5 steps to start your personal brand (for Indian designers)
Like many of the designers, day in and out, we are accustomed to a lot of branding but then, what about our own brand? We know the importance of branding and how to utilize it, so why not implement it for ourselves too?!
Whether you want to self-promote yourself, sell your work or get employed, personal branding just adds a new dimension to your work and helps you achieve your goals with ease. Here are my 5 steps to start off with personal branding today:
Know your why:
Develop a strong vision and make sure that you use it everywhere you go. The reason why you want to be online as a designer must be clear in your head, whether you want to self-promote yourself, showcase your portfolio, want to sell your work or you just want to do everything all together, must be clear. This sets out the base for you to choose which platform to optimize. e.g. you want to showcase your portfolio then behance.net is your best option, and if you want to promote your services then Facebook or Instagram are good choices, and so on.
Define your personality :
Who are you? What is your niche? Who is your audience? Just like creating a brand personality for a product you need to create a brand personality of your own work. Also, you need to know how you want to be perceived as, for example as hipster or sophisticated classy person, as all your work should highlight the perception you provide with your work. Your messaging and voice of your content should also deliver the personality of your brand.
Digital is a vast subject but I feel if you start-off by doing just a wee bit of digital, you will sure learn along the way and get the hang of it with experience. But for that you need to start off somewhere and fully optimize that too! I assorted digital into 3 major categories which you should optimize according to your goal and they are as below:
Portfolio: As you know a portfolio is a must for anyone in creative field, it shows your professional side and increases your value. There are plenty of websites where you can upload your projects but I will share some which are popular in India. Your personal website is the best way to showcase all your projects and it really tells your story in the most professional way, where you not only share your skills but also provide a platform to connect with others. Second, if you feel the website is too much just buy your domain name and opt for a blog(WordPress, Wix, and blogger) instead. Just open up an account, create a story of your project and start sharing. Thirdly, if all these are a bit complicated for now, you can go with a third party portfolio publishing sites. Sites like Behance, Dribble and DeviantArt are the most popular ones. These sites are not only a good way to connect but also valuable for inspiration and showcasing your work to the best in your industry.
Promotion: The next place to optimize not only your work but also yourself is via self-promotion. It gives you a pool of audience, full of admirers and potential partnerships with people beyond your industry. The best way to achieve this is via social media and for this, the best platforms in India are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Create your page and be consistent with your brand personality while posting on these platforms. As the time passes, experiment with paid promotions to get the desired audience.
Sell: Portfolios and promotions will sure sometimes land you with work opportunities but there are dedicated websites out there for getting paid for your work too. Upwork, worknhire, and Truelancer are the best options for Indian professional which I recommend. You can check this amazing article on freelancing and earning opportunities in India http://betterzilla.com/freelance-work-in-india/
So you created the personality, website, social media profiles and maybe posted a couple of posts but then you stopped being consistent. Now, this is a tricky part, a lot of us(including me) fail to be consistent in posting and sharing latest projects/posts. Take advantage of the digital world around you and keep on sharing your drafts/ideas, in progress projects, feedback posts, etc. to keep your audience engaged, clients updated and keep your channel alive. This will sure picture you as someone who is serious about their work and obviously someone who dedicates his/her time for their passion.
The best part of going digital is that everyone from across the globe is connected. Network not only within your community but also outside it for better exposure! Make them interested in you, listen to them, add value to their work, comment, share and connect with them on various social platforms. Join social media groups, forums, etc. dedicated to the type of audience you are looking for. Even offline events are a great option for networking in India. Keep a track of various events and mark it on your calendar to be a part of them.
Initially, I too was skeptical about personal branding and I thought I could never achieve that. But what encouraged me was my competition which I perceive more as my motivation and inspiration. Designers like Akshar Pathak, Alicia D’souza, and Faisal Mohammed are who I aspire to be one day. I follow their work, their posts, etc. which acts as a reference point of many of my posts and content. So start stalking the designers you love and just embrace their strategies.
Personal branding is a great way to establish yourself both online and offline, create credibility and perception across your audience. Start it by planning out everything thing shared above, then create a simple monthly calendar to organize your work and keep experimenting. These points are just basic points with which you can start-off today itself and in time, with experience, you can improvise on your strategies.
Do share your thoughts on this too!