Why should you bother about personal branding?
Well, this may sound harsh, but there are millions of brilliant graphic designers out there. Those designers are competing with you for customers. To stand out in this competitive landscape, you need to give potential clients a reason to pick you over competitors.
Personal branding will help you showcase your personality and skill set.
To build an impactful personal brand, you need a winning strategy. This guide will provide you with a framework you can use for advancing your personal brand. Before we get too far into this guide, though, let’s cover some of the basics.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is a strategic way of managing how people perceive you as a brand. The ultimate goal in personal branding is to create an image of yourself that appeals to your target audience.
Why Should Graphic Designers Have A Personal Branding Strategy
If you want to advance in your chosen career, you should focus on developing your personal brand. Here are some of the benefits of personal branding for graphic designers.
1. Personal branding builds trust
One of the primary outputs of personal branding is that people feel like they know you before you meet. You can create a positive or negative impression. If you create a positive impression through your personal branding, people will feel that they trust your judgment, and you could add value to their business.
A nice example of a person with a strong personal brand in the marketing niche is Neil Patel. He is recognized as a thought leader in this field because of the valuable content he provides.
Neil Patel is now associated with many of his companies because of his personal branding.
The result? People who trust Neil Patel are more likely to use the companies he runs and trust the consulting services he provides. That becomes a powerful channel for customer acquisition.
Personal branding is also self-reinforcing. As a thought leader in the marketing niche, he gets asked to attend conferences and people reference him in content - like in this article - which further strengthens his personal brand.
Hopefully, that example highlights why personal branding is something you should focus on.
2. Personal branding helps you gain recognition
Kevin Hart, Tony Robbins, and Oprah. What is the one word that comes to your mind when you think of them? Comedy, self-help, and empowerment, right? If you’re looking for support with self-help, you might seek out Tony Robbins. If you want to unwind, you might search for a Kevin Hart comedy.
Personal branding makes people want to seek your services for who you are. It is the result of a consistent and deliberate effort to get people to associate you with your niche.
As a graphic designer, you need to try and get people to make that association.
Let me illustrate with an example. Jacob Cass is a graphic designer who runs the website, Just Creative. His site is focused on branding. He also runs a podcast about branding.
You could say that branding is his thing.
Through consistent effort, Jacob has managed to establish himself as a thought leader in the branding space. Many companies turn to him for support and insights. That allows him to charge a premium for his services.
You can see how Jacob has established his personal brand through a deliberate effort to associate himself with a niche. You can also see some of the benefits of this approach.
3. Personal brandings brings you the right clients
Personal branding helps you attract your ideal client. I touched on how Jacob achieved this through careful positioning. I’m sure he now attracts clients seeking support creating a cohesive brand image. I’m sure he attracts many clients who feel like they share many things with him.
Marketing guru Seth Godin has a name for people who relate to you and your values. They’re your tribe.
Godin says ‘You only need two things to form a tribe: a shared interest and a means to communicate. What separates a tribe from a crowd is the presence of a leader and an effective way to talk to each other’.
With personal branding, you come in the position of a leader. You need to find effective ways of talking to your tribe and letting them communicate with you.
Let’s look at Starbucks as an example.
The reason why people choose to pay $5 for a coffee at Starbucks when they can get it for a much lesser price elsewhere is not that they simply want to pay more. It’s just that they identify with what Starbucks represents: Inclusion and diversity and a culture that puts people first.
Starbucks created a bond with its customers. They created a tribe!
You can use this approach to create your graphic design tribe.
4. Personal branding allows you to charge more for your service
Personal branding doesn’t just set you apart in your niche. It also allows you to charge a premium for your service.
An iPhone costs a couple of hundred dollars more than an average smartphone. But people stand in line when a new one launches. Why? Because there are people out there who pay for strong brands. We appreciate quality, and we invest in trust. We do not just pay for the product itself, but the entire experience. Remember Starbucks?
So, when you have a strong graphic designer personal brand, you have the power to charge more for your service. People will be more likely to pay for that service because they recognize your personal brand.
5. Personal branding allows you to showcase your personality
With personal branding, you choose how other people will see you. Your choice of how your brand should be should reflect your personality. After all, that’s the one thing no one can fake.
Your personality as a graphic designer can shine through in many ways. Your website copy and graphics should be consistent and reflect your personal branding.
Let me illustrate with an example:
Based on the website copy alone, it’s safe to conclude Jayne Bradd (above), a freelance graphic designer based in the United Kingdom, is a laid-back type of person.
Matt Hollands, another freelance graphic designer (below), is a more serious type:
Your designs should also showcase your personality and approach.
Check out these graphic design products created by Matt:
Now take a look at Jayne’s:
See what I mean?
With personal branding, you need to focus on highlighting what makes you unique. Once you’ve defined what you want to stand for, you need to transmit that information consistently to your audience.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can create a personal branding strategy now that we’ve covered the importance of personal branding.
How Can You Create An Effective Personal Branding Strategy?
Here are five steps to follow when implementing a personal branding strategy. These tips will work for you, whether you’re flying solo or working with a studio to enhance your brand image. Let’s get started.
1. Define your goals
Remember when Tony Robbins said that setting goals is the “first step in turning the invisible into the visible?” Well, in many ways, that’s true.
To create your personal brand, you need to set your goals first. Goal setting will help you clearly identify where you’re heading. It will make you consider the obstacles that may come in the process. The result? You create a strategy that will help you reach those goals and overcome those obstacles.
How do you want to be known in six months, one year, two years, and five years? Other than the immediate goals of getting clients and reaching more people, what are your long-term branding goals? Would you like to be known as a well-rounded graphic designer? Or a graphic designer who accepts specific projects?
Write your personal branding goals down. Make sure they’re SMART. Specify realistic deadlines for accomplishing them.
Specify, too, the ways you plan to accomplish your goals. For example, if your goal is to be known as a graphic designer specializing in print design, one of your targets could be writing five guest posts a month on authority design blogs.
2. Differentiate yourself
To create a brand image that works, you need to determine your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’. Your USP is what will make you stand out from the other graphic designers. Even if your goal is to be known in a highly specialized graphic design field, you still need to identify what will make you stand out.
For example, if your goal was to be a graphic designer specializing in print design, maybe your focus is business logo design. Or maybe you can be that print graphic designer who likes to marry graphics with real-life photographs.
We’ve taken this approach of defining our USP at Shotkit. The site only does comprehensive reviews of camera gear and photo editing software. That clear USP means that our audience knows what to expect when they come to our site for information. It’s an approach that has helped us become a valuable resource in the eyes of our audience.
Just define that one thing that you do better than the rest. Make your differentiation stand out in your personal branding.
3. Define your target audience
Once you’ve thought about what you want to stand for, you need to consider who you want to engage with. What does your ideal customer look like? What are their age, gender, demographics, buying interests, disposable income?
One effective way of defining your target audience is to create a customer persona.
Customer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. They’re semi-fictional for a reason: although the names you give them aren’t real, their characteristics are characteristics of real people. A customer persona looks something like this:
It should include your ideal customer’s goals, frustrations, and motivations. The more information you include in your customer personas, the better.
But how do you get that kind of information you need for your customer personas in the first place?
There are many ways you can collect this data.
For example, if you’ve already had clients you’d like to continue catering to, you can interview them. Ask them what their goals and frustrations are. Ask them, too, what they liked about your service.
If you can’t talk to them directly, just email them a survey. You’d have to give them an incentive for them to answer your survey, though. You can give them a gift card or a coupon, for example. Social media is also a goldmine of information.
Once you have your customer personas, you can make the right decisions for your brand. For example, if you decided you’d cater to freelancers, you can pick the right marketing channel to get your message in front of them (maybe LinkedIn or freelancer platforms). You can also create marketing messages tailored to their needs and preferences.
4. Create your brand identity
Once you’ve determined who you are, it’s time to create a powerful brand identity. Your brand identity comprises two parts - your voice and visuals.
It helps to refer to your set goals in the beginning. Go back to your customer personas, too. After all, your brand voice should resonate with them as well.
Once you explore these, the visual elements of your brand will be somewhat clear to you. You can then start deciding on the following:
- The color palette of your marketing material
- The logo
- The typography
- The name of the brand
Remember, though, that your brand voice still needs to align with your personality and your design style. Your marketing copy can’t say rebellious, while your business tone and designs are formal. That will come across as confusing.
Check out this example from David Pugh, a freelance graphic designer based in the UK. One look at his portfolio and you can conclude he likes edgy designs:
So, his website marketing visuals are just as edgy:
The result? A powerful brand identity.
5. Build your social media identity
Don’t just create a brand identity on your website. Create one on social media as well.
After defining your brand identity, the types of content you should create for social media will be clear to you. Pick the social media channels you want to start with to execute your personal branding strategy.
For graphic designers, it may seem like Instagram is the best channel. However, your channel should depend on where your target audience is. Besides, you can always pick multiple channels for as long as you have extra human resources. You should use those channels to educate your audience about your work.
Remember that you need to be committed to build an audience.
Also, even if you’re posting the same content on all platforms, you’ll have to vary each content a bit to suit each platform’s requirements as well.
Let me explain with an example. Jessica Jones, a freelance graphic designer in the US, usually posts her work on social media. But she varies the content a bit depending on where she posts it. For instance, this is how one post looks on her Facebook account:
Here’s how that same content looks on Twitter:
Notice the difference in copy?
Twitter has a lower limit on characters, so she posts just a one-liner to introduce her work. On Facebook, on the other hand, she tells the entire story behind that same work.
The point is that even if you start with two or even one social media channel, make sure that you make full use of your awesome content and explore it in multiple ways. Additionally, make a proper social media strategy for each channel you choose for personal branding. Each piece of content should have a goal and should strengthen the brand.
6. Create a Portfolio
You should now know who you are and the types of marketing content you’ll create to promote yourself. If you already have a portfolio, great! If you don’t have one, start creating just that. Consider who you are when creating your portfolio as well.
Go back to your set goals and specific strategies. If your plan was to be known as a graphic designer specializing in print and photography in a year, for example, then surely you must have one strategy on the number of clients you’ll pick for you to reach that goal.
Since your portfolio should revolve around your planned personal brand, you’d have to pick clients looking for that kind of output as well.
Finally, in everything you create, just let your talent shine!
How To Create Your Own Personal Brand Logo And Elevate Your Business
Having your own personal brand logo is essential in building your identity as a business and standing out in your chosen industry.
A logo can help establish the face of your personal brand and set it apart from the competition. Your personal brand needs great branding to build a strong foundation— a logo is a massive step in this direction.
Great branding lets you build a connection with your target audience, potentially making them want to engage with you.
A unique and relevant personal brand logo can elevate your business, but more importantly, it provides professionalism and credibility—critical attributes for a business to have from the start.
Building your personal brand logo boosts trust between you and potential customers, which is vital in creating a bond with them for long-term business growth and brand loyalty. Having loyal customers, in the long run, entails consistent branding and engagements on your part.
Once you build a connection with your audience through effective branding, your brand gets stronger as a whole. A strong logo is a giant step that can help you get there, and with our AI-powered logo maker to assist you, your visual branding needs are pretty much set.
Before we get to that, here are some other steps you should take to make your personal brand stand out from the crowd.
How To Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out
Your personal brand logo is essential, but there are other ways to stand out and build a good and positive reputation in your industry.
Statistics show that it takes 5 to 7 impressions before people start remembering a brand. When it comes to building your personal brand, being consistent is one of the most powerful things you can do to lead your business to success.
The same study also showed that most personal brands’ number one worry is reputation risks. 88% of brand owners said they explicitly focus on managing reputation risks as a critical business challenge. Again, consistency is a significant factor in avoiding potential brand reputation complications.
Branding is essential, but here are other valuable tips to consider:
- Do extensive research on your competitors in your industry.
- Build your brand’s personality, mission, vision, and values.
- Ensure that your website is transparent about the heart of your brand.
- Connect regularly with your audience.
- Offer channels for feedback, comments, etc. and respond consistently.
- Manage brand priorities accordingly.
- Be authentic at all times.
- Provide products and services that resonate with your brand’s mission.
- Let every business move be in connection with the personality of your brand.
- Adjust your brand voice accordingly, and stay consistent with your brand tone.
- Be consistent at every juncture and stage of business.
- Promote your business on various social media channels.
Your personal brand is something you created from your respective views, missions, and personality. To build your brand and stand out, be authentic with your customers. If you are consistently genuine about your intentions and services, your audience picks up on this and will likely remember you and return.
Most personal brands fixate on the potential for returns and profits, but one crucial aspect is forgotten. Connecting with people is a surefire way to build trust in your brand. Consumers respond to brands that resonate with them personally—never forget that for the sake of your business.
These tips can have customers intrigued by you, but a good branding strategy boosts the professionalism and quality of your online entity as a whole. A logo is the face of your personal brand, and if it’s appealing enough, it can compel people to learn more about you.
We can assist you with getting a logo, a name for your personal brand, and tons of services to help you market your business. Find out how below!
Steps To Create A Personal Brand Logo
Here are six easy steps to get a personal brand logo and ways to promote and market your business with your new visual.
Step 1: Have a relevant and distinctive business name
Your personal brand name is more for your customers than it is for you. Decide on a name that oozes personality and credibility, so much so that it would compel users to learn more about your brand.
You could either use your name (since it's your personal brand) but if you're looking to brand it a little differently, consider using a business name generator to provide you with a memorable and relevant name along with a gorgeous logo to go with it.
All you have to do is input 1 to 3 relevant keywords that describe your business and optimize your preferences.
For example, if you’re diving into the coffee industry, try something like this:
The tool will generate a ton of names along with potential logo ideas for you to choose from.
Step 2: Choose your preferred business name
Browse through the selection of names and choose the one you like the best. Don’t worry about the logo design just yet—you’ll soon get hundreds of different designs to choose from.
Here are a couple of tips for when you choose a great name for your personal brand. Make sure that the name is:
- Relevant to your services and products
- Easy to memorize and pronounce
- Distinctive and unique as possible
- Recognizable enough to remember it
- Reflective of you who you are as a personal brand owner
Once you have chosen the right name, click ‘Ideas’ on the upper left of the page to check out hundreds of logo designs for it.
Step 3: Choose the best logo and customize it
Every logo you’ll find is customizable according to what you prefer. Find a design that is closest to your ideal personal brand logo and click it to customize it. From here, you can modify its font, colors, icons, spacing—pretty much everything! Don’t stop until it’s perfect.
For example, this is how your personal brand logo can look after customization. The difference is night and day!
When you start customizing your personal brand logo, keep these tips in mind. Ensure that your logo:
- Has one or two brand colors at most
- Contains the colors that best represent your brand
- Has one or two fonts at most
- Uses sans serif fonts for their readability
- Is not overcrowded with too many elements
- Is a simple yet strong design
- Looks memorable and professional
- Has an icon that best represents your personal brand
Customization is important because it reinforces that the design is your own. You are in complete control of the design. Nobody understands your ideal logo as well as you do, and with the help of a professional logo maker, you get to make your vision come alive. Customizing your personal brand logo also helps you stand out from your competitors.
These are the fundamental benefits of logo customization:
- Aids in standing out from competitors
- Lets you tap into your creativity
- Achieves your ideal logo
- Adds distinction and memorability
- Helps make brand-specific elements come alive
- Reinforces that the design is truly yours
Step 4: Add the finishing touches to your logo
If you’re happy with the design, click ‘Preview’ to see how your new logo looks on various platforms and merchandise. If you see any changes you’d like to make, you may backtrack and make adjustments. You will also receive details about the font, color palette, business cards— whatever you need to get your personal brand running.
That’s all it took to get a personal brand logo—four simple steps, and you’re almost at the finish line. Now, all you have to do is choose a package before you show the world your new logo.
Step 5: Choose your payment plan
You may choose from three logo kits, all of which you can upgrade to the $5/month subscription for tons of services and tools to help in building your brand.
The plan provides you with every service in the logo kit, the option to edit your logo unlimitedly, and a complete brand package, which lets you launch your personal brand in almost no time to spare. Start early and watch your business grow to new heights.
The basic kit is also available for as low as $20, which gives you full ownership of the logo. You can start using it right away! All the logo kits give you complete ownership of your logo, so give it a shot for your personal brand.
Depending on your choice of package, you can get:
- High resolution and vector images
- A free domain name
- The option to edit your logo
- A social media kit
- A website builder
- Basic PNG files
- ...and so much more!
If you need more variety, check out the package plans to determine which would be the best for your business and its needs.
Step 7: Build your personal brand on social media
Social media is a helpful tool that allows you to promote your brand to the right audiences efficiently. Engagements are essential in building your personal brand. You need to consistently interact with your audience. Having these channels allows you to make bonds and create a lasting impression.
But take note that having successful social media engagements only happens when you have credibility. A way to build credibility in your personal brand is to make your social media presence consistent.
A social media kit offers this consistency. We offer ready-to-use files for all your social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Twitter so that you can get started in no time.
With us, you'll get access to a website builder, which gives you a ton of opportunities for how you would want to use it to build your personal brand. Every business needs a website, and now you have one!
You can also use it for diving into other forms of promotion, such as creating blogs about your journey in starting your own brand—providing tips and tricks to other entrepreneurs while also promoting your business.
Statistics show that 89% of customers shop with competitors after a poor user experience, so don’t give your competition that edge! Put up a great website for your business.
Build A Solid Personal Brand
Personal branding is indispensable for graphic designers who want clients lining up. The good news is, creating a personal brand isn’t so hard to do.
Just follow these tips in this article. Give yourself time to chart your path and be ready for the obstacles on the way. But don’t get so attached to the strategy that you cannot change it when needed.
With the power of technology, building a successful personal brand is easier than it ever was. Take one step at a time with your winning personal branding strategy. With enough patience, you’ll have your powerful personal brand--and those clients lining up at your door!