BRAND IDENTITY & 11 steps to build your personal brand + FREE CHECKLIST
It all starts with a vision and a purpose.
This is the first post of the Web Design Series where I will give you all the information needed to design a GREAT website.
While it is true that all you need is a domain and a hosting platform to build a website, adding a few of these things will make everything look cohesive and make your website special.
NOTE: If you tend to procrastinate or are a perfectionist who takes a long time to output something, just start designing the website and revisit branding later. You can always redesign it!
Let’s look at what brand identity is and 11 steps you need to build your personal brand!
Do you know that the first and most important step towards building a successful website and/or business is to define your personal brand identity?
BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS BRAND IDENTITY?
Brand identity is what sets you apart from your competitors and tells your customers who you are and what they can expect from you and your business. In short,
Your personal brand is how you stand out with YOUR STORY in a sea of websites/businesses.
Let’s be real, the online world is daunting like an endless ocean. Everyone seems to be doing the same thing with/without making an impact. The question is how do you stand out and make an impact? This is where defining your brand helps immensely.
Before you think about designing a website or building a business, you need to think about your brand – your values, your identity and your purpose.
Let’s look at 11 things you need to define your personal brand and lay the foundation for a successful website and/or a business.
All right, are you ready? I have to warn you in advance that this takes work and a lot of thinking. Fear not, all the hard work will pay off in the end and the best part is that you only need to do it once!
Scroll to the bottom for free downloadable checklist to build your personal brand.
11 steps to build your PERSONAL BRAND
1. Ask the most important question: WHY?
“WHY” is the most important question you have to ask yourself when starting a blog or business (or anything in life). Why do you want to start a website or business? It is easy to feel lost if you don’t know why you are doing something. Hence, it is important to know the “why”. If the answer is “because everyone else is doing it”, then I have news for you my friend. Your blog/business will not last. Think deep and define your WHY. Dig deep and write down your motivation behind this. WHY are you willing to put all the hours and go through all this trouble to build something?
2. What is your purpose and what are your core values?
Once you have defined your “why”, it is time to define your purpose. Think about what you can provide rather than what you would expect. Set a few intentions and ask yourself:
- How are you different from your competitors?
- What value are you going to provide to your audience/customers?
- What do you stand for?
Write down the core values of your brand.
3. Your target audience
Let’s face it, it is impossible to please everyone. And neither can you be an expert on everything. Try to narrow down your niche as much as possible. The specific your niche is, the more expertise you can gain in that area. I read about a blog that is dedicated to fishing nets and is now an expert resource for fishing nets. Now that is a great niche!
Now that you have defined your values and purpose, it is time to communicate those values. This is where you begin to weave your magic and define your personal brand. How do you want others to perceive your brand. You have to convey your message and your personal brand identity through aesthetics, copyrighting, images and design. All the below steps are part of your brand identity and essential to communicating your message to your target audience. I will give you examples of how I chose mine.
In all these steps, keep your brand identity and your values in mind.
In the end, you should have a brand board like so!
I always wonder, what’s in a name? For some (like me), a name is everything. It is the first thing people see when they look at your brand or website. Choose it wisely. Some people tend to choose a name closer to their niche, others tend to use their own name and yet, a select few choose totally random names (like Nike, Apple) and have great success. It is important to note that while a suitable name is good, it should not stop you from starting your website or business. You can always change the name later.
I chose my blog name after a lot of trial and error and brainstorming. Remember that all good things take time. 🙂
NOTE: Most probably, the one you set your mind on might not be available online. Use domain search tools to check if your ideal name is available. Also check social media channels’ availability.
This is something that defines your values and succinctly conveys what your brand/website is about. Try something catchy and short.
It is great to have a brand logo that you can show off to your prospects and on social media. Again, this is not a must but a great one to have. I wanted my logo to give an idea of what my blog is about. Hence the pen, plane and wine glass. Also have a few sub-logos that you can use for social media.
RESOURCES: There are many tools and apps like Canva where you can create your own. You can work with designers at 99designs or etsy and have a professional create it. I worked with the wonderful ladies at Autumn Lane Paperie to create my logo and I couldn’t be more happier.
This is like choosing tiles or wood work for your home (if you know how hard it is :)). Choose a few different fonts from the hundreds available for free or paid (Creativemarket) for heading, sub-heading, paragraph text and highlights. Again, think about your brand identity and what message you would like to convey.
For my logo, I chose Sophia Ronald font because I knew I wanted script with a bit of flair and not too uptight (print) or classic (standard script with even size).
Again some tough decisions to make. Think about what kind of colors you like. Do you like pastels and pinks, monochrome, turquoise blues? Use a color palette to play around with colors. Look for inspiration on Pinterest. Create your own boards for these purposes. Use Paletton or Coolors and check how they blend with each other. Choose several colors to use as main color, accent, text color and highlights.
9. Style & Aesthetics
Would you like your website to be dark and moody or bright and flashy? Do you like a minimalistic design? Do you like a pop of red or yellow in there? Keeping your brand values in mind, decide the style of your website. Think about the person you are and a few words that describe you. Use your gallery on social media like Instagram for inspiration. I do not like to stick to one color and I love bright and airy and that is the style I chose for my website. Some people tend to go monochrome with grays. It is totally a person choice. Pinterest is a great resource for this.
One of the most important aspects of branding is to visually express your brand through beautiful images. Choose a variety of images from headshots, working shots, product/service shots to express your brand beautifully. You can either go for a professional photoshoot, use a tripod or use old photos. Again, this is a personal and a financial choice. I did a photoshoot with my husband in Santa Barbara for headshot images and all the other images are from previous trips.
And finally, the text. Tell your story. Make it personal. What makes you YOU and how you set your brand or your service or your product apart from others?
Take a look at my website here and here and other websites for ideas on what to include.
Hope these 11 steps to build your personal brand give you clarity on what you need before starting your website or business.
Your brand should tell your readers a story about who you are, what your values are and speak to them through colors, fonts, aesthetics and imagery.
LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER. If you have doubts or questions or need someone for support/accountability, I am here for you. Just send me an email anytime and I will get back to you.
As you put yourself out there, you are going to become a target for people you know and don’t know. After all, criticizing is much easier than actually doing something, don’t you think? During tough times, these are some of my favorite quotes to get through fear, doubt and criticism.
“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
This is my favorite Running quote but also applies to life in general. 🙂
If you push through the dark moments when everything hurts, you will find another resource of strength you didn’t know you had. Know that a high is going to come again – Courtney Dauwalter
And finally, my favorite quote from Theodore Roosevelt that is hanging on my wall.
FREE BRANDING CHECKLIST
PIN FOR LATER
I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.
Thank you, I needed to read a post like this. I really enjoyed part 3, about your target audience, thats really helpful 🙂
Thank you Ann! So glad you found it helpful!
This is such an interestesting article! A lot to learn from!
Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! 🙂
This is amazing Aswani! You have a lot of great pointers here. 🙂
Thank you so much Taylor! 🙂
This is very inspiring and interesting! Loads and loads of information to learn from this article. I have to do everything again from scratch and this really helps me a lot organizing my thoughts. Thank you very much for writing this article. More power to you!!
Jan, thank you so much! I am so happy you liked it and so glad it helped you! 🙂
I struggle with this because I am ALWAYS changing my tastes! It’s something I’ve gotten better at though. For one, I’ve settled on a font! Might change my logo and blog design in the future though… ahah 😉
Brittany, I totally get you. I am like you too. I have many interests and finally found something that works. You will get there too.:D
This post is really helpful and so well-explained, thank you for sharing!!
Hi Maria, So glad you liked it and found it helpful! Thank you for stopping by.:)