a personal branding example
Sparkly neon platforms! High-performance sneakers! 6” transparent heels! Sustainable hemp flip-flops! Congratulations!! With the power of metaphor and me drinking way too much coffee this morning, in this personal branding example you are a new pair of shoes. And your ideal client? Well, lucky you – she just happens to be waltzing by a shoe store!
But real quick before we get started: I’m using this brand = shoe metaphor because there’s a lot of confusion about what a brand actually is and why it matters when it comes to marketing to your target audience.
The thing about branding – HA, as if there’s only one thing about branding, I mean have you seen my blog?! I can’t shut up about branding! – is that it’s only effective if it’s genuine. I know from experience.
I spent the first few years (YES, YEARS) of my business desperately trying to be someone I’m not.
I built my brand around what I thought people wanted; absolutely terrified of offending someone, acting like I was excited about work I actually despised, trying to appeal to people I didn’t even want to work with. I expended a lot of energy trying to be The Very Best Business for Everyone. My website was all rose gold, #girlbosshustleculture, and safe language. In my social media posts, I talked a lot about the weather. I know, ew.
When I finally mustered up the courage to start showing up as myself in my business, to build a personal brand that was honest and felt natural, that’s when I really started connecting with people I actually wanted to work with. I was able to fit my business into my lifestyle instead of the other way around. And marketing didn’t just get easy – it got fun.
Okay SO. Our personal branding example. Back at the shoe store, things are getting intense.
YOUR IDEAL CLIENT: Right outside.
YOUR GOAL: Be the newest member of her walk-in closet.
THE STAKES: NEVER BEEN HIGHER.
But right now you’re stuck in a tiny shoe box amongst thousands of other shoes. How are you going to stand out to her?
First, you have to know what she wants and needs so you can catch her attention.
(AKA: you have to know who your ideal client is)
Before she can choose you you she needs to know you exist, because there’s a whole lot of competition going on here. So perhaps you’re modeled in a captivating window display, or front and center at the end-cap of an aisle? This is why having a solid understanding of your ideal client is so important. When you know where they’re going to look, you’ll know where you need to be. Basically if your ideal client prefers reading over watching videos, why are you wasting time learning TikTok dances?!
And then of course you need to communicate how you’ll make her life better.
(AKA: you have to articulate your value in your marketing)
The type of marketing you do is going to completely depend on your ideal client. So maybe you’re the star subject of a radio ad that plays throughout the store, or ooh! You could be the poster shoe for how new shoes bring happiness and success! Regardless of what platform you market on, this is where the importance of your actual content comes in. Are you getting your point across in your messaging? Are you using language that will appeal to your ideal client? Are you telling stories your ideal client will relate to?
After that, you gotta make sure she tries you on.
(AKA: the choices you make in your branding have to appeal to your ideal client in order to get their attention)
What can you say, do, and show in order to make sure your space is inviting? If you were a shoe, maybe you could put a luxe bench and a mirror nearby. You could be nestled in a very chic and intriguing box that just begs to be opened. You could offer a complimentary glass of champagne with try-ons. Your branding – your colors, logo, fonts, voice, messaging, copy, images, etc. – need to cohesively communicate what your brand is all about so your ideal client actually stops and takes notice.
And when she finally opens the box, it’s your time to shine.
(AKA: an effective brand is a clear and refined manifestation of yourself)
This is the pivotal moment where it’s crucial to be the most genuine you-shoe you can be. Because the power of branding is you don’t have to be the flashiest, brightest, or most colorful shoe in the store to convince her to try you on. You don’t even have to be the perfect shoe; you just have to be the perfect shoe for her.
Even though there are hundreds of other shoes you’re seemingly “competing” with in the shoe store, being visible to your ideal client doesn’t mean being more visible than all the other shoes. You don’t have to scream “LOOK AT ME, I’M THE BEST SHOE IN THE SHOE STORE! PICK MEEEE!” You don’t have to stand out more than all the other shoes, you just have to stand out to your ideal client.