When someone refers to something being ‘on brand’ it may seem very obnoxious outside of a business setting. It’s time to change the view on that. In this day in age, every single aspect of one’s life is on the internet. So when you go to apply for a job a simple google search can bring up a world of information and perspectives of who you are that you didn’t necessarily voluntarily share. It is your responsibility to make that information accurate, those perspectives cohesive, and your image exactly how you want. If you generate and stick to your own brand it won’t only be memorable, it’s also impressive. By holding yourself to the standard of being “on brand” as if you were a business you allow yourself the opportunity to turn your very own social media into an aspect of your professional portfolio.
Regardless of what field you go into, almost every business has social media facets and a brand kit/style guide, so it can only benefit you to get a head start on learning what it’s like to make sure everything you do fits into a specific brand. Your brand doesn’t have to be applied strictly to social media–it can also be a way to have a style guide for your professional life across the board with things like a portfolio, websites, resumes, business cards and more.
- Pick a color scheme. Choose colors that represent you and stick to them. The easiest example of this is Instagram: many profiles feature a similar tone and highlight certain colors. My color scheme is typically relatively monochrome with a focus on light blue and maroons.
- Choose a font. This goes mainly for your resume/cover letter/and any website you use. But choose and font kit and, like your color scheme, stick to it. Choose something simple and clean or whimsical depending on what message you want to convey. Typically it’s a good idea to have a heading style font with a bit more character and then a simple coordinating font for any body text. Be very careful with this though. The color theme of your instagram is subjective, however the font you put on your resume can lean into inappropriate very quickly. If you want a job at a lawfirm, it probably isn’t wise to choose whimsical fancy font. On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re looking to be hired as a designer choosing something like comic sans could be down write contract-suicide. So choose wisely.
- Create a logo. This may seem like a bit aggressive for your personal brand, but nothing says you take yourself seriously like having your own logo on your resume and business cards. Mine is a stylized version of my name but some people even use designs with out words (like my friend Katie Gwen).
- Stick to a theme (content, language/tone, etc). There’s nothing wrong with trying out new things, but if your content is typically music and coffee don’t all of the sudden throw in some stuff about sports (unless you want to make it a regular thing). The same goes for the tone in your writing. Stay true to yourself and a particular writing style.
Things to remember
- Establishing your brand can be a drawn out, sometimes complicated process. However, it’s important regardless of your profession. Your brand can span your portfolio and the work you do, to your personal social media, to something as simple as the layout of your resume cover letter. In any job, you will want to stay within the limits of a style guide in some capacity so implementing that discipline in your own life can put you a step above the rest.
- Your brand can be expansive beyond your image. Your brand can also be word choice/written personality and content or subject matter that is a regular occurrence in your life.
- Your brand isn’t set in stone. The guidelines of your own branding are flexible and you can always stray from them a bit or change them all together. Just make it’s a conscious choice one way or another.
- The best way to immediately be memorable is by establishing an image. If you you are and what you do are conveniently expressed through your personal brand, people will remember it.
Not only do I follow my own brand, but I have even created my own one-sheet describing the style-guide I follow. Check it out here!