Four things I learned when building my personal brand
For more than 10 years I’ve been working in the marketing field, helping companies solve all sorts of communication issues. I can whip up copy or knock out strategy quite fast – and it’s not because I’m any better at my profession, it’s because I’ve refined my craft.
When I decided to start representing Rodan+Fields, a leading facial skin-care company, admittedly I thought, “I’ve got this.” All I had to do was take their lifestyle brand and merry it with my personal brand. Easy enough, right? Not so much. What I’ve found is building my personal brand is 10x harder (and scarier!). But here’s what I’ve learned:
- A personal brand has to be just that, personal.
I’ve always had what I call two lives – a professional and a personal one. When I started having children I took it to a new level. I became very protective of them – my privacy settings on social sites are set to the max, I don’t allow photos of them to be posted by daycare. But when I started building my personal brand I realized it was not going to work if I didn’t let some of my personal side out. While I knew it all the time, I was reminded that the more personal I make it, the more people will respond. I’ll never be a true open book, but I’m working on finding a balance.
- Being over-the-top polished doesn’t always work.
I was excited Rodan+Fields had few limitations for marketing myself. I did a photoshoot with my daughter, created a catchy hashtag and told a story. I uploaded it to Facebook, sat back and watched. But it did not catch on like I had hoped. In fact it was one of my worst “liked” posts in a long time. What happened was even though my daughter was in the picture, it felt too much like a company marketing their products – yikes! Certainly not what I was going for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that bad marketing works either. What I am saying is you have to make it feel like people are having a conversation with you. What they see online shouldn’t be any different than if they were talking to you in person.
- Some old-school rules still apply.
People lead busy lives. They’re constantly being pulled in different directions, making their time incredibly valuable. You know this. I’m simply reminding you that caring about this is just as important today as it was 10 years ago. The time and day you post still matters. Making it about them, not you, still matters. These are easy things to forget but need to be at the forefront of everything you do.
- Being authentic wins every time.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve had to let down some of my walls in order to successfully build my personal brand. Some may find it ironic, but it is a true struggle for me. So when I get down about it, I remind myself that authenticity wins people over. There’s a reason the public forgives companies that have done something wrong. There’s a reason baby and pet videos go viral. If you can genuinely strike a chord with people, they will respond – and that’s incredibly powerful.
Ashley spends her professional time as the director of marketing and communications for Kappa Kappa Gamma. She started her career in corporate communications and then worked for one of the nation’s largest independent marketing and communications agencies before finding herself in the nonprofit world. Personally she’s a type-A Midwest mom to two amazing little girls who recently found another passion for skincare. She can be reached on Twitter @ashleygmoyer.