After playing volleyball in the Olympics – twice – and retiring, Lina Taylor found herself feeling a loss of identity. If she wasn’t playing anymore, who was she? Through self reflection, she transformed lessons learned on and off the court into speaking and executive leadership coaching services. With that, her personal brand was born! If you’re looking for direction in how to enhance your own personal brand, you’re in the right place. Continue reading to learn the value your personal brand can provide, examples of well-known personal brands and four action-oriented steps to market yours, today!
What is the Value of a Personal Brand?
With the rise in social media, anyone has the ability to create their own personal brand and connect to an audience. One survey of social media users, ages 16-34, in the U.S. finds that more people are uniquely drawn toward social media influencers perceived as ‘real people’ rather than celebrities. This ability to pull back the curtain and show the face behind a brand helps people establish a human connection they otherwise might not. Additionally, it helps you differentiate yourself and your niche, so when people head to your social media platforms, website or for a coffee chat with you, they know what to expect. In turn, this also makes it easier for you to network and build connections with other people.
Personal Brand Examples
In terms of “pulling back the curtain,” three individuals who have gained notoriety for doing just that include Sara Blakely, Seth Godin and Marie Forleo.
Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx, an American intimate apparel company. As a fearless founder, she is dedicated to helping women succeed in business. Her personal brand follows this mission with mentoring programs, speaking engagements and social media that inspires people to follow their dreams.
Most people associate three things with Seth Godin – his marketing expertise, his long-standing daily blog and his signature look: shaved head and yellow rectangular glasses. These glasses are his “face logo” as he called them in a 2007 blog post in which he asked readers to help him pick out his new frames. When people encounter Seth Godin, they know what to expect.
With a personal mission statement, “The world needs that special gift that only you have,” Marie Forleo is an author and entrepreneur that offers training programs to help people succeed in life and business. Free resources that she offers to her community include “MarieTV” tutorial videos and interviews, as well as the Marie Forleo podcast in which she interviews guests on a variety of topics, each meant to spark inspiration. As someone who champions limiting screen time, her personal brand shares thought-provoking social posts and newsletters that are typically limited to a Tuesday send.
Four Tips On How to Polish Your Personal Brand
Each of the above personal brands, including Lina Taylor, carved out their unique niche in the world and found an audience. These are just some of the examples to pull ideas from when you refine your own. As someone who has built her personal brand from the ground up, here are four tips from Lina Taylor on how to dig deeper and maintain your personal brand.
#1 – Mine for the Diamond
As with Sara Blakely, Seth Godin, Marie Forleo and Lina Taylor, none of these individuals just magically knew what they wanted to do with their lives. After retiring from the Olympics and embarking on her next chapter in life, Lina Taylor often journaled. This process is one that she attributes to her success. “One of the best ways to figure out your brand and your unique value is by looking inward and asking yourself the question: what experiences have you learned in your life?” Lina shares. From there, the next questions to pose are: What do you want to create? And, why is that important to you? Seeking these answers in the form of journaling or even talking to a close friend will help you uncover your passions, strengths and gifts to share with others. “No two people are alike on this planet,” Lina says. “Mine for that diamond, it’s not outside but within each one of us.”
#2 – Embrace the Pressure
In business and in professional sports, there’s pressure. For Lina, this pressure was felt on the volleyball court with 50,000 people watching her and her sister play. She managed to deal with that nerve-wracking feeling by placing her focus on her opponent. “Whenever I could place my focus across the net, across what I was trying to do and not on myself, the nervousness went away completely,” Lina says. “That pressure is a key component in bringing out some of the gifts that we each carry.”
This concept of focusing on the other person can be applied to your personal brand’s strategy for social media and beyond. This reminds you to think about the person on the other side of the screen and what will benefit them the most, instead of using platforms as a broadcast channel for what you’re working on. Always remember how you’re conveying the information, ultimately it should be about helping other people.
#3 – Hold It to the Light
One challenge that Lina experienced in her personal brand journey and that many of her clients experience as well is feeling uncomfortable in the spotlight. Focusing on your audience – the people you’re trying to reach – can also help you embrace this spotlight, despite the discomfort. In her journaling, Lina found the experiences in her life that challenged or changed her and used them to help others do the same. She utilized repetition and continuously refined the story each time she told it. In this frame of reference, it takes the spotlight off of you and places it on your audience. This may feel awkward, however Lina has some advice on how to handle that: “If you’re creating a product or service that will make people’s lives better, focus on the experience. That way, the energy will start to flow and feel more natural.” Click To Tweet
Now, there may be times when that voice of doubt pops into your mind. “You’ve told this story before,” it may say. Or, “Give it up already.” Or “This story, again?!” The best thing you can do for your personal brand is to ignore this little voice. As Marie Forleo mentioned in a recent coaching call, “keep practicing your story. There are so many thousands, if not millions of people, who have not heard your story yet. Your story is extraordinary. Do not get tired of it and even if you do, keep going. Everyone else still needs to hear it.”
#4 – Use It To Help Others Shine
Aside from having their own personal brands, an intrinsic link that connects these personal brand examples is their mission to give back in some way. Whether it’s helping people to embrace their own personal branding, feel confident in their day-to-day appearance, grow their marketing or strengthen their business skills, helping others is at the center of their mission.
As a marketer with 20-plus years of experience, Orange Label President Rochelle Reiter mirrors the agency’s mission to “Improve lives through creating market leaders,” in many ways – one of them is by giving back to her alma mater. She actively shares her experience and guidance in business leadership with the Cal State Fullerton Leadership Scholars Program and just finished mentoring one student in her final semester of the program, in which she was able to shadow Rochelle, sit in on business meetings and more. This process of helping others shine will remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing, help you remain inspired and motivated, and keep you well-connected to the future leaders of tomorrow.
To hear more insights on personal branding from Lina Taylor, tune into our upcoming podcast! Subscribe below so you don’t miss it. You can also check out our branding strategies service page.