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5 Steps to Create Your Personal Brand!

Having built corporate brands for more than 30 years, I started helping people create their personal brands several years ago.


I find it’s important to begin the process by understanding the definition of a brand. A brand is the face presented to the market. It is the intangible sum of all the brand’s attributes - its name, packaging, history and reputation. A “personal brand” humanizes a brand by focusing on your voice, content, style and substance with the goal of creating an image that propels you forward whether in your personal or professional life.



Step 1) Build a Mood Board


Building a brand has evolved. When I was building the brand for my new website to support the book I recently completed, we began with a mood board of brand attributes. These can include word or phrases along with images. While you can create a draft of your mood board on Pinterest, I like to work with a graphic/web designer regardless of how I may implement my personal brand. A designer can help fine-tune your board to the most relevant qualities.


Step 2) Determine Your Brand Attributes

Brand attributes are a series of words or phrases that position you in the minds of your audiences that, over time, can be repeated back to you. These attributes should reflect the overall way you present yourself. For example, my brand attributes are classic, elegant, polished, exciting, chic.


Step 3) Develop Your Key Messages

The next step is the development of your key messages. These messages should be part of your correspondence when pitching yourself for a job and should regularly be a part of your social media program. I use my key messages as part of my bio. This is when you might want to employ the help of a friend who is a professional writer, particularly in the PR field.


I like to start with a primary message that includes my brand attributes and defines who I am. For example, read the following sentence:


Karla Trippe is an elegant and polished woman who presents herself in a classic yet chic style which supports her years of experience in building strategies for individuals and businesses accomplished through research and introspection and delivered with excitement that motivates her clients.


From here I add a few important sentences about my accomplishments such as:


Karla Trippe is a marketing strategist, a communications and branding expert, published writer and public servant. She has launched more than 50 products worldwide during her career.

Karla’s most recent book, “Scenes from the Valley,” tells the story of the many hurdles women had to overcome in attempting to reach the executive suite in 1990s Silicon Valley.


Step 4) Write Your Brand Story

Your brand story should be 2-4 short paragraphs which tells your story in a way that reflects your brand personality. It includes your key messages but expands the messages into a storyline this unique and interesting. It should reflect your attributes either in words or in visuals as a creative writer might do.


Take time to think about the audience for your brand story. Is this a professional or personal target? How do you plan to reach this target? My story is designed to support my professional writing career.


For example:


Karla Trippe is a marketing strategist, a communications and branding expert, published writer and public servant. She has launched more than 50 products worldwide during her career. Her strategies are developed using proven methodologies, research and introspection and delivered with excitement that motivates her clients, Karla ran Trippe & Company, a marketing and communications consulting firm, from 1998 to 2014, specializing in working with startups in emerging markets. Her clients included VCs and companies in the security technology and Internet of Things space. During this time, Trippe also was the contributing design editor of Colorado Springs Style. Karla’s most recent book, Scenes from the Valley, tells the story of the many hurdles women had to overcome in attempting to reach the executive suite in 1990s Silicon Valley.


During her career, Karla served on the Silverthorne (Colorado) Town Council, as vice chair of the Silverthorne Planning Commission and chaired the Summit County Telecommunications Consortium. Additionally, Karla sat on the board of directors for Evocative Inc., a colocation and managed services company based in Emeryville, California, which had a highly successful exit in 2013.


Karla is an elegant and polished woman who presents herself in a classic yet chic style which supports her successful speaking program. She has spoken on “Building Brand Value Though Intellectual Asset Management” and “Designing Valuable Brand Strategies” at many advertising, PR and finance events nationwide.


While my professional bio is much longer, I like to keep my brand story to the most important elements necessary to engage my target audience of literary agents and entertainment lawyers.

Now compare your brand story to your personal website or your resume. Does it seem cohesive or disjointed? Then go back and look at your attributes and brand story. Perhaps you have left out something important such as your passions. Remember, you want to show all your qualities to a future employer or the person you will spend your life with.


Step 5) Implement Your Brand Into Everything You Do


This is when your personal brand comes alive. Start by looking at your attributes while you are staring into your closet. One of my attributes is “classic” and you can see that in the way I dress. You can also see it in professional photos as well as how my graphic designer implemented my brand attributes visually.





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