Designers hold a wealth of knowledge when it comes to their industry and also business experience. If you are a designer and looking to stand out in your industry to share your knowledge, branding yourself out is a strategic move that proves to be beneficial for the owner and their business.
It takes some time and work to really get the face behind the brand to stand out but with a great plan and idea of success the brand owner can be doing more outside of the design studio.
Also, placing an owner in an “expert” position is an awesome way to gain customer loyalty. They want to know and trust you and what better way!
Today I wanted to share with you things that has worked when building a personal brand alongside creating a PR program for Ohh My Feet! Formerly known as Foot Kandy On-The-Go and the owner Jae Nash.
Becoming an expert
With the changes in the industry you must become an expert and leader. Try out different things and be aware of the changes in the trends that are coming. We always want to know what's new and so does the press. Lead the Way and start the conversation!
When you are creating your "expert" profile, you as a designer must know what you are devoted to as a expert. Try to narrow down 3 area's of expertise. You can also think of the expertise as a much personal connection with your customers.
With Ohh My Feet! owner we focused on 3 areas: small business owner (women), Foot care (foot care products for heels) and life as a widow (charity).
Produce a separate media/press plan
It’s important that the designer have a separate plan then the company with a strategic action plan to put the designer out in the spotlight. The designer should have a detail plan for media and a press kit to showcase their business knowledge and focus.
When we started working with Ohh My Feet! We produced a press plan to help grow their brands awareness. When it was time to work on Jae Nash press strategy a whole new press plan was created, that included Objectives and Goals, Initiatives and Strategies and a target press list.
One of our favorite features was the Coffea Cover Story.
Research the market and need to knows
Spend time researching the market, conducting surveys and get to know the questions customers and other emerging business owners are constantly asking. Also research topics that are already being discussed over and over and separate yourself from those, what are topics that people want to know that you are able to cover and bring something different to the conversation.
This is one of the most important area's of growing your personal brand, researching the market and what information is needed. As designers it's important to solve a problem rather then looking for the next money makers, as we've seen with so many flops in the industry lately, customers want their problems solved and that's what they buy into. This is the same with building a personal brand, what problems could you help solve?
We dug deep to learn more about what Jae could offer to the industry, what did widow moms want to know about juggling motherhood and business? What was small business owners not being told? Why was it important for women who wore heels to protect their feet?
From panels, speaking engagements to interviews finding your niche creates those opportunities for you to speak and answer those questions.
Get headshots and lifestyle pictures
For your press kit have professional headshots and also make sure you conduct lifestyle shots with you in action. Other speaking engagements and working behind-the-scenes of your brand, you need to be shot in your surroundings and what you do best.
Thankfully Jae Nash already have shots of herself, one thing we did was add lifestyle shots from events and work day. These shots look so amazing in press features and also flyers. This is also an amazing tactic for Social Media. Social Media is so full of "business experts" I truly believe in showcasing yourself in the industry to separate yourself.
Know your angle and focus
Are you looking to host webinars, sit on business panels, speak at conferences, do mentoring, talk about your business with the media, write eBooks? Whatever it is, make sure it’s a part of your marketing plan.
Once you get a profile and press plan you must define your angle. This part should be easy if you already started your research this will also help you narrow down your focus on pitching yourself.
With Jae we focused on Press features and business panels. Once we set our goal on these angles, we were able to research opportunities to pitch and not only pitch but market Jae with (Social Media and press placement) for others to see and come to us. Landing opportunities such as #BrunchTalk, Glambitious Power Chat, Ladies, Sip, See & Share Open Discussion, Love, Friendship, Finances Panel (Q&A Live) and many more.
Have a professional bio
Great you own a fashion brand, what else? What separates you from the pack? What makes you special or different? Do you have an important, life changing business experience or story? You need to tell it in your bio.
Your bio should be able to separate you from the masses in your industry. It should highlight your expertise and interest. Check out how we spruced up Jae Nash's bio.
Be a reflection of your brand
Be exactly what you say you are then you wouldn’t need to go into press interviews faking the funk! Don’t do something to your brand because it’s cool, do it because you have the passion to share it with the world.
Nothing worse then having someone go into a press interview and have no idea what they are talking about! If you are an expert you should know the background information requested, also be a walking testimony. If your expertise is something you actual experience this will not be a problem.
Practice pitching and talking about your brand and your area of expertise.
Are you building a personal brand?
What part of building a personal brand has been your problem area?