While there are some things about my life that I choose to edit slightly or simply not share online because they feel too personal or perhaps unnecessary, in many ways I’m an open book (in case you haven’t noticed already). I write to inspire someone else after I’ve had an experience that I feel might be worthwhile to share. I like very specific colors (…bright ones & pink). I can be sarcastic when the timing is right. Love inspires me. I’m drawn to all things classic and slightly whimsical. And, flowers will forever be my favorite detail at weddings…and in life.
What I want you to take away from the above is not what I like and love, it’s this: I present myself online exactly how I present myself in person.
Since I starting paying much more attention to my online presence four years ago, I’ve developed a way of writing, speaking, and styling that feels very much like me. The things I’ve realized I’m drawn to are the same things that inspire the work I do and the brand I created and continue to build. My goals are for my style to be recognized as mine and for those I meet in person to feel a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of vibe (i.e.: I’m the same online as I am in person). And it’s such a compliment when either of those things are said to me in passing. Mission. Accomplished. :)
I love branding and watching others dive into developing the colors, textures, fonts, and copy that will represent their product or service. However, I think there’s a huge step that must be taken prior to ever branding a business: you need to discover who you are as a person and personal brand first. Knowing who you are will influence every facet of the branding that’s created for your business, and it will also influence the companies you’re drawn to work with and those drawn to you if owning a business isn’t your goal. With that in mind, here are five of the lessons I’ve learned while discovering and promoting my personal brand that greatly influence my business and what (and how!) I choose to share things:
1. Learn who you are and what you like: This isn’t something I was able to answer overnight, and I’m constantly noticing new things that inspire me. However, the very best way to really hone in on who you are is to simply pay more attention to what you’re drawn to and either keep a mental tally or start writing a list. In my case, so many of the things I love are mentioned here and above (classic pieces that are a bit whimsical, flowers, bright colors, love, light-filled photos, weddings), but I also value authenticity. I always want to put forth my most genuine self, which is why I only share things that I believe in and that fit my style without explanation.
2. Realize what you like to share: Think about what you love as a curated collection of pieces that inspire you. Whether I’m online or talking to someone in person, I love when people are uplifting and positive. Because I know it’s something I’m always looking to see and hear, it’s exactly what I share. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll share a positive thing that happened or a lesson I’ve learned rather than ranting about why all of the things are awful. Further, because I love weddings, I share posts that relate to that industry (often, they’re either things I’ve written, or they’re pieces that someone else has done that relate to something – style, message – that I love). And, I’m always sharing snapshots of jewelry, sunsets, and flowers on Instagram. The real questions you want to answer are why do you want people to be drawn to you, and why are they drawn to you already?
3. Take note of your writing style: Although I majored in journalism in college, it’s much more natural for me to write conversationally than it is to write formally. So, I write conversationally on my blog and through email just as I would if I were talking to you in person. I phrase things the same, and I also tend to only include words I actually use on a daily basis in my personal vocabulary. Do I know more? Absolutely. Does that even sound like me? Not at all. If I ever feel that way, I rewrite and change things back to my natural state. Also, punctuation. If you love exclamation points, use them! Because I’m a trained writer, it tends to bug me when I see an exclamation point at the end of every sentence (you’re that excited? really?), but if that’s how you write and that’s how you are – you go, girl!
4. Your favorite colors matter: Bright colors and just about every shade of pink constantly jump out at me. It’s also what you will find me talking about in person (my friend Katherine and I laugh about how difficult it is for me to wear black), and my mom makes fun of me (nicely…;) because I will only purchase blouses, t-shirts, and tanks in shades of pink and peach if I’m not stopped. Also, flowers: the brighter and fluffier the better. As a result, bright colors (and ivory and gold) are exactly what’s included throughout my site, on my blog, and everywhere on Instagram. Your favorite colors matter so much because, in many cases, they help define you. Taking note of patterns and textures you love is also helpful!
5. In terms of fashion, wear what you love: When I’m having head shots taken, participating in a photo shoot, or attending an event, I always pay more attention to the pieces I love to wear rather than those I haven’t worn in a while. I tend to think in terms of wearing what I would wear if I could only own a few things. Thinking that way pushes me more in the direction of my natural personal style (colorful, classic, preppy, whimsical, feminine), and allows other people to catch a glimpse of my authentic self. Confidence should always shine the brightest, so pay attention to the outfits that make you feel that way the most!
Do you have other tips for discovering your personal brand? Let me know in the comments!