Every woman entrepreneur is mildly obsessed with the questions: “What’s my brand? What’s different about me, and how can I stand out in the marketplace?” And with good reason.
These days, creating a successful business demands that you develop a strong brand.
That means being able to communicate your core message across everything that you do. It’s visual and it’s verbal, and especially compared to some of the other aspects of running a business, it’s nuanced, artful, and intuitive.
The journey of creating a brand is really special, however it can also be frustrating. For a long time in building my company, discovering my unique brand was my biggest blind spot. Initially I had no vision for it and definitely felt behind my colleagues. My branding wasn’t fresh and it didn’t accurately represent me or the quality of my work.
I know how vulnerable a woman can feel when she has website shame.
And I’m here as a living testament that the weak truly can become strong. It didn’t happen overnight, but today with Divine Living, I could not be more proud of the promise of my brand or feel more in tune with its visual aesthetic. What was once one of the weakest areas of my career has now become one of the strongest!
While my lengthy process was certainly of value to me, I’m hoping you can get there a bit faster. To help you develop a look and uniqueness you can feel empowered by, I’m sharing what I learned along my own path. Here are my five steps to creating a personal brand that represents the fabulousness of YOU:
At the same time I kept developing myself, so I got to know myself really well. I soon realized that my passion for a fabulous lifestyle was being quarantined to the weekends—when I would wear my best outfits, cook beautiful meals
and host wonderful dinner parties.
As I started to reveal my true self, I found that much of my audience also shared my passions for luxury, style, and travel, along with a love for spirituality, personal development and entrepreneurship. Integrating all of these passions into my business, I found my message of a woman who seeks both a divinely inspired career and a luxurious lifestyle, and that’s how Divine Living was born!
What I always recommend is that if you’re struggling to find a unique message that really speaks to you, look at what you’re doing during the week and on the weekends, and think about how you can bring it all into your business—somewhere in there lies the key to your brand.
important to you, it’s a good time for a photo shoot. The way I started was with really beautiful photos—initially surrounded by, admittedly, not the best design.
However what’s more important than having the incredible website or the perfectly crafted logo is the opportunity for people to look into your eyes, see your smile and feel if they trust you.
Remember that in creating your brand it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being authentic.
I know photo shoots can be a very vulnerable process for a lot of women, because the only context we have for women in professional photos is provided by Hollywood and the fashion industry—but rest assured no one is hiring models and entertainers to be their coach or consultant. So Karlie Kloss has job security and so do you.
By the way, you don’t have to wait until you whiten your teeth or lose 20 pounds for your first photo shoot (and yes you’ll need many)—you just need to be the best that you are right now, because you are being hired right now. Make sure you’re recognizable, and don’t worry too much about striking a pose.
Over the course of my career as I’ve done more and more shoots, my style has certainly evolved, but still I find the most important thing is simply how I’m feeling in the moment. I need to be in a believable space, doing something believable. I need to be comfortable, actually happy, proud of who I am and loving what I’m offering, and the camera will capture that.
There was a time I did not know that my clothing allowance had to be a part of my business budget. Now I realize what an important component it is to what I do.
Wardrobe and jewelry is an essential part of how we present ourselves in videos, broadcasts, graphics, and social posts—and these are all integral to our marketing. So part of your ad budget should go into your personal presentation, helping you to stand out and have that confidence and wow factor. I’m not saying everyone needs to be draped in $14,000 couture dresses, however, showing that you invest in your appearance is a confident move.
I know many women who straight up hate shopping and understand that sometimes even an hour at the boutiques can cause anxiety. I personally did not have a shopping phobia, rather I thought I had great style, yet unbeknownst to me there was a lot of room for improvement. Working with my wonderful stylist Sam Saboura has definitely been a game changer in my wardrobe department.
I think no matter where you’re at with it, at the minimum it’s smart to have one session with a personal stylist to get a fresh perspective on what you really look good in.
Having clarity on what works for you will streamline your shopping process and give you greater confidence in your look. I also recommend choosing pro hair stylists and make-up artists for events and shoots. Find someone you feel comfortable with who can give you the best version of yourself.
through many evolutions and worked with many different designers to finally get to an aesthetic that I love. I now have two logos—one for my company and one for my magazine—and I adore them both.
In particular I had a great experience working with ModCo, the creative branding agency behind Tori Burch’s iconic brand, on creating the chic DL logo that graces the cover of Divine Living.
My hope is that you’ll have an easier time with the art direction of your brand, however it is a process to get to something that truly represents you while also being iconic and identifiable.
Since I love travel and that’s a strong part of my brand, part of my ideation process was looking to places I love in the world. For example, the rosetta symbol we use for Divine Living was inspired by the design of Notre Dame in Paris.
Gathering unique sources of inspiration will help you connect with the people you’re working with so they can give you a reflection of who you truly are. Always allow yourself to open up and fully express yourself in order to get the best out of your team.
You can understand your Social Media as different channels through which you express your brand. And each channel—Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc—has its own unique language for expression. The key to creating a successful presence is to identify what aspect of your message can be communicated through each channel.
Instagram for example is a place to really curate your visual aesthetic. You want to create a cohesive peak into your world, and you want it to be well-composed in order to connect with the visually-driven user community—so each post should be as purposeful and artful as possible. Choose a strong photo for your profile as well and keep your bio short and sweet. Now is a good time to take advantage of Instagram since anyone can access it freely without restrictive paid tiers (which have significantly changed the game with Facebook).
On Facebook, you can be a bit more raw and less polished with your images. This is a place to give your audience a look behind-the-scenes and post lots of photos, such as event albums. The news feed is also where people are reading and sharing content like videos and articles, which are great for establishing your brand by curating your different interests and passions.
Twitter meanwhile is a place to share your thoughts and engage in casual conversation. Think of it as a big virtual meeting at the water cooler. You can share links, re-tweet, and favorite in order to get in on the conversation. With both Twitter and Instagram, it’s a good idea to pay attention to hashtag and location trends—if they align with your brand and spark your interest it could be a great move to speak up.
All in all, the most important part of creating a great brand is to remember that YOU are one of a kind. No one in the history of the world has ever been you. There’s a purpose for you and your people need you. So step out, shine bright, fail forward, be vulnerable, take risks, make mistakes and mostly make yourself proud by creating the brand of YOU.