The Secret to Creating a Cultivated Personal Brand

The Yellow Co. Blog: a gathering for creative women to be empowered to do goodWhile most people think of refining as a process of eliminating all of the extraneous things that keep something from being pure, my process looks a little bit different. Instead of removing things, I’ve been adding things back in.

As I first began to create my brand as a content developer, I was very conscious of wanting every aspect of it, from my website to my social media feeds, to be impeccably professional. I made sure never to post anything too personal, even to the point of being hesitant to post images of myself. At the time, I thought that this would keep me from alienating any potential clients and keep the focus purely on my services, instead of me as an individual.

Over time, however, I found that my work life had become quite compartmentalized.

I had one set of content that I was creating for my private clients, another set of content that I was creating for my arts blog, and an entirely separate set of content in development on wellness and personal growth that I wasn’t sure what to do with yet. I was considering setting up a third website, but just the thought of maintaining a completely separate set of social media accounts was exhausting. As I discussed these issues with Jacki Carr, a friend of mine who also happens to be an incredibly creative brand consultant and a truly inspiring life coach, one word kept coming up: h__olistic.

Holistic (adjective): care for the whole being in all aspects, physical, psychological, and social.

Over the course of our conversation, I realized that what I really wanted was to streamline my work life so that it encompassed all of my interests and services in a seamless way, but I was concerned about how to house all of these topics under one cohesive brand identity. What Jacki helped me to realize was that my brand would emerge organically as I incorporated my varied interests into the mix and that it would be more alive, more tangible, and more uniquely engaging when I began to share a deeply authentic and whole perspective on who I am and what I bring to the table as an individual and in my work.

I now have a single website that features my services as well as a blog that covers the full span of topics that interest me from nutrition to interviews with inspirational people to articles on wellbeing practices. As a result of making this shift in approach, my brand has gone from being somewhat sterile and impersonal to a much richer tapestry of who I am and it is much easier to maintain than three different brands with multiple sites! While this does mean that some people may come across my brand and decide that it doesn’t suit them, it also means that I am now attracting my ideal clients and projects that I absolutely love working on, and in my book, that’s a win-win situation for everyone!

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You can infuse your content with your unique personality, while keeping your brand clear and consistent. Here’s How:
Clarify Your Values

Spend some time getting really clear on your personal values. Be sure not to rush this process because it is what will help you create a strong foundation for your brand and save you time down the road when you’re making decisions about whether or not certain types of content are on brand. Get creative when exploring your values. Make a vision board, a word cloud, or journal about the things that light you up in life. Strive for authenticity over perfection and go with your gut. Once you feel that you have adequately expressed your passions in the format that most suits you, take step back and look for themes. This will help you identify what your most fundamental personal values are, and bringing these values into your work will help you create a brand identity that conveys genuine passion!

Ask Around

If you find that you’re having difficulty defining your personal values, check in with friends or trusted colleagues for some added insight. Ask them what they value most about you, what unique skills and traits you bring to the table, and what seems to inspire you and bring you joy. An outside perspective can sometimes remind us of things that shape our identities in important ways, but might have become so commonplace in our lives that we take them for granted.

Get Personal

Once you’ve identified your passions and values, you can begin to weave them throughout your content. Instead of trying to fit yourself into someone else’s box, create your own by linking your various interests back to the constellation of values that underlie your brand message. This allows you to share your brand in a way that is personal, relatable, and memorable.

Let Go and Trust

As I went through this process for my own brand, I found that the most difficult part was allowing myself to be seen. When we put ourselves into our brands, it creates an element of vulnerability that can be uncomfortable or even scary, at first. Ultimately you have to make the decision to let go of fears of what others might think, focus on the positive message you have to share, and trust that being boldly authentic will attract the audience that is seeking the unique combination of gifts that only you have to offer.

Photos by Caroline Ro

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Ashley Berry

Ashley Berry is an LA-based Holistic Health Coach and Wellness Writer. She graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Sociology and received her Health Coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. She believes in the power of authenticity and intentional living and is deeply passionate about supporting others who wish to create their very best lives through radiant health in mind, body, and spirit.