Category: Branding

Branding – How to build your tribe?

 

One of the objectives of branding in postmodernism is essentially getting through to individuals or groups to join your utopia! Is about certainty of one’s world view and the paradox of interpretations that validates the brand’s mindset such as courage, being active, cultured, cosmopolitan, daring,… . Basically, creating an echo chamber of motives and behaviours that embraces the attitudes of individuals and ensues support.

Nike embodies the major characteristics of postmodern branding by juxtaposing essential and ephemeral social experiences throughout their branding efforts. From their logo depicting motion and speed to their inspiring lifestyle, Nike explores the complexity and real challenges of our world at the same time the real basis of motivation, passion and empowerment. Their diverse and connecting social media posts champion creation of tribes that identify with it’s way of life and play an instrumental role to promote the brand. Their stories tap into the essential feelings, the interplay of oppositions and realities that propel us to be a role model, to have that “can do attitude” regardless of the gender, giving hope and saving a child “from the streets to the league”.

Nike: A sunset is not a stop sign.
Nike: A sunset is not a stop sign.
Nike: It's not always sunshine and sand. #justdoit
Nike: It’s not always sunshine and sand. #justdoit
Nike : If you don't take risks, you'll always have regret. #justdoit
Nike : If you don’t take risks, you’ll always have regret. #justdoit

The postmodern culture of connecting with your tribe in personal branding is also setting side by side different aspects of our self-image and opposing views. Fragmenting our narratives, documenting extremely realistic images, sharing contents that supports the complexity of ourselves is appreciated by many.  Transforming our opinions and beliefs offline and online, into what we consume, wear or undertake should be acknowledgement of contradictions that makes us human.

Emma Watson- Ready for anything after @SheFighter training with Lina Khalifeh. She opened the first self defence studio for women in the Middle East. I’ll be chatting with her and 8 other activists about challenging gender stereotypes at @OneYoungWorld Ottawa later today.
Emma Watson- Ready for anything after @SheFighter training with Lina Khalifeh. She opened the first self defence studio for women in the Middle East. I’ll be chatting with her and 8 other activists about challenging gender stereotypes at @OneYoungWorld Ottawa later today.

Forming a loyal postmodern tribe or a community demands the understanding that diversity, differences and similarities are in state of flow. For that reason, plug in to identify trends and shifts from passing ideas, harness your capabilities to help others, tune in to your supporters to help you grow, take risks to make an impact and be conscious of the fluidity of ideas and our ways of life.

 

Featured image is work of art by : JR –  The artist exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. As he remains anonymous and doesn’t explain his huge full-frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter. That is what JR’s work is about, raising questions…

How To Bring Your Personal Brand Voice To Life?

In previous blog post, I talked about how to define your personal brand voice and frame recognizable standards to create your brand story. In whatever field, your distinct voice, signature image and style determine your relationship within your circle or group, overall in society at large. Let’s expand our topic to the critical element of bridging your brand identity/voice to real life and social media.

Let’s start with your engagements through myriads of social media platforms. Generally, the nature of these mediums are spontaneous and fluid. Cultivating your personal brand voice on social media calls for identifying your tone, your language and your purpose.  Creating contents that are authentic and endorse your brand voice; requires clarity, discipline and consistency. Blissfully once established, it takes away the distracting flotsam in your busy lives.

Sweeping through your list of what I am and what I am not, can be used to create contents that give a hint or a splash of your identity. It really pays off if you have done your homework.  For instance:

You prefer the visual appeal of Instagram to adapt your screenplay and engage with your friends or the public. You are an empathizer but not a sympathizer; you prefer soft rock & relaxing music but not techno; you love to read fiction concerning social issues not science fiction; you are an advocate for a specific cause, you love to eat french pastry, the list goes on.

Certainly, the efforts to define your personal brand voice gives you a clear idea to share images and micro stories that exhibit your opinion and position. Creating snaps, videos, tweets or images to showcase what matters to you; putting into words effective captions that firmly support your perspective; sharing your odyssey, together breath life to your brand.

Each medium evokes different experience and connection. Tapping in to the most compelling one to convey your intentions, you need to tailor your brand story to fit. No matter what form your are using, there are few techniques that you can apply to stamp your brand story, whether through snaps, images, conversations or attire:

Show don’t tell: your choice of clothing, manner, your posture, your eye contact, your images, a piece of art, snaps or pins,… should be in harmony with your brand voice.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 6.44.46 PM

 

 

Serena Williams sleek feed on Instagram attest to her qualities and values.

 

 

 

Foreshadowing by giving hints and clues: your choice of accessories, food or wine; a quote or a proverb; building anticipation by composing contents that your circle looks forward to,…. are few tips to consider.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 6.13.52 PM

 

For instance, one accessory that reflects your character in an understated elegance is a watch. Let’s say, you are a sportsman, a thrill-seeker,  drive a Porsche 911 and choose to spend a weekend in Circuit  des 24 heures de Mans. Certainly you wear an Omega wristwatch that communicates the style with power in a subtle way.

 

 

Appeal to senses: your choice of music to include in your storytelling; a description of a taste;  narrating the mood,…. invoking a sentiment that one hopes for and allows your audience to relate.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 6.51.58 PM

 

Jess Hoffman snapchat account (@ChoosingChia) focus on wholesome plant-based ingredients. She shares the fresh produce that goes into her juice of the day, step-by-step videos of her favourite recipes.

 

 

Ability to find solutions: Be a thought leader by sharing your knowledge; talk about your experiences;  be the expert in your topic of choice; tell what motivates you; your world views,….

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 7.05.14 PM

 

Lewis Howes, an American author, entrepreneur, and former professional Arena League football player. He hosts The School of Greatness, a talk show distributed podcast. He makes use of his knowledge of marketing, product design and human behaviour through his online media company.

 

Set up a unified visual branding: this technique surely applies both to your social media engagements and physical attributes. Use of colour that matches your emotions and fonts that appeal to you personally. Be expressive and include a signature style to indicate your distinct voice.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 10.52.22 PM

 

Christoph Niemann Instagram account @abstractsunday is innovative and witty. His whimsical signature is apparent in all his visual storytelling.

 

 

We might not have the unique experience of cheering people up, influence, entertain, tell and hear stories around a campfire at all times, still adapting the same approach and emotions to our social and career networking brings our personal brand voice to life.

 

4 Elements To Define your Brand Voice

Everyone has a brand! The impressions, we leave behind, are combinations of how we have reflected our traits and presented ourselves. Done properly, it serves as a compass for personal development, establishes credibility and is instrumental to our success. Personal branding starts with the ability to outline your skills, intellect, strengths and style. It gives you a clear focus using your best elements and what sets you apart. Once defined, you will be able to shape your brand voice.

The very first step is to pen down:

  • Who you are! You can use simple terms to define your attributes, such as:

    cheerful, confident, culturally curious, witty,….  

  • What is your mission another word your brand promise? An example would be:

    “I have a positive outlook, I bring passion and creativity to my work and I am in my element when I help others,…

  • Define guidelines by thinking of what is your brand and what is not:

    Bohemian not conventional; lighthearted not poker-faced; compassionate not indifferent,..

  • Write 5 words that best describes your core values & guiding principles. The important qualities that you live by and they create value and connection. Such as:

    Aspirational, spirited, caring, loyal, honest,…

The exercise gives you a solid foundation to create a coherent brand voice that holds together all your efforts and communication through any medium, to establish your brand.

Now, bringing the brand voice to life has a clear path. Your social media engagements, your style, your interactions are all guided by a set of references that articulates your personality.

 

 

Featured image: artwork by Metis Atash – Crystal Buddas Sculptures

Personal Brand Storytelling With Videos

How to connect with your online audience in 7 seconds? How do you bring about an emotive response in the cyber space? How the online surfers, viewers or fans will get to experience your feelings, your attributes by reading your “About” page? The moving pictures are the answer.  Whether you are an executive, a consultant, an artist,…  creating video bios will significantly prompt deep and meaningful bonding. Visuals with well structured script are memorable. You have control over the flow of information to illuminate professionalism, inspiration, empathy, creativity or any personal attributes that will assure a favourable connection.

“Your brand is a unique promise of value”. William Arruda

The essential elements in producing compelling video bios for your personal branding:

Script: Create a storyline that is relevant to your profession. Start with your brand attribute, the authentic quality that reveals your character and supports your intention & unique promise.  An example might be that your brand is about helping others succeed as a consultant. Hence, that particular trait in your personal and work behaviour such as enthusiasm should be revealed in your script. Next employ your brand statement and weave a story that embodies your sensibilities, strengths and vulnerabilities. Account your experiences and challenges to toss in an intimate flavour to your content. Suppose you want to be regarded as an influencer, in that case you should give your perspective on a topic. For the most part, remember your written bio will list all your accomplishments however your visual motion should convincingly render abstract feelings apparent.

Visual Appeal:  Check the Basic rules of design, provided by Canva to help you with the shot compositions of places, people and yourself.

The audio: Choosing the right music and narrating your story should be in harmony with your images and your intent. Websites such as: AudioJungle or Freeplay Music allow you to choose the appropriate background music for your video. As for the voice-over, make sure that is clear. Your tone and pace should reinforce the emotions that correspond with important moments or ideas.

Last but not least, emerging technologies such as virtual reality, 360-degree video and augmented reality allow viewers to experience the adventure and visualize your work.  These immersive ways enable you to create notable and emotionally vibrant stories.

 

 

How To Create Your Personal Brand Statement

Your commitment to your natural talents, your learnt skills and your intentions creates your personal branding statement. Specifically, you are responsible to align your intentions and your strengths to communicate your brand. Your approach to craft a statement should not be to classify, state a job description or a goal, but what makes you memorable, solid and competent.

“In my opinion, a good personal brand shouldn’t be the goal; it should be a side-effect of having good goals and acting consistently.” Tim Ferriss

Your personal brand statement shouldn’t be more than two sentences. Start with your personal & professional attributes, make a list and then choose the ones that people recognize you for and more importantly you are able to consistently deliver to the standard of expectations.

Once you narrowed down your list, choose the ones that make you different, bring value to others and solve problems.  Ask yourself questions like:

  • In what way I am different from others?
  • How my perspective in life brings about improvement?
  • How do I perform differently compared to others?
  • Why am I interesting to others?
  • What experience people feel when they meet me or work with me?
  • How can I help others?
  • What kind of activity engages me for a long time?
  • Why people come to me for help?
  • What makes me stay focused on a task?
  • How do people introduce me?

Recognizing your unique value proposition, allows you to echo your promise. This commitment is your “unique selling proposition”. By leveraging your experiences, your values, your trainings and skills, you give a different colour to your brand. For the most part, your point of difference is your unique selling proposition. Therefore, developing a a concise and clear narrative about your distinct reputation helps your stand out.

To help you get started, here are few examples of personal brand statements of influencers , retrieved from  twitter bios or other sources:

Richard Branson : “Tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at !”

Michelle Obama: “Girl from the South Side and former First Lady. Wife, mother, dog lover. Always hugger-in-chief.”

Oprah Winfrey: “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”

Chiara Ferragni: “Love fiercely (and don’t forget to stop along the way to take photos).”

 

 

 

 

 

3 Key Elements Of Brand Storytelling

Why do you need a brand story:

Personal or corporate brand storytelling is about being remembered, motivating favourable action, engaging investors or changing perceptions. Simply, communicating your vision through a story allows your audience to be inspired, gain clarity and act with focus. For instance, in an investor relations meeting, by adapting your strategy to a story, you get rid of the complexity of the data which investors can surely find from other sources or lose focus during a presentation. The same applies in personal branding. Your audience will be motivated to engage and support your goal merely because you have made an impression and they will remember you.  In whatever capacity, your brand story should remove inconsistency and unreliability.

How to improve your brand storytelling:

To get you started, pay attention to the 3 critical elements to create an effective story.

Message/story: Be wary of the decisive factors in particular the order of your narrative, predisposed outlook of your audience, the appeal and whether the account is clear vs suggested. Recognize the emotions of your audience so that you can organize the flow of your story. For instance in an hostile environment, an impartial approach by giving both sides of the issue encourages active listening. Or, if your goal is to change opinion, painting a rosy & speculative picture is boring and slanted. Yet, introducing antagonists specially dark emotions such as fear to more promising sentiments such as hope and compassion gets people behind you.

You: Your audience will start processing your message in view of the fact that you are knowledgeable, trustworthy,  likable such as being a good listener or having a good sense of humour, your poise & neat appearance. Observance of these elements kindles change of perception. Be an expert, know your facts and avoid sluggish tempo when you talk.

Audience: Learn about their primary stance, explore whether they are motivated to accept, their intellectual capacity, their disposition and how much they feel confident about their capabilities. Providing that you are aiming to start an acceptance process and  bring about action. People are more inclined to persuasion when the message is clear and intelligibly simple.

In order to stand out from the crowd, form an identity that helps your audience see your differentiation & your accurate point of view. For the most part, zoom in on the future, be clear as what lies ahead and describe your vision. Just like in stock market, people invest in future rather than in the past.

WHY – Personal Branding

Evolution is about differences, genetic to environmental influences shape who we are and our conduct. The appreciation of our differences and honing our capabilities allows us to formulate our personal brand.

According to Oxford dictionary, branding is: “A particular identity or image regarded as an asset”.

You need a starting point to build that particular asset, the visual image and the verbal identity. Well, the kick off is to find your purpose by asking a simple question:  WHY? The answers are to recognize the underlying reasons by de-constructing your values, attributes and conduct.  Once you are clear about your intentions you start cultivating your uniqueness and formulate your story.

Another ingredient to your personal narrative is authenticity. Once you are clear about your purpose, the blend of ownership and consistency will govern your brand behaviour.

Now, let’s start with polishing your everyday attire. Whether you have liberal political views wearing grungy fashion to laissez-faire capitalism of Haute Couture, you should be comfortable with your choice. Minimizing “decision fatigue” like Steve Jobs and creating a signature style or opting for self-expressing clothing, require well maintained routine.

How you carry yourself is another form of communicating your personal brand. Another  word posture is power. Walking tall conveys confidence. Imagine you are participating in a networking event, walking into the centre of the room with a smile and a frame posture signals that it is safe to engage with you.

The way you interact in social engagements reflects your personal branding. An admired trait is being an active listener as it expands your opportunities to connect and learn, regardless of your point of views. Practice thinking pose such as praying hands, the connotation indicates that you are paying attention.

Where you position yourself in a meeting or in a seated social engagement also speaks of your trait. Try to be as close as possible to the centre of the room where you have maximum exposure.

Start a conversation with light and current events. Topics such as best seller book, travel to product recall are safe and ice breakers. Personal stories too create bonding. Choose few topics from your personal/family life or your professional experiences that you are comfortable sharing with strangers. This way you are helping other individual to be at ease as well as figuring out your message. Keep in mind that turning a negative thought to an uplifting conversation establishes emotional connections and strengthens your personal branding. Here are few questions to help you prepare for social/professional engagements:

  • Your birthplace and where you reside
  • A unique story that describe your schooling, career, or life experience
  • A life changing experience
  • Places you have traveled or plan to visit
  • An interesting fact about your heritage
  • Sport

Last, decide on your voice volume and rhythm of your verbal communication and always close your mouth when you are listening.

 

…/ part 2 of personal branding will be published on Friday October 20, 2017