Your umbrella is who you are. It keeps everything you stand for safe and protected underneath whatever design and colors you choose to fill your life with. No matter the variety of interests underneath that protection, your umbrella will always be there as the gateway to the rest of the world… sending off a cohesive image consisting of everything you love.
Friend and fellow blogger, Samantha Claire, has a wonderful blog that is all about making a brand for yourself. When I started this blog a few months ago, I struggled with finding a topic for it. At the time, I thought that all of my interests were conflicting with each other. Through some intense brainstorming, I came up with the idea that my blog will include all of my interests- on a budget. Now that I have gotten a feel for the blogosphere, I am beginning to make a brand for myself (with the help of Sam’s blog, The Umbrella Brand).
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the name of your blog?
A: The Umbrella Brand is a concept I thought of one day when someone said ‘that is so you, Sam’. It got me thinking about how I present myself to the world… Did I like what my clothes, accessories, friends, attitude, job and style said about me? Luckily, I DID! I like being an Athletic-ModernPrep-Bundle’O’Bubbles-Romantic that has been wrapped up into one tiny package tied with a lovely Samantha engraved ribbon. So much of who I am falls into one of those four categories; all under my stylishly branded umbrella!
I knew branding was the concept and theme I wanted for my blog, but the name took A LONG time to think of. Suddenly, while on a run (where most of my ideas hit me) I saw someone walking with an umbrella (it wasn’t raining) and I thought, what the heck are they protecting themselves from? Then I realized our own personal brands need protecting, much like an umbrella protects us from harsh weather. Umbrella’s typically portray our personalities (colored, modest, travel sized…) and are held over our heads, covering everything underneath.
Q: When did you start to figure out what your own brand meant?
A: I always thought I have had a good handle on my personality and image but it wasn’t until I was driving and saw the most adorable white convertable BMW with chestnut leather seats, that I realize other people noticed. Naturally I Instagramed a picture of the beautiful car, and the next day a co-worker told me that if I were a car, the BMW would be it. That told me other people were catching on to my brand and that if they related me to a pearly white BMW that I was doing a good job of presenting myself!
Q: How important is branding yourself when you are searching for the right career?
A: SO IMPORTANT! If you are a studious introvert you probably don’t want to be in Public Relations or Events. If you are always on the go, you probably should reconsider Accounting. Getting a job is difficult. Everyone will tell you to ‘stand out’, which will bring up thousands of crazy unique ideas that might make you look wacko. To me, standing out doesn’t mean do something crazy and unforgettable, it simply means… be someone they can relate to and someone that reminds them of the role you are applying for. If your brand is in line with the company’s mission and right line of work, this connection will be clear to the company and you will have a MUCH easier time working your way in to your dream job! (It is the same with finding a sucessful relationship, find a complimentary brand!)
Q: Is it important to choose a personal brand and stick to it, or is it more important to evolve your brand with time?
A: It is definitely important to evolve your brand over time. Your interests will naturally change and evolve as you go through life experiences, however, stick within the outlined parameters of your brand. People recognize and love consistency. This is especially imporant if you own your own business. Changing it up too much will not only change your image, but it will also change the opinions of your followers, customers, or clients and might make you appear to be unreliable. Small gradual changes and upgrades are the way to go!
Q: Do you have any advice for people who are trying to figure out what their brand means?
A: It is a little bit of a process to figure out your brand. But once you start asking questions everything will fall into place. My best suggestion would be to talk to your friends and family. Ask them what reminds them of you. Personality-wise, material-wise, what they feel like when they’re with you, what activities they would ask you to do with them, which celebrities you are like, what brands suit you… Your answers should relate to one another and should start to form some sort of pattern. From there, you can make a connection and start to name your brand. I went with four phrases that describe (mostly) everything about me:
Athletic – love everything about working out and eating healthy
ModernPrep – Living by the sea + small towns, wearing bright colors, having New England/Southern charm,
Bundle’O’Bubbles – Always searching for new activities and adventures, wedding planning, events, smiling, being positive
Romantic – Try to find a love story in everything, always being hopeful, making people feel special
Making a name for you brand is a little extreme, but it might help you to keep focus on what is most important to you and who you are striving to be. It definitely helps me when I feel lost!
— You, Inc. is a book that really got me thinking about the whole concept of personal branding. It is incredible, easy to read, and goes really in depth about why it is so important to create an image for yourself. I would definitely recommend it for anyone searching or developing their brand, I refer back to it ALL the time!
I hope this inspired you all to get out there and figure out your own personal brands! Happy branding!