There is plenty of advice on developing your personal brand online. Mostly, it focuses on defining your goals and audience, main characteristics you would like to emphasize, channels, content types, and coming up with a thorough communication plan, followed, of course, by its implementation.
In many cases, such a methodical, classic approach to developing your personal brand works well, and today professionals can enjoy their new positions, increased clientele, visibility in the media, or an engaging audience.
However, it is important to remember the context in which you are strengthening your personal brand. Based on various calculations, we can presume that each person sees 6 to 10 thousand advertising messages each day. Some of them we barely notice, skim through others, and some gather our attention so much, we become loyal clients or fans for life.
So, to optimize your personal brand development, I advise you to match the classic, time-tested methods with creative, unexpected, and authentic ones. Today, I will introduce you to five that fall into the latter category.
1. Choose your color
We recognize “McDonald’s” and “Coca-Cola” cola from afar as soon as we see the colors or the silhouette of the typeface. Research shows that up to 90% of users get their first impression of the brand from its color. Data also tells us that colors can increase brand awareness by 80% while also influencing consumer behavior, mood, and even stress levels. If colors can have such a significant impact on a brand, why not use them for a personal one, too?
Remember one of the latest examples that mesmerized and united almost everyone in Lithuania – the “Yellow wave”, aimed at supporting “The Roop” band that represented Lithuania in the Eurovision song contest this year. The song, the dance, and the entire performance were great, but it was the color that became that unique symbol that helped people express their support. Both individuals and brands dressed in yellow, updated their profile pictures and even logos – many social media bubbles became yellow for a week. This massive support, an exceptional combo of yellow and purple, together with some other elements, helped the band to get noticed by international media, too.
People who work in fashion utilize the power of color a lot. Designer Michael Kors always dresses in black; this color is usual for him both on and off the runway. Alexander Wang also loves this color, although his style is very different. Image is at the center of the fashion business, making the personal style that remains unchanged for years the best proof of power and achievements. Such a choice allows ensuring maximum attention for the new collections while simultaneously strengthening the status even further.
Speaking of social media celebrities, Goldie Chan – who is very popular on “LinkedIn” – is certainly worth mentioning. Her green hair attracts almost as much attention as her interesting content. The hair creates a playful image, while Goldie’s achievements are just as impressive: millions of views and “LinkedIn Oprah” title are just a few of the professional attributes associated with the personal brand of Goldie Chan.
2. Devil is in the details
Details are the second creative solution that can be used to capture the audience’s attention and express one’s uniqueness. Depending on the personality, some will choose exclusive accessories, while others will go for simpler, casual options. Both choices are right; what matters is that those details become an inseparable part of the look.
When thinking of the legendary 60’s movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, you will probably think of Holly Golightly with her pearl necklace and tiara. And although this look is sixty years old, it remains iconic and still one of the classiest ones.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that it’s the fashion people who make the best use of creative image development. Fashion is where we can look for inspiration for details, too. The late designer Karl Lagerfeld was known for his exceptional talent, of course, but both the hairstyle and sunglasses that hadn’t changed for years were his symbols, too. The hairstyle and dark shades have also become signature to Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of “Vogue”. Both the designer and the editor have personal reasons for their choices and say that look isn’t the main reason for such accessorizing, but we cannot ignore their significance.
Research shows that 93% of the buyers only focus on visual presentation when making a purchase. Perhaps we could say something similar about people whose exceptional qualities attract our attention. In music, it is common to use unique details to stand out and get a spot in people’s memories, and in many cases – to distract the attention from the personality itself to the music the person creates.
3. Unusual content formats
Another creative way to stand out and get into the heart of the audience is to choose interesting, perhaps even strange, content formats and develop them continuously.
That’s what Tom Dickson, founder of “Blendtec” blenders, did in 2006. He started making the video series called “Will it blend?”, and most of us have probably seen at least one. During these videos, Tom would try blending almost everything – from food to iPhones. This not only pointed the attention to the creator himself but also to the powerful devices he was selling.
4. Exceptional phrases
Another way to stand out and increase awareness is to use your own signature phrase consistently.
At the end of each presentation, Steve Jobs would always say the “One more thing” phrase. Afterward, important news about product updates would follow, while the regularly used phrase became a call, signaling that something important will be said soon.
If you already have your signature phrase, convert it into a social media hashtag. This will allow creating even more associations and increase visibility.
5. Body language
Fans of TED will surely recognize Amy Cuddy. The scientist became famous in 2012, when, in her talk, she talked about the way body language can influence the impression about a person and shape the personality. Amy has been speaking about the importance of body language to the impressions and the way we feel since 2010 when she first introduced the concept of power posing.
Usually, you’ll see these poses used in meetings and talks; many of them will look great in photos, which you can later use to illustrate your content. However, if you’re thinking of a unique sign of your own personal brand, you should get a little more creative.
Think of “The Roop” which we mentioned in the beginning – their little hand dance was one of the elements that united the fans.
Creativity beyond personal branding
As you can notice from the examples, these five tips can be used both for people and brands. When attending an event as a company representative, use clothing elements in the same colors your company uses for branding. Add other elements of your company to your outfit, too – perhaps a tie, a handkerchief, or a pin. Creative content and unique phrases and slogans should always be dominating in the company’s communication, and you can always come up with a unique sign and encourage as many colleagues as possible to use it.
Last but not least, I’d like to mention one more thing: none of these tips will work if your content does not create value for the audience. Even if you get attention for a little while, it won’t create a loyal follower bubble. Shallow yet shiny content will begin to disappoint your audience. The creativity elements can surely help to get attention, but it’s the quality content that will help you retain it. Because no one would have worn yellow if the leader of “The Roop” missed every single note, don’t you think?