On March 5th, 2023, I spoke at Simon Fraser University’s Student Marketing Association’s Personal Branding panel for the 10th year anniversary of the Marketing in Focus conference, and it was a blast. I loved seeing everyone’s enthusiasm in person, meeting SFU’s students, and being able to speak on a panel again! It’s been YEARS, and I can’t wait to continue speaking at events this year.
I graduated from SFU in the faculty of Communications, Arts & Technology in 2020, and since then, I’ve learned so much about personal branding that I want to share. There are great topics addressed in the panel, but there were also important topics that I wish were touched upon. Let’s get started.
Personal branding questions that were asked at the panel
What is personal branding?
Personal branding means leveraging your core values, unique perspective, point of view, and personality to connect with and build an audience. It involves having a clear mission, vision, and values that guide the intentional and purposeful selection and portrayal of aspects of yourself to achieve your goals.
By being intentional and purposeful in how you present yourself to the world, you can build a personal brand that sets you apart and helps you create the life you’ve always wanted.
Why is it important to develop a personal brand?
Developing a personal brand is important for both external and internal reasons.
On the external side, a solid personal brand can help you build better relationships, grow your business, and make a greater impact in your field. By crafting a clear and compelling personal brand, you can set yourself apart from the competition, attract new opportunities, and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
On the internal side, (the more important of the two!) developing a personal brand can lead to personal growth, improved self-confidence, and greater comfort with taking risks. By practicing confidence, learning sales skills, and being comfortable with being uncomfortable – for example, by talking in front of a camera – you can develop important skills and habits that will benefit you in all areas of your life.
Creating a personal brand requires self-reflection and self-acceptance, which can lead to a deeper understanding of who you are and what you stand for.
As a student, or as someone who is interested in starting their personal brand, how do I start?
One effective approach to start building your personal brand as a student is to document your journey and your story, sharing your experiences and insights with others.
Whether through a blog, social media, or another platform, you can showcase your unique perspective and point of view, highlighting your passions and interests. It’s important to highlight why you’re on this journey and what drove you to work on yourself and your goals. Sharing your why can help you connect with others who share similar values and interests, and can help you establish yourself as a credible and relatable authority in your field.
How can I translate who I am into a personal brand?
I don’t believe in niching down when it comes to your personality. Having multi-faceted content is a strength because you are multi-faceted!
Choose your favourite platform to get your message across and focus on three core values that you want to be known for.
Think about the emotions you want to evoke in your audience. Do you want them to feel inspired? Excited? Empowered?
By being intentional and consistent in your messaging and content, you can create a personal brand that accurately represents who you are and what you stand for.
What advice would you give to students starting their own personal brand?
- The more vulnerable you are, the more impact and connection you’ll have with your audience. Your community appreciates authenticity, and sharing your personal story and struggles, can help you make them feel seen.
- Choose consistency over perfection. Starting a personal brand is a long-term commitment that requires patience and dedication. It’s essential to show up consistently, even if it means sharing imperfect content.
- Building a personal brand is a skill that takes practice, long-term commitment, and self-commitment. Don’t expect instant success and be willing to put in the work to build your brand over time.
- Finally, remember that the best time to start is now. Social media constantly evolves and changes, so don’t wait for the perfect moment to launch your brand. Start with what you have and grow from there.
Let’s dive beneath the surface. Here is how my personal brand has impacted my life.
I met the love of my life by building my personal brand.
In 2016, my content was focused on fashion and styling lookbooks.
As an aspiring video editor and fashion marketer, I volunteered to make a video for SFU’s Fashion Week, a yearly event that brought together SFU’s fashion entrepreneurs.
This portion of the event showcased a panel of designers, including the designer and founder of Frontrvnners, Joshua Jackai. Frontrvnners was the headlining brand, and I was absolutely mesmerized whenever Josh spoke. I swear, time slowed down. I knew he was going to be my future husband. It sounds crazy, but I had a gut feeling.
We never talked that day, but we did take a group photo! I followed him and his brand on Instagram, and we kept in touch through social media. We had so much in common. Two semesters later, I reached out to him. It turned out we were taking the same class on different campuses. (I’ll save our full love story for later. 👀)
I would’ve never been at the SFU Fashion Week event if I wasn’t building my fashion content, met other like-minded people, and found a community where I felt seen.
The Peak wrote an article on Frontrvnners that year. The next year, I became SFU Fashion Week’s 4th Creative Director, and Josh and I started dating. We’re coming up 6 years in 2023.
I learned to take up more space, own my story, and become more confident.
Radical self-acceptance is a common theme in this blog. By owning my story without judgment, I’ve minimized my self-criticism, and have fallen more in love with who I am, no matter how much self-doubt I initially feel.
I was hired for my first corporate position because of my lifestyle and fashion content.
When I graduated in 2020, the first full-time position I was offered was as a graphic designer and social media position at a women’s fashion company. During the interview, the company mentioned that they were beginning to hire content creators as part of its marketing strategy.
When I was offered the position, I learned that a big part of their hiring process was my experience building my online community and taking my fashion content on my phone. During my time at this corporate job, I taught the marketing team a variety of filming and iPhone photography tips and tricks that would eventually increase their engagement and help guide their future content creators.
Don’t hesitate to use your personal brand as a portfolio piece.
I’ve closed clients because of my blog.
Speaking of portfolio pieces, this blog is one of them. Long-form educational content positions me as a thought leader and writer. Because of this blog, Yzobel Creative Inc. was hired by my past and previous clients, including Reflect Media, Mercedes-Benz Vancouver, and Dilawri BC.
I’ve had paid collaborations with my dream brands.
Having a multi-faceted personal brand has allowed me to work with a variety of industries. I’ve had paid collaborations with Coast Capital to promote the importance of personal finance, KORA Organics & Sephora Canada to promote clean skincare, and ASOS to promote their student discount program.
This is your sign to make your mark, dream big, and create your personal brand!
Who knows, maybe in a year’s time, you’ll be on a personal branding panel and sharing how you overcame your limiting beliefs, met the love of your life, and created the life you’ve always wanted.