Your personal brand is always going to put you one step ahead of the rest, no matter your industry. But there are some industries where having a personal brand is absolutely CRUCIAL – in fact, you won’t be hired unless you have one.
Think of a time you’ve hired a wedding photographer, bought a house, or started getting in shape with a personal trainer. I’d bet you didn’t make a blind decision on who to hire: you checked all the online bases – portfolios, references, and testimonials. THAT is why having a personal brand is just so important! It doesn’t matter how amazing you and I both know you are – everyone else needs to know too. That’s where your personal brand comes in.
So what are some of the industries where a personal brand is a must? Let’s break it down:
As tough as the modeling industry is, it can be even tougher without a personal brand that reveals who you are behind the headshot. Telling your story through your very own brand gives you the power to control the narrative that propels your career into the future.
Take Karlie Kloss for example. This supermodel, entrepreneur, and philanthropist began her career as a model but refused to stop there. Because of her perfected personal brand and social accounts, she finally landed a career that let her have the freedom she needed to make an impact on the world. From Versace and Calvin Klein to Adidas and Swarovski, Karlie’s modeling brand has flourished from a small town girl from Missouri into an international social influencer (with the help of her 7.9M Instagram followers). This Vogue cover girl found her calling and launched her own coding academy designed for girls around the world to learn the latest in tech.
If that isn’t a noble cause for any brand, I don’t know what is.
Your stunning ¾ stance may grab people’s attention, but it probably won’t guarantee that they’ll come back for more. But you know what will make them a lifelong fan of yours? The story that only your brand can tell.
Companies and casting agencies want a relatable face for their brand; one that brings with them a tribe of potential customers. Making a real impression with your future employer begins with your personal brand and never ends.
Many models may not realize it but a well-designed personal brand brings more business AND bigger paychecks to your future. When you take the time to make your brand the best they’ve ever seen (maybe even better than the company you’re auditioning for?), you’re setting a new standard of modeling in your career. And that standard is delightfully accompanied by a higher price tag ;).
2. Book Publishing
Ask any creative writing student and they’ll all tell you the same answer: 99% of people view writing as a dead-end career, a pointless degree that’s sure to guide you to working at your local coffee shop years after graduation. And yet, some see success like we’ve never seen!
So what’s the difference between a successful career as an author and a writer struggling to get their first novel published?
I’ll let you in on the secret: it’s all about their brand.
Remember all the buzz that was circulating when JK Rowling was about to publish the 7th and final Harry Potter book? That was no coincidence! Even before the internet was in full swing, Rowling established a solid foundation for her brand which was able to carry her career for the duration of seven children’s fantasy books, an adult novel, and four crime novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Today, Rowling uses Twitter and Facebook as her go-to social accounts to stay connected with her fans and she’s done a heck of a job.
So you want that magical author juju too? Start with the character that’s been with you from the start: you. Much like that future award-winning (yet unfinished) novel sitting on your desk, it’s never too early to start assembling your brand and writing the content that will get you noticed.
Start small. A guest blog here and there. A short paper detailing your passion for Stephen King’s crime thrillers. Whatever floats your boat. But don’t put the pencil down just yet, make sure you spread those words of wisdom with a community of avid readers on social media.
In today’s world, the next J.K. Rowling is hiding out there on the Twitterverse, and that person just might be you.
3. Public Speaking
Public speaking is one of the most competitive industries I’ve ever been in – and the competition is stiff. I’ll be the first to admit that it was hard to get public speaking gigs at the beginning, when my brand wasn’t where it is today. But I’ll also be the first to admit that my brand has done a heck of a job at helping me gain the authority and authenticity I needed to book my next conference!
The realm of public speaking is all about innovative concepts and impeccable delivery. But before you get the opportunity to show off your skills in front of a crowd, you need to prove your worth to the organizers putting together the event.
A public speaker should be considered an expert in their field, a thought leader that sets a new standard on and off the stage. But to be a true thought leader in your industry, you’ve got to actively showcase your expertise across your foundation.
That could mean anything from how-to videos on YouTube to comprehensive blogs on your website. But don’t stop there, here’s a full list of avenues you can use to get your brand noticed by conference and event organizers:
- A well-organized website. Your website should tell your story, what drove you to share your wisdom with the world.
- A press kit. I can’t give you a better example of a press kit than the one that Andrew Davis put together on his site. Take a look at the details that Andrew nails down for his speaking engagements. He includes everything an event organizer would need before they even have the chance to ask for it.
- A blog. Having a blog on your site is not only good SEO, but it also shows that you are actually an expert in your field. Your blog is the place to put all those thoughts about the future of your industry down on paper (virtually).
- Active social accounts. You don’t have to be active on EVERY social platform out there, but pick a few an stick to them. Commit to creating engaging content for your followers (and the followers to come) on a regular basis.
- A few published articles. Publishing your own content is great, but if you want to go above + beyond, you should seriously consider writing your commentary for other news outlets and blogs. HARO is an absolutely fantastic resource that you can use to connect with reports at major publications like Forbes, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, and others around the globe.
- A webinar every now and then. Nothing shows organizers that you have the passion and desire to speak at their event like a few practice rounds on a smaller scale. On my first webinar, about 15-20 people showed up when I went live and it was AWESOME. That may not sound like a lot of people, but that doesn’t matter! Quality over quantity. Those 20 people were highly engaged and interested in what I had to say and my next webinars only grew in audience members after that. Today, creating a webinar is easier than ever with free live video resources on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
4. Senior Leadership
Who said running a business is easy? It’s 100% not. But that’s why leaders at the top of the food chain are held to the highest of standards. Although there are tons (and I mean TONS) of other reasons why a great leader is tapped for the coveted CEO, CFO, or COO position, their personal brand has a lot to do with it. So if you’re aspiring to reach the mountaintops of your company, a personal brand is a must must MUST.
A chief officer is responsible for more than just managing the company from a 30,000-foot view. They are the face of their organization. Their actions become the company’s actions. And their mess-ups become the company’s mess-ups. Can you see how a personal brand becomes a must-have for senior leadership?
Consumers want to trust the product or service that they are purchasing. But how can you trust a company’s product if their leadership is flawed? You just can’t. You can’t trust the product because you can’t trust the producers.
That is why a personal brand is vital for senior leadership. It shows that when all’s said and done, you can trust the parent in the room to deliver for you. That mindset has driven board member’s of large corporations to take into account the image of their CEO contenders before they hire a new face of the company.
Take Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, for example. No, not the old CEO that you’ve probably heard of, Travis Kalanick (talk about a poorly kept brand). Recovering from Kalanick’s reign over Uber, the company decided to leave no stone unturned and hire a well-established CEO in Dara Khosrowshahi. Any day on Twitter, you can catch Khosrowshahi espousing the values that his brand embodies: ethics, leadership, and fun.
With a vision to recover Uber’s brand, their board of directors chose Khosrowshahi to rub a little bit of those values off on the scandal-ridden company. Turn on your TV and you’ll spot one of Uber’s many new ads starring their new knight in shining armor, Dara Khosrowshahi.
Today, over a year after aligning their brand with Khosrowshahi’s, Uber is expanding into new industries with a rebranded face. Khosrowshahi isn’t doing so bad after his hire, either. After all, his ethics-instilled brand landed him a $6.4 Million annual salary at Uber.
5. Multi-Level Marketing
There’s a reason why personal brands thrive in multi-level marketing. It was made for personal brands like yours. In fact, it can be a hugely advantageous career if you get your brand right. Don’t just take my word for it, take my all-time favorite MLMer, Emily Gibson.
Emily’s story is one that amazes me to this day. Like many of us, Emily started her journey as a mom of four young kids juggling too many things at once. But, with her husband working six days a week, Emily found little time for her whole family to spend together. So she set out on establishing her signature brand as ‘the happiest person you’ll ever meet’ with Plexus by her side.
Her brand grew to reach the tens of thousands that it does today, which meant more genuine connections and higher sales every month. Now you can catch Emily and her entire family living happier than ever at their home in Utah (or maybe vacationing in Oahu?). What naturally attracts her tribe is her bright personality that shines through her social accounts.
The path to gold in multi-level marketing lies in marketing your true self – your brand. The world is waiting to meet the authentic and unmistakable you and when it does, you’ll find exponential growth in your MLM business.
6. Art and Design
You can spot a Van Gogh painting from a mile away. And that’s no coincidence. That signature oil painting style is recognizable for people around the globe; crossing language, geographical, and cultural boundaries. That post-impressional style followed Van Gogh in his work and his life. His whimsical style of painting can be summed up by one of my favorite quotes of his, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”
The brand that he created still resonates far beyond The Netherlands since his death over 160 ago.
But this concept doesn’t just apply to Van Gogh. Modern-day artists are following suit with their own recognizable brands that include more than just their artwork.
Artists like Peter Terrin instantly come to my mind. His artwork is recognizable on its own, but his tribe is in it for so much more. It’s about his story and what drives him to create the pieces that drop draws around the globe. And what better place to share your story with the world than social media?
On any given day, you can catch Peter Terrin’s AMAZING oil paintings on his Instagram. But every now and then, you get a hint of his why; why he spends hours on end cooped up in a small room painting enormous pieces for his clients.
By just sharing his personality and artwork with the world, Peter Terrin has attracted a global tribe that translates to more sold paintings, more press coverage and galleries, and A LOT more time spent in his studio. And that is simply FANTASTIC.
Artists love nothing more than the freedom to do what they love and Terrin is spending his days doing what he loves the most. On top of that, his brand has stunted his business’s growth, making his paintings a hot international commodity and funding the life he wants to live.
What’s the biggest issue plaguing independent photographers? Clients. More specifically, a lack of clients. But I’ve got good news; a brand is the answer to your sales problem and let me explain why.
Where do your customers go to find their next photographer? The internet. So what you put out there on the web really does matter. And a beautifully crafted brand is your conduit for new clients and referrals.
Yes, of course, your photography skills and experience are super valuable and matter to your clients. But if you can’t display that value and showcase your skills online, then you’re leaving the job undone.
That’s where your brand comes in.
Your future clients want the perfect pictures and you are the answer to their problem. BUT they also want a reliable individual who knows how and when to get the best shot. A well-planned brand makes it easy for clients to find you (instead of the other way around), explore your work, and book you for an event (YAY!).
Take Alissa DeLucca from Alissa DeLucca Photography, for example. She’s a local photographer in my hometown who’s got all her social bases covered: Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest. Not only does she have a vast portfolio of photos that you can browse through easily, but she’s got an easy-to-use website that displays her niche photography in it’s best light. She welcomes you to her site with a clear, professional headshot accompanied by her story, detailing her love for family photography. Her brand is so clearly defined that it makes her a shoo-in for a family photographer in her targeted location.
8. Real Estate
Forget “location, location, location” because when you hire your next Realtor, I’d bet you’re looking for a trustworthy, authentic + reliable person. And after all, isn’t that what a brand is for?
If you read my weekly articles, you know that your brand is all about showing your true, authentic self to gain a sense a trust with your tribe. Sound familiar? That makes a Realtor’s brand even more vital to getting hired by your next buyer or seller.
Without having a niche brand that screams YOU, how are you supposed to get hired? People want to know that they can trust you to sell their home and find them a new one. But with a sea of agents out there competing with you, you NEED to set yourself apart. And all you have to do is be yourself. Let what naturally makes you unique differentiate your brand from the thousands of cheesy salespeople out there.
Don’t believe me? Ask Steve Gold.
Gold started his career by modeling his way through his bachelor’s degree at NYU. Fast forward to today and he’s the founder of The Gold Group NYC, a star on the BRAVO TV show Million Dollar Listing, and has an estimated net worth of approximately $10 million dollars. Wow. Just wow.
So, how’d he do it? Yeah, you guessed it: by constructing his personal brand from the ground up. When Gold started modeling, he immediately gained recognition and built a brand for himself to be able to get the business that was funding his education. Upon graduation, he used his brand to land him full-time modeling jobs for three years with famous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy Paris, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and more. Now we’re talking.
The whole time, he was assembling a massive tribe of followers, even celebrities gravitated towards him. So, when he was ready to make the jump to real estate, he already had a tribe of interested buyers behind him. Then, he threw the advertising book out the window and paved his own path to sales. With all the right people watching, he filmed videos of him and his friends living in his listings to give his audience the inside scoop of what it would be like to live in that house, in that lifestyle. That put Gold on the watchlist for rising stars in real estate, eventually getting him picked up by BRAVO’s hit reality TV Show.
If he hadn’t built his brand and expanded his tribe the way he did, the odds of Gold getting picked up by a major network would have been slim. I’ll be honest, real estate is a tough market, but if you want to maximize your potential and your price tag, you must – and I cannot stress this enough – build your unique brand.
9. Acting + Entertainment
So you want to score that movie-of-the year role that you’d be perfect for? It doesn’t happen overnight and it definitely won’t happen without a brand that flaunts your talents. Sure, sometimes you can get lucky and land a role by chance, luck, or fate – kind of like how Auli’i Cravalho scored her role as Moana in Disney’s critically acclaimed major motion picture. But getting such a big break by a stroke of luck is leaving your dreams up to chance a little too much.
To give yourself the best shot at success, you’ve got to brand yourself. Gal Gadot, the actress who played Wonder Woman, had such a strong brand that she was able to get hired for the role while living on the other side of the globe!
Similarly, James Norton’s career started when he played the role of Joseph when he was five years old in his elementary school’s play. OK OK, that’s not necessarily a ”real” role, but it’s a start! By starting small and building his brand, he was able to slowly collect followers and start to land “real” roles – albeit small ones. And it’s OK to start small! We all have to start somewhere. Norton’s first paid role was the tiny role of “student” in the 2009 movie An Education. But by using smaller roles to slowly build his brand (and his tribe), he was able to start landing more major roles such as Gareth Jones in the movie Gareth Jones!
Whether you’re a well-known actor or actress or you’re just at the beginning of your journey, know that your brand is such a crucial part of your career. If you’re just starting out, your new brand will expand your reach to new audiences and who knows where that can take you. Time and time again, talent is discovered in the most unlikely places. So why not put yourself out there in your best light with your very own personal brand?
10. Athletics + Personal Training
A personal brand is a must-have for personal trainers (and I promise you won’t break a sweat creating one ;)). Think about it. You are your best testimonial. If you keep your body in tip-top shape, you’re more likely to get new clients who could only hope to finish your workout routine. And if you share your work with the world, you’re giving your tribe a glimpse into their new workout course with you by their side.
I can’t think of a better example than Ben Bruno, who incorporates his own personality into his training business at every turn. Ben Bruno brands himself as a trainer for everyone from his mom to celebrities like Kate Upton. Plastered on the front page of his website, you’ll see his first (and most important) testimonial:
As you can tell, humor is a huge part of Ben’s brand and its what keeps his tribe of over 122 thousand coming back for more. So if you’re in the mood for a laugh, head over to his Instagram. BUT if you want to learn about single leg RDLs and what-not, check out his blog that he’s been pumping full of valuable workout content on since 2010.
The diversification of value that his tribe gains from following Ben is immense. Everything from free personal training advice to a laugh or two are a few taps away, and who wouldn’t want a personal trainer with a funny side?
Ben Bruno cleared a path for success for personal trainers and it begins with your personal brand. A brand that shows your true self is exactly what your tribe is looking for. They just haven’t found you yet.
Ready to do this together?
So what are you waiting for? Creating a brand that fits you perfectly takes some hard work and dedication, but leads to career growth and prosperity down the line. Investing your time and energy into your brand is investing in your future. Your clients + employers want to get to know you, so guide them down a journey that tells your story and enhances your reputation + integrity.
If you decide to take the next step towards your brand, know that I’m right there by your side. MyModernBrand is your resource for everything you need to pull your brand up by the bootstraps. Don’t know where to start? That’s completely okay, neither did I! And that’s why I created MyModernBrand – to make it as simple as possible to build a brand of your own.
Have a question along the way? No problem. Shoot me a quick message on Instagram and let’s do this!