Personal Brand: Designing Me

I was reflecting on my decision regarding setting up my social accounts under a ‘brand/business’ name instead of my actual name. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me to set everything up as Keshena. It wasn’t that I was trying to hide my identity, in fact quite the opposite, I want people to know who I am.

I immediately knew that I wanted to create a brand that would continue beyond university and into my future. I wanted this to be the beginning of my new career. Even though I didn’t use my name, it is all still very much me.

Screenshot of @socialstudioco1 Twitter Profile Page, retrieved 8th April 2020

I wasn’t overly aware of personal branding, however, that is exactly what I have been doing online for many years now. Every interaction and piece of content I have shared online has been collectively forming part of my personal brand. Whether that has been intentional or not, both the good and the bad. 

Smith and Watson (2014, p.79) suggests that we curate ourselves online, creating a multimedia CV that represents us as a brand. Marketing our narrative through social media platforms, sharing our stories and personalities.

I would hope that if you were to do an audit of my social media accounts and online presence that you would find that my message of kindness, creativity and inspiration has been an ongoing theme (you will also find that I love a good cup of coffee). These traits are ingrained into who I am as an individual and form part of my core values. 

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Perhaps the most significant reason why personal branding is important for creative professionals is that there is now so much more competition, and with that has come a greater need to stand out from the crowd.

(Kelly, 2017 p.54)
I’m a lover not a fighter.

I am only too aware of the vast amount of competition that exists out there and if I want to succeed then I need to build a name for myself and showcase who I am and what I have to offer.

When I first set everything up, I didn’t go into it with a brand mentality and a specific look and feel in mind. Although it was still very much me, the profile picture I first created was pink and gold glitter. I could never pick something plain or boring, that is just not my style.

You can see that the idea of a brand theme and colour scheme was starting to form when I created one of my first graphics, still showcasing my aesthetic and building upon it.

It wasn’t until our class started discussing our online identity’s that I started giving more consideration to myself as a personal brand and taking steps towards a more cohesive and curated version of that. I recently did a blog post further delving in to my branding that you can check out here.

If I consistently create and share content that is themed and in line with my brand and persona, the aim is that in time it will become synonymous with my personal brand.

“authenticity today is more accurately described as ‘calculated authenticity’—. . . stage management. The best way to sell yourself is to not appear to be selling yourself.”

(Pooley cited in Smith and Watson, 2014 p.75)

I would be lying if I said that what I am doing isn’t selling myself, I want to showcase my skills and put my best foot forward. I am conscious of what I share across the platforms and keeping the public and private versions separate.

I came across an article online recently about how to brand yourself that might be of interest, you can check that out here. I think it all begins with being mindful of your online presence and how you present yourself.

I decided to create my own info-graphic with some tips on Personal Branding, which I hope you find helpful.

If anything, I hope that talking about creating a personal brand might encourage you to consider what that might entail for you. It may be the catalyst for you to be more aware of what you are sharing and putting out into the world and how that may reflect on you in the future.

I’m not saying that you need to do what I did and create a logo or a brand theme, because at the end of the day it is more about the content and the message than about how it looks.

One of my goals is to inspire, I hope that in discussing my journey so far and how that has evolved could in some way spark something in you. Be sure to let me know your thoughts, leave me a comment or find me on social media.

All images on this site are my own unless otherwise specified.

References:

Kelly, S 2017, Personal Branding for Entrepreneurial Journalists and Creative Professionals, Taylor & Francis Group, ON. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central, retrieved 30th March 2020

Smith, S and Watson, J 2014, ‘Virtually Me: A Toolbox about Online Self Presentation’, in Poletti, A and Rak, J (eds.), Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, pp. 70-95, retrieved 15th March 2020

Building my Brand

I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently come to realise that if I want to actively grow my brand, consistency is key.

What I mean by that is being mindful of the content you are creating across your social media platforms. I don’t have a highly curated feed over on my Instagram (although those can look amazing), however I am trying to share things that align with my brand. I almost want to put brand in captions because I don’t feel worthy of that description.

Photo by Keila Hötzel on Unsplash

I am only a tiny blip on the internet but I have always kept in mind the fact that I want to expand on what I started and grow it to bigger and better things. It was only recently that I put more thought behind the branding.

I’m a creative person but I find it somewhat restrictive when you have to stick to a theme and certain fonts etc. I like to play around and create visuals that are exciting and interesting to me. I also understand that if I want to be more professional then I need to take it seriously.

Which means narrowing down on what my theme is and sticking with it (for the most part, I think I will still create the odd graphic that tickles my fancy). So I have spent the last few days coming up with what that looks like.

Here’s what I came up with…

This gives you an idea of what I am going for and my brand colours. I also made a logo and a header image for my soundcloud account (podcast to come, watch this space).

I’m a total novice and definitely no graphic designer but I am pretty proud of the above image, I created those icons myself using Illustrator. I’m also taking a design unit so I love that I can use those skills to benefit my social media and learning new skills as I go.

I am no expert (yet) merely reflecting on my own experiences as I go. The more I learn along the way the more wisdom I hope to impart.

I’ll leave you with this quote…

Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.

Sir Richard Branson