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How to Brand Yourself
If you sell a product that has a corporate office, chances are they have a corporate branding. It’s probably absolutely beautiful, but it might not match who you are as a person. Your individual brand should be a reflection of you personally. The company I sell has a beautiful logo, but it’s all pastels and unicorns. Girl, I’m a little darker, a little more moody, and a whole lot more sassy! And guess what object is associated with me the most? It’s the wonderful potato. I’ll go into that more, but let’s talk about the how’s first.
Ok, I bet you’re feeling a little lost, right? Friends, it’s ok. I’m here to help you! I’m going to break this down into a few sections. Let’s cover the part everyone thinks of first, the visual aspects.
Visual Aspects of Branding Yourself
Now, this part is probably what comes to mind when someone talks about how to brand yourself. You immediately think about a logo, fonts, colors, designs, watermarks, and your anxiety hits new highs. Calm down, friend. You can do this! You can break this into little chunks, just like everything else. You might already find yourself using the same fonts, colors, and themes when creating your graphics. Well, do you love those? Then use them! I recommend picking 3-5 colors that work well together and 2 fonts. If you really want to dig into this, do some research on color psychology.
Are you permanently locked into your branding? Heck no! Look at Coke, for example. How many times has the Coke bottle changed. However, I’d pick colors that you don’t mind seeing every day.
Tip: Use these colors and fonts across all social media platforms to create a recognizable, cohesive branding. Eventually, your people will be able to look at a graphic and be able to say “Oh! I know who created that!”
Defining Emotional vs Object Association
Object Association- Now this is the easier part of the two parts of association. Do you have a friend that you ALWAYS think of when you see unicorns, flamingos, or potatoes? Well, you’re associating an object with them! Chances are that they are doing this organically unless they have a business or brand and are actively working on creating this association. You want this to seem natural and not forced. However, you can reinforce this object association at any point.
Emotional Association- I’m not going to lie. This one is much harder to generate and takes time to cultivate. How do you want people to feel when they think about you? Are you easy to talk to? Are you a little sassy? Do you provide superior customer service? You can exude whatever you’d like, however I’d strongly recommend that you amplify attributes you already have. For example, I’ve got a foul mouth and some serious sass. For me to pretend that I’m a prim and proper church going lady would be an act. It would be exhausting. Now, just because I’m a sassy one doesn’t mean I don’t have a huge heart. I will give you the shirt off of my own back if that’s what you need. If you’re not sure what you want to magnify as your emotional association, look at your reviews. What are people already saying? This is an easy spot to find a few traits that you can amplify.
How Do You Implement These Associations?
Object- For me, this was easy. Those damn taters follow me everywhere. Why? My husband is a potato farmer. Most people don’t live in an area where potatoes are grown, so people find this is kind of fascinating. At first, I fought having the potato as my object. I love that I get to make women feel beautiful every day, and the potato doesn’t give off sexy, beautiful vibes. But, the potato just kept coming at me, so I decided that this would be my object. People already think of me when they see a potato, so why try to reinvent the wheel. Now, the potato is not in my logo, but it does make appearances all over the place. Let me repeat this. The potato is NOT in my logo. Your object doesn’t need to be there. You can reaffirm your branding with just a little work. I take pictures in front of the potatoes at the grocery store, I post selfies from the inside of the tractor, and I do potato-related engagement every so often. In fact, I utilize that function on Facebook where people have to answer questions before being added to my group. Want to guess what the last question is? What’s your favorite potato dish? Well, why are you doing this, Devin? It introduces the object association part of my branding BEFORE they join my group.
When I fully decided that the tater was my thang, I made sure to implement it into my social media. I wear the french fry leggings, I have a shirt that says Taters Over Haters, and I post engagement posts related to potatoes.
So, what happens if you don’t already have an item that people relate to you? You might have to be the first person to say “The _____ (insert your item) is MY thang!” Declare it, friend! You can help reaffirm how you’ve decided to brand yourself by making sure to include it in your content mix. You just have to be intentional. How funny?! That’s my word of the year for 2018! Eventually, people will jump on your branding with you, and it will come full circle.
Emotional- Like I’ve said, this one is more difficult than object association. By this point, hopefully you have figured out how you want people to think of you when your name comes up. Emotional branding is going to be reinforced by your actions more so than by your words. I fiercely protect my group so that it’s a safe spot. Not everyone wants their shopping habits or sizes available for everyone to see on Facebook, right? That’s why I’m a huge proponent for having a closed group. It aides you in cultivating a group culture, too. So, every once in a while, I’ll put up a post about how I protect my group. This post helps reaffirm the notion that I’m the group’s Momma Bear. I’ll remove anyone that body shames, is rude, or just a general pain in the ass to the other members.
Now, don’t stress yourself out over this. How you brand yourself does not need to be overly complicated. You can implement this in little steps. You don’t have to do all of this at one time because that’s kind of insane. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Apply this same principle to your branding. Each bite adds up, yo!
Disclaimer: I do not claim to know all companies policies and procedures so make sure you check out yours before you make any decisions. I’d hate for you to get in trouble after doing all this work!