Guest Blog: Molly Black
You already have a personal brand. Don’t believe me? Think of your best gal-pal: you can probably list her favorite outfits, describe the type of photo she’ll post next on Instagram, and name the items she loves most in her home. More than likely, she can do the same for you.
My bestie would tell you about my olive green, canvas overalls (which I have worn to an engagement party and to landscape my yard); my simple gold and silver jewelry; and my yellow linen dress. She’d tell you that my camera roll is filled with pictures of outdoor adventures, funny moments I want to remember, and my cherished travel pics. In my home, she’d point out the oil-painted desert scene, the Chinese “Happy Cat” I have on my bookshelf, and the red floral rug beside my bed.
These are pieces of my personal brand. They are the prominent pieces that represent my identity to the world around me. Since both strangers and friends learn something about me from the way I present myself, I want to ensure that the belongings that represent me are true to who I am.
Have you ever seen a really bad advertisement? I’m not talking cheesy, I’m talking about one that is completely irrelevant to what the company is trying to promote. I recently saw a billboard for health insurance that had a brightly colored (and slightly scary), Sesame Street-style puppet on it. What’s the connection? I have no idea. It’s not odd that a health insurance company would use a billboard to advertise. It is peculiar, however, that their graphic had nothing to do with health...or insurance. In other words, their branding isn’t true to who they are.
Apart from just identifying you in a true, accurate light, curating your personal brand can be really fun! I use the word curating, because it implies you’re being purposeful about choosing the items that represent you. So how do you do this?
To start, think about what you find beautiful in the world around you. Maybe you love the way the steam rolls off your coffee in the morning, the sunrise as you drive to work, or the symmetrical windows in your favorite building downtown. What else do you notice? What do you take photos of? What do you tell your friends about? This reveals the way you see the world - which is more unique than you might think!
Then, think about experiences, moments, objects, and people who have shaped you. You can also consider your values, personal accomplishments, dreams, and motivators. You’ll want to incorporate these into your personal brand - after all, many of them have made you who you are!
Write down the things that inspire you, move you, and make you who you are. You can even add it in the notes section of your phone, and update it as you think of things. Once you have a list, consider sorting through your belongings, starting with something like clothes. Ask, is this me? Does this represent something I love and care about? You can be creative and generous here - if you love something because it’s functional, simple, or easy-to-wear, that’s okay! I value versatility and durability, so many of my pieces (like my overalls), fit just fine into that category.
The next, and in my opinion, the most fun part of curating your personal brand is shopping! Challenge yourself to go slow and be patient as you wait for the right pieces to come along. Sometimes you’ll find them where you might not expect - a treasure handed down from a loved one, at a thrift store, a flea market, garage sale, or estate sale. Your personal brand doesn’t have to break the bank. When you do find something you might want to purchase, ask yourself: does this fit who I truly am? Often, I’m tempted to buy something because someone else has it and I’m trying to take on their brand. It’s helpful for me to examine why I want something, and if it’s not me, I don’t buy it! This is a great way to be purposeful about the way you shop, too.
Curating your personal brand is an exciting process. Have fun along the way, don’t be afraid to try something new, and be true to who you are!