Meet Jane McKay, a marketing consultant who spends her days creating powerful personal brands for women who want to create an impactful business that changes lives.
Armed with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Media & Communications, Jane worked her way from Junior Copywriter to Marketing Manager in a range of roles in corporate Melbourne until 2009 when she and her husband made a tree-change to the sunny wilds of Bruthen, East Gippsland in Victoria, and Jane McKay Communications was born.
Harnessing all she’d learned in her corporate career, her original plans to ‘just’ be a freelance copywriter soon transformed into delivering copywriting, content creation, print design, website design, social media, and marketing strategies. And after almost 15 years in marketing, her evolution continues today.
In 2020, there’s a great need to hire a designer, a copywriter, a website designer, a graphic designer, a social media strategist, a marketing strategist, and a content coach to make headway with your business online. Jane does it all with a holistic and comprehensive branding and marketing solution that enables her clients to feel completely aligned with their brand, convert dream clients into high income and raving fans.
I invited Jane to the Spotlight Series to share her best tips and nuggets of wisdom for creating a powerful personal brand that connects and converts.
What is “personal branding” to you?
Personal branding is about perception: it’s what people feel when they think of you and how you operate in business. It’s the way they talk about you, recommend you and recall you.
We can talk about colours, fonts, and logos but really – personal branding is a feeling.
What are the benefits of building a personal brand?
People will remember who you are before they remember your business’ name.
When you are building a personal brand, that’s the only brand you need to focus on building, and it’s the only thing that clients and potential clients need to remember when they recommend or Google you.
Why is building a solid personal brand important for digital entrepreneurs and small business owners?
When we run our own businesses we are our business and in-turn its spokesperson, its social media voice, and we dictate the messaging, the promotion, the mission and the vision.
Every element of our business is a reflection of who we are. Whether you are actively creating a personal brand or not, you are still a brand!
What are the essentials to building a powerful personal brand that attracts, connects, and converts ideal clients?
The key to building a powerful personal brand is that you need to feel authentically aligned with your brand. If you don’t, you’re giving out all the wrong messages – visually and in your actual messaging – to your clients and in turn, attracting and connecting the wrong clients for you.
At its core, personal branding is all about perception.
When you build a brand, you are creating the way that you would like to be perceived by your dream clients.
I’ve found that when a business owner:
- authentically shows up to market the business,
- develops and speaks with their own ‘voice’,
- aligns completely with what the business is offering the world and knows its value,
They instantly attract, connect with, and convert dream clients.
And you can do it too!
What hinders the effectiveness or really doesn’t work when it comes to establishing a Personal Brand?
The 2 key things I see that hinder effective personal branding is a lack of alignment with who the person is and how cohesively that brand is executed.
- Your brand needs to deliver a cohesive branding experience to your clients and potential clients or you will lose the crucial know, like, and trust factors in an instant.
- If your brand doesn’t feel authentic and aligned, you won’t feel the love. You will feel like you’re faking it the whole time and, quite frankly, it’s exhausting!
Is personal branding important even if you are part of a company/have a business name that isn’t your own name?
Personal branding is important for everyone in any business!
Even if you are running your business under a company brand, consciously or unconsciously, you are still creating a personal brand. No matter your business, people buy from people. We are humans above all else and this human connection creates the know, like, and trust factors which inspire people to engage, connect, and buy!
Conversely, if I see someone online being unkind or not in line with my own values, I will note not to buy from their company. It’s a two-way-street whether you have a personal brand or not.
What needs to be considered before changing from trading under a business name to your own name?
One of the key things when considering creating a personal brand is whether you will ever want to sell your business. If you want to sell your business and it’s completely under the banner of your name, obviously this will be a strong barrier to sale.
When someone wants to move from business branding to personal branding, what does that redevelopment and transition process look like?
The simplest transition is simply a name change, a design of a branding suite, and a re-design of collateral and website – but it’s rarely that simple!
Obviously the journey is individual for everyone, depending on where they’re at in their business. The reflection and re-framing that comes at the start of the process can bring up a lot of emotions about how people feel about their business.
I work closely with my clients to gain clarity about what they want to feel about their business and what they’re trying to achieve so that I can create a brand that meets their goals and feels aligned to them.
When do you feel it is necessary for a business to initiate a re-brand?
When it’s time for a re-brand or a brand refresh, often clients report they feel that they’ve “out-grown” their brand.
Their business has run successfully for a few years, but now they want to attract and engage a different cohort of clients, and their branding just isn’t doing its job.
What should people consider before re-branding?
Before re-branding think about the elements of your brand that are most recognisable including:
Retain those in your ‘new’ brand.
You don’t want to lose all the brand integrity you have built over the time you used your ‘old’ brand. It has big value!
Then develop a changeover strategy and timeline.
Communicate the change to your audience during the process, give them sneak peeks, ask for feedback, bring them along on the journey with you! I have seen clients transition successfully to a new brand very successfully using this audience participation approach.
How important is Messaging and Mission in personal branding?
Your messaging and your mission are crucial elements of any brand. They are the foundation of the feeling that your clients have when they think about your brand.
If you’re thinking about building a personal brand, consider adapting your messaging and mission to really speak to your “ideal client” and how you want them to think and feel about your brand.
When you do a marketing audit, what things stand out when a personal brand isn’t working well?
A red flag for me is when clients don’t feel proud of their brand.
In my opinion, you should be completely and utterly in love with your brand and want to share it everywhere!
Your personal brand should feel completely aligned with who you are. When it doesn’t, I’ve noticed that clients avoid putting their brand and themselves out there which negatively impacts their business growth.
Do you have some go-to shortcuts, hacks, or must-haves for keeping branding consistent?
Consistency is the key to a building a powerful personal brand.
No matter whether you have a professionally designed brand or are DIYing the process, to ensure your brand is delivering a cohesive brand experience to your clients, I recommend that you consistently use the same:
- and voice.
What are your top 3 tips for anyone wanting to DIY their personal branding?
- Canva is the design program of choice for anyone wanting to DIY their brand. However, bear in mind that non-exclusive logos created in Canva cannot be trademarked. If you intend to trademark your logo, use only elements that you’ve created yourself or commissioned directly from a designer.
- Be different! We all have branding crushes but try not to be so much like your crush that you end looking like everybody.
- Consistency is the key to building a powerful personal brand. No matter whether you’re an amateur or a professional, create a style guide for brand and stick to it!
You can also come and check out my DIY Marketing Program to get hands-on support building your brand – without the price tag!
What are your top 3 recommendations to anyone wanting to outsource their personal brand development?
- Do your research. Find a designer whose designs you just love and ask them for a (most often free) clarity call to ensure you’re a good fit. Branding is a personal process and can be quite an emotional journey. You want to work with a designer you can have a really fantastic, open, honest relationship with.
- Develop a clear brief. All designers have their own briefing process but if you’ve done some research ahead of time, your designer will love you hard. Have a look around the interwebs or go down the Pinterest rabbit hole and find random colours and design elements that speak to you. It helps us designers understand your visual language and get clear from the outset.
- Don’t be scared to hurt your designer’s feelings. We put our heart and soul into every design but we’re totally used to criticism. It’s part of our job! When you do offer criticism, be constructive. Don’t just say “I don’t like that colour.” Instead, think of why you don’t like it and how you could improve it and communicate that with the critique. It makes our job a lot easier!
How do you help business owners build a powerful personal brand that grows their business?
You are your brand! When you get it right, a personal brand takes your inner light and shines it out for the whole world to see. Every single piece of marketing collateral needs to be in alignment with that. Once your branding is aligned, you will glow with pride to show up with your offering and take your place in your industry.
I just love working with clients to build every element of their personal brand. I want my clients to feel ready to up-level and take on the world because they feel completely aligned with their personal brand.
Together with my clients, we work on their brand and logo design, brand voice and messaging, every element of their online presence, and devise a bespoke personal branding blueprint to grow their brand with ease.
Find out more about building a personal brand at janemckaycommunications.com.au.
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