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The term personal brand is how you communicate who you are to the world, giving you authority or credibility in your industry for the things you want to be known for and then letting yourself be known for that. If you are an introverted entrepreneur who feels lost in the online space by other experts in your field, you need to put a strategic personal brand in place. This will give you clarity around the different pieces that make up your brand. Something I always say is that clarity equals confidence for introverts. Having clarity around your personal brand will help you stand out in the online space to be the unique and confident person you are.
Our guest on the podcast today is Salima Omwenga. She is a Brand Strategist and the founder of UFlourish, a brand consulting firm helping working professionals and entrepreneurs discover, develop, design, and deliver a strong and magnetic brand. The idea behind UFlourish began when she took a good look at her own life and budding career and wondered if she was going to keep going through the motions or dig deep, discover her unique value and purpose, and take control of her narrative so she can clearly communicate the value she brings and attract new career and business opportunities. Now she helps others do the same. When she isn’t working with her amazing clients, you can find her in the kitchen or chasing after her little dog Bentley.
In this episode, Salima and I dive into:
2020 was the year that Salima started in the branding space. She got into this space by putting a title to the things that she enjoyed. She worked as a financial aid representative at a college, helping with recruitment, and helping incoming students get the right footing as they started their college journey. Without realizing it, Salima would speak to those students about discovering their personal brand and using that to their advantage to maximize their college experience and leave a memorable impact on their peers, professors, and the campus community. This allowed them to come out of college with everything that they put in, or in other words, the narrative was in their hands.
Salima didn’t know to call this branding until 2020 as she was taking a look at her own life. She was going to college herself, trying to figure out what she wanted to do, focusing on her passions and what her purpose was in life, and that is where everyone should start. From describing and repeating those things back to herself, she realized that was what made her happy. She decided to take the leap of faith to start UFlourish and help in an official capacity. It has since expanded as she helps working professionals and entrepreneurs highlight those same things in their lives.
Do you think that your life is boring? Salima thought the same thing about her life, especially as TicTok started growing with all of the dancing and high-energy trends. That would never be her because she didn’t want to force herself to do things that weren’t authentic to who she was. She thought there would be no way to dominate the online space without being more extroverted but realized that she gravitated towards more calm and soft-spoken people, even as a consumer. She felt like she could open up a conversation with these kinds of people in a way that didn’t drain all of her energy. She believes that no one is boring. No one is for everyone, and that realization has helped her use social media and her platform to attract an audience that relates to her.
There will be someone out there who will be for you because everyone is different. Even if you don’t think you are unique, someone may find a combination of unique things about you. If you like coffee and making candles, there may be few people with those two same characteristics who can relate to you. As Salima says, you are a composition of so many different things, and although the individual things are ordinary, the combination of the two makes you unique.
There are two important tips for branding your business as you are getting started. The first is to find ‘your why.’ Salima is extremely intentional about ensuring that her prospective and current clients don’t rush this process because your ‘why’ is the most important thing connected to everything else in your brand. Another tip is to start journaling and finding prompts to help you discover who you are and why you are the way you are. A journal full of prompts that have been super helpful for Salima is called, The Story of My Life by Piccadilly. These prompts take you through your whole life to get your juices flowing and thinking about the things that have brought you joy or stressed you out while helping you understand what your values are, where you are most effective, and where you are most at peace. Brain dumping these things down on paper allows you to grasp who you used to be and who you are trying to become on your journey, like a roadmap to where you want to go.
Entrepreneurs or service providers all seem to talk about their clients, work, or offers. Somewhere down the line, it was communicated to people that you would attract more clients if you showed how busy you are or how much money you are generating from your offers. Who knows where that came from, but it isn’t an accurate depiction of everything behind closed doors. Authenticity is super essential and matters so much. Your client deserves to know you on a more holistic level instead of how you are when they pay for your services. When you decide to work with someone, you want to get to know them, their hobbies, and what makes them an interesting person, not just their skills.
That’s the key to brand loyalty. Make sure that your audience sees you as somebody they can call a friend, and showing that you are way more than just your service will help them connect to you or refer you to people, even if they haven’t worked with you. People will see you are way more memorable when you show other sides of yourself. A great quote by Howard Shultz that goes along the lines of this is if people share the same values or people connect with you, they will stay loyal to you.
There are two parts to this answer of brand aesthetic importance for your personal brand. Consistency is important, but being matchy-matchy isn’t so much. In terms of consistency, everyone should be remembered for something visually. It could be a particular color, a particular pattern, something like your image quality, or the composition of your images. This doesn’t mean, as Salima mentions, that everyone needs the same cookie-cutter templates or presets, but your aesthetic, your feed, or Instagram page should reflect some consistent element that you want your brand to be known for.
If it is something that overwhelms you, then it isn’t required at all for consistency. You can still grow your page without it, but just make sure that what you are putting out there reflects what you want your brand to be known for. If you don’t care that you have red, green, yellow, and blue in the same line and the same grid, that’s fine, but is your brand that scattered? Is your brand that colorful? Great. It’s consistent, but if you are doing that just because you’re unsure, there are ways where you can create a more cohesive feel. If you are doing it because you don’t care, that’s another thing. Definitely find your comfort in creating something that you can execute consistently.
There are the non-visual and visual elements of your brand. A good rule of thumb is to start with your non-visual first because that is something Salima did last. She first began with her visual elements, which gave her a brand identity crisis. Yes, she had her logo, but what was her mission, or what did she want to do?
This is something that Salima is really passionate about, showing people through her story why it’s best to go the other way around and start with non-visuals before going straight into the visual aspects of branding. When she went backward, the visual elements just came naturally.
Salima dropped so many knowledge bombs today on cultivating your own personal brand, whether you are a working professional or an entrepreneur. She shared how she began to change the title of the things she enjoyed in life and how that led her to become a brand strategist, how to show up as a personal brand, being uniquely you, the top branding tips to incorporate when you are just starting your business, creating deeper, more meaningful connections with your audience online, your brand aesthetic online and does it matter for your personal brand and the elements of a brand and how to integrate them into your own personal brand.
[1:15] Salima’s reframing of things she enjoys and how that triggered her to become a brand strategist
[4:55] Being afraid that your life too is too boring for branding and being uniquely you
[10:28] The top branding tips for anyone who is just starting their own business
[15:36] Surface level connections and deeper meaningful connections online
[19:33] Your brand’s aesthetic on Instagram and its importance to your personal brand
[22:32] The elements of a brand and how to implement them into your brand
If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a screenshot and tag me on your Instagram stories @introvertcoach and tell me your biggest takeaway!
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