tree will be able to withstand the intense gales more hardily. The stagnant, old, deeply rooted tree will have a harder time shrugging off this pressure.

This also lessens a great deal of ‘FOMO’ when making those decisions. It can feel that choosing one thing is, by extension, neglecting to select every single other option. 

Branding FOMO Anxiety

A few further words on this horrible emotion. Much like purchasing a new wardrobe of outfits for the upcoming season, head to the local bar and you’re sure to find at least one person dressed better than you, perhaps seemingly with less effort, or with a higher sunken cost. Does that mean you’re poorly dressed?

Of course not. When we view things in that context, we see just how silly comparing your branding to everyone else can be. That’s why, in every branding approach we take, we always try to find that which helps a specific client’s platform sing rather than how they can ‘keep up with the trends.’

We spoke of authenticity earlier. Finding your authentic vision as an absolute baseline can help you completely

subvert that branding anxiety, because when an approach is you through and through, what else do you need?

This can give you the confidence you need, helping you promote it thoroughly, and also allowing you to keep things consistent. Not only that, but you’ll feel as if you’re speaking from the heart. This sets a positive trend for any and all industries, content platforms, or for the team behind you.

So Where Do You Begin?

There are many places for you to begin. However, an answer such as that barely inspires confidence when we’re unsure of our footing to start with. We would like to offer a suggested guideline. First, consider the practical nature of whatever you’re hoping to brand. Is it a law firm? A cafe? An online blog, or Depop fashion store hoping to one day branch out? How might your fonts, logo design, color palette, and social media presence surround that kind of attention?

Additionally, how might you consider your approach as it relates to your emotional truth? This is worthwhile to consider because it gives you a strong idea of how you would like your audience to engage with you.

Fraught professionalism may be necessary for serious fields such as legal counsel, but a cafe?

Well, might you get funky fresh, displaying the kind of cuisine you hope to offer, or may you become a real social space for the local industry? A cafe deigning to become the hub for all the surrounding tech startups to meet may factor in this goal within their branding. 

The possibilities are endless, but the very first steps you take will help enlighten you to the direction you wish to follow. To that end, we would like you to consider the options we can afford to you. Also, how the daily realities of managing your social media, curating your branding, and starting your adventure may be approached. It’s quite alright to have fun with this process, you know.

With these sentiments, you should have everything you need to make a heroine of your personal branding. So, rebel on, live your art, shout it out loud & shine (always)!

The spicy ingredients of a powerful brand story

The spicy ingredients of a powerful brand story

The spicy ingredients of a powerful brand story

If there is one thing that every business owner needs to understand, it’s that their brand is so much more than just a logo. Branding yourself is so much more than that; it’s a puzzle, the puzzle of you. Some pieces fit together nicely to create the brand image that you want to portray to your audience, and this is something that you must focus on doing.

Especially if you’re starting with your business or even if you’re thinking about starting one, your personal brand exists way before that; this comes first in the process. You can only ever begin with the brand pieces that you can handle – especially if you are without a team and a big budget – and then you grow from there.

Writing your digital marketing brand story is going to take some time. No business immediately stands out with their brand, and the sooner you understand this, the sooner you can build a brand story that you can be proud to show the world. The facts of your business that you choose to share will feel right, and when it

comes to storytelling, you want the facts to be available to the audience.

Brand Storytelling: It’s Everywhere

We are living in a new marketing era in 2019, and while we are racing toward 2020 right now, facts are facts: brand storytelling is not going anywhere.

Storytelling gives you a chance to show where your brand stands and what you advocated for – these are the pillars of your brand story that you cannot live without.

Your audience craves connection with you, and in a time where people have spent years being talked at and sold to, those connections are fragile. Instead of pushing a product and hard-selling your service, you must work on building that connection through the art of brand storytelling.

Your brand has to connect directly to the audience. Just because you put something into the world, doesn’t make it interesting enough to engage with. You could scream from the rooftops about your product, but unless you give it empathy and love woven through, you aren’t going to get the audience falling in love with you. People find stories emotive, and if your brand is all about quality over quantity, you’re going to get that story right.

Compelling storytelling content is going to attract the masses and play a significant role in making an impact on your audience. This goes to improve your relationship with your customers, and your bottom line all in one fell swoop.

You Need To Be Likable

It doesn’t matter how you choose to project your brand story; you need to be likable. Storytelling will build your relationships with your audience, enticing people to establish a connection with you and piquing their interest, and capturing their attention. All of this will only work if you do it well, and this is the biggest challenge that brands come up against in their storytelling.

They need to be likable. People only buy from you because they like you and they love the stories you tell to get them to buy. You can have all the best intentions to build your customer base, but the challenge is in the execution.

You need time to establish relationships based on trust, empathy, and love, and it’s not always easy in the crowded digital marketing industry we have right now.

As a business owner, this is your chance to make yourself as likable as possible and build a stable relationship with your audience that continues as time moves forward. It’s your chance to create better content that is interesting, engaging, invokes emotions, and talks to your audience like a person. Not like someone who is buying something in a store.

A Biological Response

When you tell a story, you do so because you want to be liked, we’ve established this. The reason people like you after you tell your brand story is because storytelling evokes a biological response. It triggers our emotions, and we find ways to relate to the pain, the love, the happiness.

For example, if you knew that a business owner didn’t look after their employees, you would avoid buying from that brand because it’s not one that aligns with your morals and values. You need to be able to identify with the businesses from which you buy, and your audience needs to feel that way about your business, too. Persuasive advertising is just as relevant as the content that you project to the world.

When you tell a good story to your audience, their brains will physically respond to it, and telling a good brand story comes down to the strength of your narrative. There are so many ways to create a connection to your audience, and some of the examples include:

• Making your brand the source of help to a customer in the story Writing your brand as the hero that saves the day • Telling stories about your people, values and where you come from to give you personality • Telling a strong story helps you to be useful to your audience. For example, the Super Bowl ads are more attractive to viewers when they include a dramatic, familiar story arc.

It’s Never Easy but Stand for Something Bigger than You

Building a brand connection takes time, and you have to be willing to set yourself an impossible dream and chase it to the end. Building a brand story is never going to be easy: there will always be people who don’t like you and what you’re talking about.

It can hurt your feelings a bit, but in the end it’s fine; haters will still hate. There will always be people who hate your brand, but if you have enough people who like it? You’re winning, that’s where your brand stands.

Do you remember, not so long ago, the ad that made people burn Nike sneakers, rage, and also love? Wow, that’s powerful. Regardless, if you stand for conservative, moral, religion, liberal, progressive ideas, define those according to your values and take a unique stand. Ask yourself:

• Where you carry old pain? Letting go

• That thing took makes your heart tick. If you could solve one big problem, what would that be? Save the oceans, Amazonia, someone in your family, or even suffers from a chronic disease.

• The thing that makes you furious, outraged, move mountains, and evoke change?

Drumming up those emotional connections all come down to telling your story, so allow your business self to be vulnerable enough to open up to show your audience that you have compassion and humanity.

Show them that you care and build their appreciation for your business, and you will be able to watch the brand story you write bloom and grow.

And, final words, from the Nike ad:

Dream Crazy. It’s only crazy until you do it.

Are Your Dreams

Crazy Enough?

And, never forget: If they (your dreams) seem impossible right now, you’re doing it right.

It is a brand connection in motion.

PS: So, if you have creative blocks with your brand, I would love to help you. I have the Branding Rescue Session (1000% free) to talk about why that’s been a challenge for you, and what might be your next best step? Schedule your session here. Love is always a policy here, let’s connect!

Embrace your personality to grow your brand

Embrace your personality to grow your brand

Embrace your personality to grow your brand

If you run a business, you likely don’t need to be told of the importance of branding. You know that your brand is the first step your prospective customers take towards forming a relationship with your business. 

But despite your sincerest efforts, your brand may not quite be getting the traction it deserves with your target audience. Without understanding the psychology that governs how consumers identify with brand storytelling, you may not get the best out of the consumer/business relationship, no matter how much market research you carry out.

That’s why I’ve created a resource for entrepreneurs who want to improve their brand storytelling. Mostly, they want to connect authentically with their audiences who they work so hard to cater to. 

A free gift from me to them that will help businesses to get to know their audiences better by getting to know themselves better. A resource to help them discover their brand archetype…

The power of archetypes- What’s it all about?

For years, I wanted to create a gift for people visiting the Branding Collective Website. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff? And as with any worthwhile freebie, I wanted it to be useful and inherently valuable to all who receive it. 

But, while I was determined to create a free resource of quality and value, I was stuck in a creative rut, found it challenging to get outside of my head, and take action. I kept having conversations both in my head and hubby (sorry darling, thanks for bearing with me as always). 

What am I going to create that represents the business, our vision, and what we believe? How can it accurately represent our services and the way we love and want to help our clients?

With so many freebies in the digital realm, who was going to pay attention to our modest offering? How could I be sure I was creating something handy and beneficial that wouldn’t just end up in the digital trash can of someone’s laptop. 

These were all ego-driven thoughts, so I turned to my heart, looking for answers. I asked myself what I love about the branding process? What excites me? What could serve as a useful tool and an introduction to the soul of Branding Collective? 

The answer was clear… A quiz about brand story archetypes! Quizzes are fun and a great way to learn about ourselves.

But my business is unique! Why should I embrace archetype?

Many business owners get a little jittery around the notion of archetypes because they worry that aligning their brand with an archetype will diminish the uniqueness of the brand that they worked so hard to build. But understanding your brand story archetype can make for much more compelling brand storytelling.

It’s important to differentiate between archetypes and stereotypes. While a stereotype can diminish your uniqueness, embracing archetypes can actually enhance it. Think as your archetype as a cultural shorthand that allows your branding to make faster and more effective headway in engaging your target audience.

Your consumers already understand and embrace archetypes. Don’t believe me. Just look at what’s showing at your local multiplex. Here you’ll find that the movies that make the best use of archetypes are invariably the most successful. Archetypes provide a framework of familiarity in the characters, plot formula, and narrative / stylistic tropes of any given genre.

An archetype is an integral part of the language of storytelling. And if it works for every franchise from The Avengers to Annabelle, it can work for your brand.

Archetypes don’t exist to put your brand in a box. They exist to help you to know yourself better and emerge from that box fully formed and utterly proud.

Why Brand Story is essential… and why archetypes improve Brand Storytelling

We all gravitate towards stories. Ever since we’ve huddled around the fires outside our caves, we’ve been using stories to make sense of the world around us and make the decisions that help us get from one way to the next.

As you can imagine, your brand’s story is essential in resonating with your target audience. It prevents your business from being seen as a series of processes and transactions. It helps to give it a personality that people can relate to, like, and fall in love with. 

It makes you unique and noticeable, building a bridge between you and your audience. 

But do archetypes really make that much of a difference? Sure they do! Archetypes have been around for as long as humanity itself, long before Jung popularized them and made them easy for us to understand. 

They work as a model of human behavior and identity, opening the doors to the imagination through the language of visuals. So, it’s easy to see why their dynamic visual language lends itself so well to brand development. 

Archetypes unlock your Unique Brand Value (UBV)

Your UBV is intrinsically tied to your mission statement. An understanding of archetype can help that UBV to come across in a way that resonates strongly with consumers. It helps to establish your personality and to avoid the cookie-cutter marketing approaches that can doom your brand to obscurity. 

They form a skeleton that you can flesh out with your own unique story, life lessons, and experiences. Of note, don’t be surprised if your brand is a combination of several archetypes. They’re a blueprint, not a bible!

Knowing your archetype is an essential step towards better self-awareness, helping you to understand yourself, the people who make your business, and the people all around it.

Beyond the results of the quiz, your brand story archetype, I also provide guidelines on how this is manifested in effective branding, following the pillars of the Branding Collective signature system:

1- Storify – BE!YOU 

Know yourself in the light and the shadow. Love both so much as they are part of you and an essential part of your personal brand, and how you present yourself to the world.

If you’re self-aware, you know your strengths and weaknesses, what your triggers are, how you make decisions. The effect they have on others inside and outside your enterprise.

2- Beautify – BE!EXPRESSION

Express yourself through your brand. Through the language of visuals, colors, fonts, and photography. This language is how your brand communicates with the people who make up your audience (who are most probably not that different from you).

3- Mystify – BE!CONNECTION 

Through your communications and content, you define your connection to your audience, enchanting them through your interactions on social media. 

In this way, you can create an aligned business that impacts lives positively while giving you the wealth, abundance, and fulfillment that constitute your personal definition of success.

Pretty neat, huh? 

I hope this quiz will help you to discover, re-discover or reassure you with useful information about yourself, your business, and your tribe. Are you Wise Glow, Soulsmith, Joyful Creative or Wild Heart? Curious? Take the quiz here and get to know yourself better and start infusing your magic into your brand!

Your creativity results in success of your business

Your creativity results in success of your business

Your creativity results in success of your business

Remember what it was like when you first started your business?

Maybe that moment wasn’t that far back for you, perhaps it was years ago, or maybe you haven’t entirely leaped yet…

Either way, there are a lot of things that nobody tells you about going all-in with your entrepreneurial dreams. And here it is… You can’t control everything, and nothing is ever going to be perfect. It’s going to be a wild ride, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.

What’s more, is that you can’t predict everything that could possibly go wrong! During my life in academia, things were pretty well mapped out. Life was a constant flow chart of policies and procedures. Steady, trustworthy, and predictable… I was molded into the person who believed that perfection was the only option.

When I left that academic world for my creative adventure, I was shocked to discover that

perfection not only wasn’t an option; it was also a roadblock. I thought I could control every step on this new pathway. What I didn’t understand was that there was no perfection on a path that had yet to be created!

When you go into business for yourself, you’re responsible for creating your own reality. The other side is that there will be challenges. You will make mistakes — no doubt about it.

But the good news is this…

You’ll create a more profound sense of trust in yourself. Challenges, mistakes, and failures don’t define you, these don’t reflect your worthiness as a business owner, a creative, or a person.

So be ready. Starting a business will challenge you in ways that you never imagined. The good part is that you have a say in how you respond, what you make it mean, and how you learn from it all.

Your experiences create your brand story, and they allow you to create the reality that you truly want! So stay open to possibilities. Meet the challenges. And don’t worry about perfection. You can create something so much better than “perfect!”

Love this topic? I’ve got something you’re going to want to hear! I recently joined Malorie Nicole on her podcast “Abundantly Clear,” where we talked about the power of creativity, the root cause of anxiety, and how to trade perfection for empowerment. Listen to that right here!


Create a authentic brand that is above the clutter

Create a authentic brand that is above the clutter

Create a authentic brand that is above the clutter

There’s an overload of information out there about personal branding. In this field, like in any other, you get both solicited and unsolicited advice from both experts and amateurs.

Everyone has something to say about how to write your copy, design your logo, choose brand colors, and drink your coffee. You’re drowning in checklists, mini-courses, e-books, and training that offer you a formula on how to build your business and brand

We should be grateful: It’s fantastic to have so much incredible information out there and so many leaders to show us the way.

All of this information is well and good but can cause a deadly disorder called analysis paralysis. It is a condition in which we are paralyzed with inaction, perfectionism, and stagnation.

Confusion and immobility overshadow our creativity and our innate imperfect beauty. Be warned: Analysis paralysis causes death to businesses and creativity.

In the end, as creative leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs, the antidote to analysis paralysis is to listen carefully, filter what resonates with our most inner core and then create our own version, pave our own way, honor our voice within. One of a kind. Priceless!

You’re ready for your next step, growing your business, reach more people, make more connections regularly, so humanity sees and feel what you’re up to on a regular basis.

You know that you must have a consistent brand, visually and verbally, you take the necessary steps to make it a reality. Okay, after planning and strategy your brand, the time comes to put your visuals together, and you start with a mood-board.

As a sucker for self-expression, I must confess, I love the mood-board phase of the design process. My heart fills up with excitement and joy when seeing the creative juices flowing.

Nowadays, more frequent than ever, the process usually includes a mood board on Pinterest to visually display the mood you hope to convey with your brand.

This helps you explore your vision and, if you are co-creating with a designer, she can understand better your style and aesthetics.

At Branding Collective, we believe in a three-stage process: un-rule, rule out, rule it. You know, this is a gut feeling driven process, the one involving your crocodile/reptilian brain: if it’s boring, ignore it; if it’s not safe – run. But, if it’s interesting … let’s start building an emotional connection. Ultimately, isn’t that what you want for your brand? So why not start designing your brand with the same natural reactions is mind?

Let’s start with the un-rule. First, leave the other successful brands in your field at the door. They are not going to make you any good at the beginning just because they have a cute logo. If we pay too much attention to what others are doing, we risk of ending up looking just like them. Ouch!

Second, your brand style doesn’t only come or rely upon Pinterest or digital gathering or even magazine cut-outs, although those are part of the process too. You must bring the variety, texture, personality, and energy into the process. You can add anything to your board, from empty soda bottles to old shoes. What shapes you like, triangle, hexagon, a square? Wallpaper clippings, bottle tops, and even stones or sticks from nature would all work well. Everything counts if it inspires you and connects with your message.

And speaking about messaging, write keywords that came to mind and resonate with your vision. Do you have symbols, words, or pictures from your life? Think about shifting moments in your journey and what visuals, sounds, lyrics, music, that represent them. Bring that over too. Write your signature to your designer; maybe she can use it in your logo. Be as messy as you can at this stage.

Perhaps it sounds crazy but the flow and a no-rules process it helps flesh out your ideas in an objective manner in the end. Most importantly, your unique creative expression can not be applied or used with any other person, you own it, and that’s power … yours.

And, never forget:
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ― Coco Chanel

The rule out part is also a journey within to find clarity. From what you create in the un-rule part, starting speaking to your heart, and keep only the ones that generate strong emotions.

These will move forward to the next stage when you integrate it on your new brand. In the last step, you must think about your own journey, your gifts and what resonates with your audience. This is a genuine and empowering connection, no lies, no gimmicks, pure!

2019 is the year of story. Is your brand ready?

2019 is the year of story. Is your brand ready?

2019 is the year of story. Is your brand ready?

Very recently, I had the pleasure of writing an article for Funnels about a fav of mine: brand stories in social media. The article provides insights on how to connect and engage your tribe on social media with the power of storytelling.

Just like you, I am always looking for the next trend, but in reality, not all trends have a place in your brand. But if we need to make a trend this year that will guide your business through the upcoming years, take my word, tell a story.

Check it out what you can do to master social media stories in 2019 and implement it using simple tips that will set your brand on fire. It’s here. Enjoy!

If you want to elevate your brand with the power of storytelling, take the quiz and gain insights how to do so with simple and beautiful actionable guidelines. Hint, it starts with your brilliance:) . Take the quiz here and let me know your thoughts.

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