Whether you are an aspiring social media influencer, an entrepreneur, or a recent university graduate, there is an increasing emphasis on developing a strong brand to help you reach your personal and professional goals.
Discussions of branding have become the norm particularly in creative fields — and yet personal branding may seem like a nebulous (and at times lofty) concept. And it's not always clear what a strong personal brand should actually look like.
From Layne's vantage, a personal brand is the basis of, well, almost everything: "A strong personal brand can help attract the energy, opportunities, and people you want into your life," she says. "It helps to clearly communicate what your values and interests are."
Creating your own brand, says Layne, doesn't need to be complicated. While the practical steps involved — from designing to copywriting to social media and marketing strategies — are important, first and foremost, you should have a deeply rooted connection to a mission or purpose, and be able to express this intention to others. "Personal branding is just knowing yourself and what you want really well — and strategically communicating with others to reach your goals," Layne says.
We chatted with Layne to gain some insight into how to establish a solid sense of what you stand for, hone in on your message, and embrace change and evolution. Ahead, Layne's six tips for creating a meaningful personal brand.
1. Commit to a serious, deep relationship with yourself.
"In other words, get to know yourself really well. Take time to reflect and understand who you are on multiple levels, what your desires are, where you need to heal, grow, and tend to. Check in with yourself regularly and be open to expanding and evolving, because nobody is static. The key to a strong personal brand is to be rooted firmly in yourself so you know where you stand — no matter what the climate of your day-to-day life is."
2. Be intentional with how you communicate (both digitally and IRL).
"Strong brands don't just happen by chance. It takes intention and a level of self-awareness to create and tell the story of your brand. Which ideas, sounds, and images represent you?
"Visualize how you want to be perceived and work from there. It can mean posting on social media every day, showing up to more events, or starting a mailing list. Identify what your communication goals are and create a plan to reach them."
3. Never stop expanding and evolving.
"Just because you've defined your personal brand doesn't mean that it's locked in forever. Give yourself permission to switch things up, try something new, update, or even completely rebrand as you grow and expand as a person.
"Be soft and malleable versus hard and rigid with yourself — don't feel pressured to get it 'perfect.' It can feel like a huge undertaking to authentically represent and 'define' yourself as a brand, but try to feel comfort in knowing you can always course-correct if something doesn't work."
4. Know what you stand for — and what you do not stand for.
"What do you really believe in? What are you actually working towards? What do you not tolerate in your life? Take time to really reflect and evaluate how you morally operate. Only you are able to determine what your values are."
5. Be clear about what you offer and follow through with your brand promise.
"In other words, what is your tagline or slogan? This is essential to building trust and growing your brand. Be honest — with yourself and others — about what you are able to offer and how you will follow through with it.
"It doesn't have to be complicated or long at all, maybe a sentence or two summing up what you're about and what you promise to deliver as a brand. Be clear in communicating this where people will see it the most."
6. Give yourself the credit you deserve
"You should be your own biggest cheerleader! You can't place the expectation on others to give yourself credit, especially if you don't give yourself the credit first. Regularly take stock of your accomplishments in all aspects of your life — work, interests, relationships, and emotions. These are valuable and meaningful places where you deserve to acknowledge yourself."