If we’ve met and we’re instagram friends, it’s very likely that I’ve talked your head off about my favorite instagrammer (and virtual mentor), Myleik Teele. This genius of a woman launched CurlBOX in 2012, by leveraging her instagram following. So when she put out a podcast episode on branding, these little fingers couldn’t take notes fast enough.
While most of Myleik’s advice was about branding in the business sense, it helped me clarify my understanding of personal branding. If you have no idea what a personal brand is, don't worry. Simply put, a personal brand is what people associate with your presence. And more specifically, it is the collection of the work, language and vibe that you put out into the world (online and in person).
And whether you like it or not, you have a personal brand…and it’s accessible to the whole world if you have any kind of online presence. So you can either intentionally shape your personal brand or do nothing and let it be determined for you. Some of my other favorite personal brands are Emmelie DeLaCruz (like the link in her bio says, she really does come off like Cardi B’s College-Educated Alter Ego lol), Mimi Ikonn, and Shirley B. Eniang.
Here are the top 5 lessons I learned from listening to Myleik’s branding podcast – hopefully you can use this to shape your personal brand because a clear personal brand comes from an honest personal mission, which of course, leads to a more fulfilling life.
1. The goal of personal branding is simply to manage how you are perceived
The best way to manage how you are perceived is to decide what you want to be known for. But there will be many other people who want to be known for the same thing, so you will set yourself apart by HOW you deliver everything you put on the internet. I capitalized the how because how you do what you do, is what makes you unique.
You set yourself apart by sweating the small stuff, focusing on good design, and taking your time with the details. Each new blog post, instagram picture and tweet has the potential to be your first impression on someone. You want everything you do to communicate exactly what you stand for.
2. Personal branding is all about satisfying emotional needs
Think about the people whose instagram feeds you go out of your way to check out. What emotion is pulling you in?
Mimi Ikonn appeals to the calm and free part of who I am.
Emmelie DeLaCruz pulls me in by appealing to the college-educated Cardi B in me.
Shirley B Eniang arouses the classy in me.
Do you see what I mean? A good brand pulls people in by appealing to an emotional need.
3. Great brands ignore trends
I cannot emphasize how much I love this point because it's an encouragement to remain authentic.
Great personal brands stay in their lane.
They are not swayed by the world.
In her podcast episode, Myleik talks about how Oprah is a great brand because she consistently did what was most authentic to her. She chose to end her show while it was still great, she chose to never take her name public and she never pursued business deals outside of her core confidence.
So with every idea that you put out into the world, ask yourself, is this aligned with who I am? If you are like me, you always want to do more, but that doesn’t mean you should do everything all at once. You should test out the ideas you are inclined to pursue and pivot from there.
4. Attract your tribe by celebrating who you are
You can't be all things for all people, so appreciate the tribe you naturally attract and add value for them in whatever way you can. We naturally connect with people who need us so don’t chase after anyone.
Focus on who is focused on you.
These are the people who will protect your brand and proudly display being on your team. Case in point, think of what the beyhive does for Beyonce's brand.
5. Know your motto and live it out loud
Whether conscious or sub-conscious, we all have beliefs that inform how we make decisions. Consciously decide what your brand’s motto or tagline is and use it as your North Star. My personal motto is “Vibrant. Joyful. Powerful.” I use it to inform how I make life decisions and also how I choose the pictures, blog posts and messages I share with the world.
Develop yours and allow it to evolve with your brand over time.
So there you have it:
- Manage how others perceive you by focusing on what you want to be known for
- Branding is all about emotional appeal
- Great brands ignore trends. Stay in your lane
- Celebrate who you are and attract your tribe
- Live out your motto
“Decide what you stand for and build your brand around that.”
- Myleik Teele