11 Essentials for Creating Your Brand Identity (ch. 1)

11 Essentials for Creating Your Brand Identity (ch. 1)

by David Gaudreault, Serial Entrepreneur, Online Marketer, and Personal Branding Passionate

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In this article, I teach essential tips on creating your brand identity.

It’s about defining and identifying the best elements of your personality, the elements that you will promote as central elements of your personal brand.

Then, I provide essential tips on how to identify the audience you will target, how to create the message you will use to communicate with your audience and how to connect with your audience and create visual elements to showcase your message.

1. Draft the Guidelines of Your Personal Brand

Essential tips on how to create your brand identity in simple steps. Learn how to define and identify the very best elements of your personality, the attributes that will make you shine. #brandidentity, #brandidentityguidelines #brandidentitydesign #Personalbrandidentity #personalbranding, #personalbrandingtips #personalbrandingsocialmedia

The way you define your personal brand will highly influence the way people will perceive you. Your boss, your colleagues or your clients will perceive you according to the message that your personal brand will convey.

To build your brand, you first need to identify what makes you great, different, unique and interesting and build a strategy around your strengths and uniqueness.

  • What set of strengths and skills do you have?
  • What values are important to you? What is your purpose in life?
  • What are your vision and your goals for the next 2, 5, 10 and 20 years from now?
  • What will be your points of differentiation? What will distinguish yourself from others?
  • What style and appearance do you want to convey?
  • What is your target audience? What market/niche will you address? How do you want to position yourself in this market?
The way you define your personal brand will highly influence the way people will perceive you. Click To Tweet
Guidelines of a Personal Brand

2. Choose the Name of your Brand

In most cases, the name of your brand should be your personal name and it is definitely recommended to brand yourself under your real name!

However, if you have an uncommon and hardly recognizable name or on the opposite, a very common name (like Joe Smith), you may choose to brand yourself under a different name like Joe The Entrepreneur, or Joe S.

3. Write Down a Short Description of Your Mission with Supportive Taglines

Very soon you will be building your logo, your website, your social media pages, etc., and your message must be consistent between the platforms.

In order to stay consistent, you need to write a short paragraph that summaries what you do and your mission. You will use this description across your different platforms.

Start by writing a short paragraph that summaries your mission and think of a few punchy taglines that will support it.

For example, my short description is :

“I help entrepreneurs brand themselves, build a passive income strategy to gain professional freedom, find social impact business ideas, execute them right and become game changers.

I’m a true believer that each and every one has the potential to change the world by leveraging their natural strengths and talents, and doing meaningful actions to achieve impactful results.”

And a few of my taglines are :

“Build your Personal Brand Today and Position Yourself for Your Next BIG Opportunity!”

“Change the world one great idea at a time!”

“Help change the world with meaningful actions and impactful results!”

I think you understand the idea, right? Once you are finished, save it for later.

4. Write Down Your Stories – The Art of Storytelling

Storytelling, the new essential in recent business communication! Here is why you should be using stories in your posts, public speaking and overall communications to promote your brand, your blog or your business. #storytelling #storytellingtips #storytellingbusiness #storytellingblog #storytellingdigitalmarketing #storytellingbusinessdigitalmarketing #storytellingsocialmedia #storytellingbusinesssocialmedia #storytellingbooks

People love stories and stories are very effective ways to connect with your audience.

As explained by Gabrielle Dolan in Stories for Work, stories:

  • Provoke emotions in our brain and body
  • Stimulate the release of the love hormone oxytocin
  • Make us feel something towards the person telling the story
  • Help build trust and credibility
  • Influence our audience into making a decision
  • Aid in focusing listeners on key messages
  • Help us to remember details rather than just facts and logic alone.

Your story is key to gain the interest of your audience, get people to listen to you, build a sentiment of trust and sympathy, and build a community around you.

You will use it across your platforms including your website, your social media pages and as an introduction in live webinars, seminars, interviews, podcasts, radio shows, etc.

According to Gabrielle Dolan’s approach, your business stories shall arise from four various events,

  1. A triumph of yours, of others or of your community;
  2. A tragedy to you, by you, or caused by a lack of action,
  3. A transition forced, chosen or instigated,
  4. A tension (conflict driven by) your values, your loyalties, your obligations. In all cases, your stories must convey authenticity and purpose.

Your stories should be a mix of work-related or non-work-related. Ideally, you should have a collection of stories arising from a variety of the above-mentioned events.

It is a real challenge to write a good story.

If you need help to develop your storytelling skills and to put together and communicate your story properly, I recommend two must-read books that will provide you with the fundamentals of storytelling for business.

5. How to Learn the Basics of Graphic Design and Video Editing

How to learn the fundamentals of graphic design and video editing to take control of your brand and communicate with memorable graphics and videos! Take your blog to the next level with these tips. #graphicdesigntutorials #graphicdesignapps #graphicdesigntools #graphicdesigntips #graphicdesignforbeginners #graphicdesignphotoshop #graphicdesignillustrator #videoeditingtutorials #videoeditingtools #videoeditingapps #videoeditingtips #videoeditingforbeginners #videoeditingpremierepro

If you want your brand to stand out, you need to be consistent, creative, innovative and memorable, and you need to communicate your message and tell your story like a champ.

That said if you really want to stand out, and this is especially true online, you need to learn the fundamentals of graphic design and video editing because both medium are very strong and effective to catch people’s attention.

Indeed, you need graphic design and video editing skills for multiple purposes; design a business card, create a logo, optimize your photos, build banners for your website and social media pages, make great videos on YouTube, IGTV, Facebook or LinkedIn, to advertise, etc.

Without those skills, your professional image will be negatively affected or you will have to spend a lot of money hiring designers and video producers.

Nowadays, the most effective ways to get people’s attention is with great graphics and videos.

Knowing that the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing their networks every day, BUT spend only a fraction of a second on each post, being able to make professional posts to hook your audience attention is essential.

Keep in mind that a large proportion of the exposure you get from Social Media is free of charge. It is FREE advertising for your brand.

So learning graphic design and video editing skills is actually an investment!

Based on my experience, the very best graphic design and video editing software you should spend time learning are the following:

Note: Adobe offers a 60% discount to students and teachers here.

Those apps are the best software and learning them is a real long-term investment. Especially knowing that those applications have been leading the industry for years and they are there to stay.

It is a good idea to start off with a course to learn the basics. I recommend the online courses below. They cover the fundamentals in a very comprehensive way and will help you become proficient very quickly.

6. Get a Good Camera with Audio and Lighting Gears

Do you want to promote your brand or blog with photos and videos? Check out these tips covering the best camera gears you need to make high quality photos & videos from your home studio, including the camera, microphones, stands and lights I focus only on the best value for money equipment! #camerarecommendation #cameragears #DSLRCamera #BestDSLRCamera #BestCameraGears #CameraGearDIY #CameraGearPhotographyEquipment #CameraGearCanon #CameraGearVideo #BestCameraVideo

It is one thing to know the fundamentals of graphic design and video editing, but then you need gears to make good photos and videos!

Photo, video and audio quality is very important for audience retention. Ideally, you need a DSLR HD (or 4K) camera, a tripod, minimally a ring light (ideally 3x spotlights), a microphone and optionally an audio recorder for best audio quality.

If you are on a budget, you can use your HD (4K) mobile phone camera and strategically use daylight to your advantage.

However, I still recommend that you get a tripod and a microphone! Stable images and audio quality are crucial elements for audience retention. A low-cost microphone under 100$ will do the job.

The Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone is certainly worth considering. Then you can use a phone adapter with a low-cost tripod to ensure stability

Below are the gears I personally use to make my videos. Those are what I found to be the best value for money to build a small home studio.

canon 80d camera

Check out this short review of the Canon 80D by Georges CameraTV to learn more about this great camera.

Or for on-screen tutorial recording I use:

Tip: If you get some echo in your audio recording, attach acoustic foam panels on your home studio walls and ceiling. You may also add a carpet on the floor.

Finally, I made a special selection at low cost but also optimized for tight spaces. This is the best value for money that will allow you to make high-quality videos in smaller rooms.

  1. Canon EOS Rebel
  2. Rode VMGO microphone
  3. Ring light

7. Take an Awesome Picture of Yourself

To build your credibility, every detail counts and taking good pictures of yourself is essential. These pictures must be highly professional and reflect your style and personality.

You can take your photos by yourself with your DSLR camera using the 10-second delay mode or you can ask a friend to take some pictures of you.

You may also hire a photographer, but if you got the material mentioned above, you should definitely do it yourself. It may take a little more time, but after a couple of hundred pictures, you should be able to get a couple of nice ones!

Those photos will be used on your website, in your social media accounts, in ads, in presentations, etc. Below are a few tips to take good photos:

  • Make sure you are brightly lit by ambient or studio light (don’t use the camera flash)
  • Smile and look happy
  • Avoid cheesy or James-Bond-like poses (unless you are a secret agent)
  • Try to be natural – photos taken unexpectedly are usually very natural
  • Get a haircut and shave. Women may use make-up, but don’t be too heavy on the make-up, Halloween happens only once a year!
  • Dress properly, but don’t overdress. Stay loyal to your style and your personality.

8. Choose your Brand Colors

How to choose your brand colors to generate the right emotional connection and maximize the impact of your brand. #choosingbrandcolors #Brandcolorsbusiness #personalbrandcolors #brandcolorschemes

Your brand colors have a powerful impact on how your audience perceives you and, for this reason, you want to generate the right emotional connection with your audience using the right set of colors.

An emotion that will be in line with your vision, your purpose, your story, your message, and your personality.

To get the maximum impact, you should minimize your choice of colors to three or four colors. Ideally, one background color, one base color and one accent color (+ one call-to-action color).

Then you will use those colors everywhere in your logo, website, documents, advertisements, social media pages, etc.

You can play with your colors, but your goal is to get your audience to associate your colors with your personal brand.

In the image below, you can see that I used the light blue as the background color in the first section and then switch to a white background in the second section.

Doing so makes the accent and base colors to change accordingly.

In all cases, it is a way to separate the sections while staying loyal to your pallet or colors.

Example - Background color, Base Color and Accent Color

All colors do not generate the same emotions and for this reason, you should choose your main color to be in line with the look and feel you want to showcase to your audience.

As a guideline, below is a list of the main color and their related emotions:

Warm Colors:

  • Red – passion, importance, attention, intense, energy, strong
  • Orange – playfulness, friendly, vitality, warm, stimulating, enthusiasm, happiness, success, creative
  • Yellow – happiness, optimism, warning, joy, cheerfulness, intellect, energy, attention

Cool Colors:

  • Green – nature, stability, prosperity (growth), fertility, freshness, healing, safety, money
  • Light Blue – tranquility, trust, openness
  • Dark Blue – professionalism, security, formality, stability, masculinity
  • Purple – royalty, creativity, luxury, power, nobility, wealth, ambition, dignified, mysterious
  • Pink – femininity, youth, innocence

Neutral Colors:

  • Brown – rugged, earthy, old-fashioned
  • White – clean, virtuous, healthy
  • Gray – neutrality, gloom, subdued
  • Black – powerful, sophisticated, edgy

Select your main color/emotions and use the color wheel to select a pallet color that will match together. A good tool to do it is paletton.com. You can choose from four various selections:

Analogous (Adjacent) – 3 colors:
Color Wheel Analogous - 3 colors

Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs.

Triad – 3 colors:
Color Wheel Triad- 3 colors

Any three colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. Triadic color harmonies tend to be quite vibrant. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.

Split-Complementary:
Color Wheel Split Complementary- 3 colors

A variation of the triad. This color scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme but has less tension.

Tetrad – 4 colors:
Color Wheel Tetrad - 3 colors

Any four colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. The rectangle or tetradic color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs.

9. Design your Logo

Now that you have learned the fundamentals of graphic design, you can use Illustrator to create your own logo.

Why Illustrator? Because a logo should always be built of vectors (not pixels) which are mathematical formulas with no sizing limitation.

In Photoshop, except for fonts and shapes, everything is pixelated and the size of your logo is limited to its resolution (the number of pixels per inch).

Your logo should have the following characteristics

  • Simple
  • Balanced
  • Unique
  • Memorable
  • Versatile (made for light & dark backgrounds)
  • Relevant
  • Timeless
  • Colored with your brand colors
  • Made of plain colors (you may use a gradient, but very subtle)
  • Made with a clean Font (e.g. Helvetica)

Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Using generic designs (overused designs e.g. like using a tooth in a dentist logo)
  • Using shadow, swooshes, glows or bevels effects
  • Using raster images (pixelated)
  • Using multiple fonts
  • Using stock arts
  • Using color to create a special effect, that will be lost on a grey scale logo
  • Using trendy designs that will look dated after only a few years

Get inspired, but don’t be a copycat! Below are a few examples of logos of popular influencers with strong personal brands.

Backlinko Logo

by Brian Dean

Social Triggers Logo

by Derek Halpern

Dan Martel Logo

by Dan Martell

Evan Carmichael Logo

by Evan Carmichael

Smart Blogger Logo

by Jon Morrow

Gary Vaynerchuck Logo

by Gary Veynerchuk

Neil Patel Logo

by Neil Patel

Guy Kawasaky Logo

by Guy Kawasaki

Designing a nice and effective logo is a challenge, but it is a good way to practice your design skills that will be useful in the future for multiple purposes such as designing banners for your website and social media accounts, designing promotional merchandise, advertising, business cards, etc.

Tip: You can find free fonts at 1001freefonts.com or fontsquirrel.com.

When using Adobe software, you also get access to Typekit, which provide free (and paid) fonts that easily synchronize with your desktop in just one click.

Adobe Typekit Homepage Image

I recommend designing multiple logos and keeping the very best one.

If you want to learn more about logo design, please consider this Best Selling Logo Design Course in Adobe Illustrator – for Beginners & Beyond by Daniel Evans.

Finally, if you are not fully satisfied with your own design, you may get a good logo from 99designs.

All you need to do is to launch a logo contest in which you provide your brand colors and a detailed description of what you require and expect.

Then multiple designers will submit hundreds of logos for you to choose from.

10. Secure a Domain Name

You need to secure a domain name for your website. Your domain name is what composes the URL address of your website (e.g. http://yourdomainname.com).

Your domain name will ideally be the same as your brand name. Meaning if you choose to brand yourself under your real name, try to buy yourrealname.com.

Similarly, if you brand yourself under a different name, try to buy yourdifferentname.com.

In the best case scenario, you buy the .com domain name corresponding exactly to your name and/or brand name (if different).

However, many names are already taken, so you might have to be creative, especially if you have a common name. In this case, you can choose from different extensions.

The most popular are .ca, .co, .net, .io, .ai, but there are hundreds of others to choose from. You can also add a prefix or suffix to your name. For example, IamJoeSmith.com or JoeSmithBrand.com.

Main characteristics of a good domain

  • Short
  • Descriptive
  • Easy to remember
  • .com when available
  • Easy to spell
  • Made of correctly spelled words. Don’t use awkward spelling.
  • Without hyphens or numbers
  • Brandable (when possible) – this means you will be able to trademark your name.

Most hosting plans come with a free domain included. You can simply register your domain at the time of buying your hosting service.

However, I recommend buying your domain from an ICANN-accredited registrar like namecheap.com.

This way, you manage all your domains from one place.

Why am I saying ALL your domains?

Because you may want to buy the different variations of your domain. For example, as I live in Canada, I could buy davidgaudreault.ca, to make sure no one in the country starts building his personal brand under MY brand name.

Also, if you are an entrepreneur just like me, you may be tempted to secure a domain name every time you have an interesting project in mind.

So, using a ICANN-accredited registrar like namecheap.com makes your life easier.

You manage all your domains from one place and if you need to change your hosting provider in the future, you don’t need to process any domain transfer. You just redirect your domain DNS to your new hosting server in no time.

11. Secure Your Social Profiles

There are plenty of social networks. The most popular are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and Pinterest, but there are many more!

You can find social networks in most niches like blogging, business, design, entertainment, health & fitness, information, microblogging, music, news, photo, tech, travel, and video.

To find them, just Google search the keywords “your niche” + Social Networks. For example Fitness Social Networks.

There are benefits of securing your brand name in various social networks no matter if you plan on using them or not.

Because first, you keep the door open to eventually get involved in the network in the future and be able to do it under your brand name, and you also make sure that no one will ever open an account under your brand name.

To secure your name in no time, you can use knowem.com, which allows you to search over 500 popular social networks, over 150 domain names and the USPTO trademark database to instantly secure your brand on the internet.

Because you cannot fully engage on all the social networks, depending on your skills and goals, you should ensure a presence in the most popular social platforms and then, choose a few on which you will focus. A few examples by profession would be for:

Keep in mind that depending on your niche and skills, some networks will be more beneficial to you than others, so make sure to focus on the right ones.

Even by limiting yourself to the most popular platforms, plus a few niche accounts, it can quickly become overwhelming.

To manage all your accounts from one place, you can use a social media management tool such as Buffer and Hootsuite.

So much for this chapter! Did I miss something? Have you put all these actions into practice? Please let me know in the comments below!

CHAPTER 1: CREATING YOUR BRAND IDENTITY!

1. Draft the Guidelines of Your Brand
2. Choose the Name of Your Brand
3. Write Down a Short Description of Your Mission and Supportive Tag Lines
4. Write Down Your Stories
5. Learn the Basics of Graphic Design and Video Editing
6. Get a Good Camera and Studio Equipment
7. Take an Awesome Picture of Yourself
8. Choose your Brand Colors
9. Design your Logo
10. Secure a Domain
11. Secure Your Social Profiles

CHAPTER 2: BUILDING YOUR BRAND ASSETS!

12. Build a Website & a Blog
13. Setup Google Analytics
14. Setup Facebook Pixel
15. Setup Your Professional Email Address
16. Design Your Social Media Pages
17. Get Your Professional Business Cards

CHAPTER 3: CREATING ENGAGING CONTENT – BLOG POSTS!

18. Creating Engaging Content – Blog Writing

CHAPTER 4: CREATING ENGAGING CONTENT – PHOTOS & VIDEOS!

19. Creating Engaging Content – Videos
20. Creating Engaging Content – Going Live
21. Creating Engaging Content – Photos & Images

CHAPTER 5: DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES!

22. Cross-Platform Content Integration
23. Engage with Your Visitors Using a Chat Plugin
24. Connect and Collaborate with Influencers
25. Build your Email List with Lead Magnets
26. Subscribe to a Marketing Automation Platform
27. Start Sending Automated Emails
28. Start Sending Web Push Notifications
29. Get Exposure by Guest Blogging
30. Get Exposure with LinkedIn
31. Get your Own Brands of Merchandise
32. Increase Your Visibility with Online Advertising
33. Interact in Groups and Forums

CHAPTER 6: CREATING THE PERFECT WEBINARS AND SEMINARS!

34. Get Exposure with Webinars
35. Get Exposure with Seminars

CHAPTER 7: 3 BONUS TIPS!

BONUS #1: Crawl the Web to Monitor Your Brand
BONUS #2: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance
BONUS #3: How to Setup Rich Pinterest Pins

Pin this Image on your Favorite Pinterest Board!
Build your brand identify while staying honest and authentic to yourself! Essential tips on how to create your brand identity in simple steps. Learn how to define and identify the very best elements of your personality, the attributes that will make you shine. #brandidentity, #brandidentityguidelines #brandidentitydesign #Personalbrandidentity #personalbranding, #personalbrandingtips #personalbrandingsocialmedia

Who is David Gaudreault?

David Gaudreault Bio - David's Way

I'm an entrepreneur, a maker, an online marketer...and Personal branding passionate.

I help entrepreneurs develop two essentials for building a successful startup: (1) building a strong personal brand and (2) building solid foundations of passive incomes to gain professional freedom.

I also help entrepreneurs find their big ideas, execute them right, impact millions with their businesses, and change the world.

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