So how can you enter into 2019 with a fresh brand and a fresh start? Let's go behind-the-scenes with some of the biggest personal brand power players (with a combined follower count in the mid-billions) who handle and work for brands and celebrities like Capitol Records, CBS, Google, Skrillex, Cardi B and many more.
Here are 9 fantastically futuristic (and relevant) predictions for 2019 if you're looking to build the personal brand of your dreams.
1) Be In Front Of The Camera
"Women that do impactful work “behind-the-scenes" need to come to the forefront - broadcast how dope you are, there are people that need to see it!" - Amber Grimes, SVP Global Creative of Capitol Records.
When starting on your personal brand journey, it is tempting to stay behind the camera, carefully crafting the perfect image. However, getting yourself in front of the camera will help you build a relationship with your audience and prepare you for public speaking and more. The camera is your brand amplifier.
2) Be Perfectly Imperfect
While we may all strive for perfection - it is rarely obtainable and not necessarily the best option. Marilyn Hue, celebrity photographer and creative for Skrillex notes, "Don’t be perfect, it’s more relatable." Connecting with your audience by being flawed (and seeing it as a positive) will make your brand look less robotic and more real. Hue's work has landed in magazines and campaigns globally, sometimes with harsh criticism. It is exactly that imperfection that allows her to work with some of the largest culturally relevant brands like Adidas, Forever 21 and Hypebeast.
3) Be Culturally Relevant
"Highlight your culture and heritage." - Monica Lin, Director of Marketing for Popular Demand, Co-founder at Eyelust Wear.
Don't be afraid to tie in your personal history to your brand. Creating content and speaking to your audience from your cultural perspective (what do you eat, what holidays do you celebrate, what traditions do you believe in) will bring in a specific audience that relates directly to you and has a shared history. Lins' social media platforms reference her cultural upbringing, tied back to what is relevant today. Being able to create that warm and real connection means more followers for your brand.
4) Be Thoughtful About Your Audience
There's such a thing as yelling at your audience instead of listening. If you really want to make the number of fans you have rapidly grow in number - start thinking from their perspective. What content do they want to see or consume? What perspectives or learning lessons might they strongly benefit from? How can you give them, quite plainly, a bit more of what they want?
As Frances Wang, CBS Anchor and Reporter puts it best, "It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice." Wang's philosophy has helped her grow her reporting career from coast-to-coast. Play well with both your audience and your collaborators and you'll have a positive buzz around your brand.
5) Be Creating Online Products
"In 2019, I believe more people with a significant following will be creating formal online courses and master classes to teach something they’re an expert in, which has a better impact and ROI than YouTube." - Bria Sullivan, Coder at Google. Almost anyone can create courses online with a variety of platforms tailored to self-publishing like Udemy and Skillshare. As I've grown my personal brand audience on LinkedIn Video - I teach a course on LinkedIn Learning so my audience can quickly learn best practices for creating videos. The goal is to find the subject you are an expert in and create a meaningful, real product around it. If not, you may face a backlash - both from purchasers and your audience like Instagram influencer, Aggie Lal.
"More influencers will realize the power of engagement and start releasing their own products." - Karen Civil, Entrepreneur and Media Maven. Karen has worked with household music industry brands and names like Lil Wayne and Beats by Dre. Online products are not limited to online courses - these can include special invite-only online groups or special access to content prior to regular release.
6) Be Radically Transparent
As Cardi B herself once said, "I said I never had a problem showin' y'all the real me." From her distinctive sense of style to the very (smart) collaborations she has done, rarely does Cardi's audience question the veracity of her personal brand. And behind that branded image is Patientce Foster, CEO of Cream Agency and Publicist for Cardi B, who says, "Live in your truth and promote transparency. People are attracted to what they can relate to."
Crafting the perfect image does not mean you have to hide who you truly are. In fact, most of creating a personal brand is curating what parts of the real you are most useful for your brand goals.
7) Be A Strong Individual
What is the one memorable trait - physical or personality-wise - that you nudge your audience towards? Is it being a leader or outspoken advocate within your niche industry? Is it specialty eyeglass frames, a"giant" height, or perhaps wildly green hair? Brand Architect, Ericka Pittman suggests, "In 2019, the key personal brand differentiator will be authentic individuality - display your “X- Factor” in the most unique and honest way possible." Focusing on what you are already known for and driving press, organic content and paid ads towards that "x-factor" can help you stand out from the crowd faster.
8) Be An Ideal Adjective
"Compile a list of adjectives and values that you'd want your audience to use when describing you to other people; then make sure that every single piece of content you create matches those ideals." - Olori Swank, Author, celebrity stylist and branding coach. One exercise that I frequently do with my personal brand clients is to have them curate three brand keywords - these three keywords define both hard skills (writing, coding, speaking, pig wrangling and more) and soft skills (a sense of humor, warmth, communication and more). These keywords or adjectives will help create a filter through which you can create content and a platform.
9) Be A Community Builder
Building community is one of the most rewarding and wonderful ways to launch and grow a brand. After all, if your community doesn't feel a connection to you or to each other, it's much less likely they will engage in with your content or purchase your products. Turning your ideal demographic into a community takes time and energy - with a focus on delivering what they want and listening.
Crafting the perfect personal brand in 2019 is easier than you think. Leveraging the right keywords, transparency, visual formats and community-building will have your brand flying out of the crowd and landing in your targeted demographic's hearts.