Updated: May 1
If you haven’t yet read the previous two articles in the Personal Brand Series, please go ahead and read them! So far, we’ve gone over the importance of personal brand creation, how to discover your “why, what, and how”, and how to begin to apply your ideas.
To get started, we’ll be using an example to help you work through the steps of building your personal brand blueprint, and to allow you to envision some of the strategies that you might choose to use.
To get started, we’ll be using an example to help you work through the steps of building your personal brand blueprint and to allow you to envision some of the strategies that you might choose to use.
Linda has been your mentee for years and is about to enter her junior year of college. She has recently decided that she wants to change her career path. She has asked you to jump on a Zoom call with her, in which she lets you know that she now wants to pursue her inner dream of entering the music industry. For as long as you’ve known her, she has wanted to be a journalist, and is currently pursuing a journalism degree.
Linda has been your mentee for years and is about to enter her junior year of college. She has recently decided that she wants to change her career path. She has asked you to jump on a Zoom call with her, in which she lets you know that she now wants to pursue her inner dream of entering the music industry. For as long as you’ve known her, she has wanted to be a journalist and is currently pursuing a journalism degree.
Now that she will have to do some extra work to shift from journalism to music production, she’s scrambling to get her professional personal brand together. She is adamant about the fact that if she doesn’t create and complete her brand before school starts, she’ll never stand a chance against her peers that have already begun working towards an industry-related career.
After she wraps up her impassioned speech, she asks you what she should do. First, you ask her to take a deep breath and let her know that a personal brand is not something that ever has to be concrete and complete. Rushing to do so would ultimately result in her putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on herself.
In fact, we all unintentionally begin creating our image early, an image which largely depends on where we are in life in general. You tell her that a personal brand is essentially just a fancy phrase for image, with a few differences.
Next, you tell her that she should also discover her “why”. Her current reasons for developing her personal brand are that she wants to catch up to her peers and that she also wants to make a name for herself in the industry. After coming up with a few other “why’s”, she decides that her biggest why is still her wanting to make a name for herself in the industry. You challenge it. You ask her why it’s so important to her, and she goes into great detail about how becoming well-known in the industry is the best way to build credibility with artists and record labels.
You tell her that she’s doing great, and that you really just asked her to make sure that she believed in her own why enough to push through adversity. You ask her to list a few of the things that she would want to be known for, and she already has a well-thought-out idea. Linda knows that she wants to be known as a relatable, down to earth producer. She wants to exude her bubbly personality while also emphasizing her other qualities such as being confident and strong, as she knows that the industry is very cutthroat and competitive.
You ask her to describe what traits she believes that she’s already known for, and if she’s pleased with her current persona. She tells you that she is very satisfied with her public persona and that her peers have told her that she is very determined, kind, and passionate all while being her natural self. She mainly hopes to enhance her confidence as it relates to career development and working with experienced artists, and wants to have a huge studio known for providing artists with a full sound experience.
Next, you help her work through her “how”. First, you ask Linda to share her screen and show you her resume.
You see that she has had a multitude of different experiences in the field of journalism, and has already made connections through her various internships and volunteer experiences. You ask Linda to identify which of her experiences and skills are transferable to music production, and she tells you that there aren’t any.
You begin to point out areas of her resume where she has created more than enough experiences to get her foot in the door.
She has completed an internship with a radio network, and was able to shadow the production engineer for a few days out of each week. She also volunteers at a camp for children with disabilities, where one of the areas that she works in is the music class area. She also took a multitude of music lessons for the entirety of middle school and early high school, and won an award for best multi-instrumentalist of her region the year before she stopped playing. Lastly, she owned a small business during high school and her freshman year of college.
While she sees how some of the things on her resume could relate to music production, she tells you that she does not think that they would help her. The radio network internship was mainly for learning how to become a radio personality, she only volunteers in the music class occasionally, her personal music classes stopped in high school, and her business was just a small business to earn some money.
You let her finish, and then you politely tell her that it largely depends on perspective. If Linda looked at it from a different lens, she might see that she made great connections at her internship, gained experience coaching music lovers different techniques, spent years on and won a big award in instrument related activities, and learned a lot about entrepreneurship through her business. You help her think through it, and then start to give her some tips on how to expand on her experiences.
With her “why” and “what” already in mind, you get to work on what strategies she could use to start developing her brand. First, you ask Linda if she has LinkedIn. She says yes, and that she actually has a pretty vast network, having already connected with some of her supervisors and peers. She does not post often on LinkedIn, but makes an effort to keep her network up to date. You touch on the importance of putting herself and her work out there, and suggest that she connect with not only her old supervisors and their coworkers, but also big producers that she’s familiar with.
After you have given her some more tips on enhancing her LinkedIn, you ask her what else she could do to start building on her brand. She tells you that she has already started to think of that, and knows that she should pursue production related extracurriculars, experiences, mentorships, and classes. She also knows that her school offers a double major in Journalism and Music, and knows that this combination would get her to exactly where she wants to be while still building on her prior classes.
You then discuss how to turn all of her new experiences and connections into her personal brand. Before Linda can make a name for herself in the industry, she’ll have to begin building up her credibility, experience, references, and vast network. Each of her plans contribute directly to her goal, and will naturally build upon themselves with time. You tell Linda that she’s in it for the long run, and will be able to enjoy the journey if she plans it out in a certain way. You both say your goodbyes, and you ask her to check in at the end of the year.
Fast forward to the end of the year, where you join another Zoom call with Linda. She’s really excited, and tells you all of the ways that she’s been venturing towards creating her personal brand. She has made an effort to become way more social at campus networking events and career fairs, has joined the campus music organization and is competing with instruments again, has posted many of her new accomplishments on LinkedIn, and has been getting closer to her old supervisors who have been arranging meetings with her and other professionals in the area. Along with with all of her new accomplishments, she has recently been taken under the wing of the assistant to one of the biggest music producers in the entire state!
You end the Zoom call on a good note and have little to no corrections for how she’s proceeding. With all of her hard work, her connections have been soaring through the roof. As far as the music industry, building connections and getting your name in the door are some of the best ways to add becoming a well-known name to the arsenal of qualities in your personal brand.
What important traits of your field and social circle can you consider when creating your own “brand arsenal”? What do you want your persona to be? Who do you want to be in your personal life, and how can you tie that into your daily practices? These are some good things to think of when creating your brand blueprint.
If you ever need some ideas for how to get started or develop what you already have, search on Google! Some of the phrases that I enter are “how to develop a personal brand”, “ how to develop a personal brand for animal health careers”, “traits of successful women”, and “how to become a better professional”.
Feel free to review this article whenever you need to! Not-so-subtle hints that are hidden in this article revolve around the same themes of “why”, “what”, and “how” that create a brand blueprint. When it boils down to it, these are the only three things that you truly need to create or recreate your personal brand.
Good luck, and thank you for reading!