On Episode 438 of the Waves of Tech, we talk branding with Stephen A. Hart – Brand Alignment Strategist, host of the Trailblazers.FM podcast, and founder of Brand You Academy. In today’s digital workplace and economy, a personal brand is vital to the your success. We cover what branding means and why it really matters for you as an individual. A brand built on clarity, experience, and service is the ultimate goal. A host of technology resources are available to maximize your ability to create a lasting and memorable brand, such as colors, fonts, graphics, and a website. But don’t neglect task managers, organizational tools, and social media schedulers. Stephen shares personal stories and provides several tips to create a profitable and effective brand.
Stephen A Hart
Stephen is a rockstar in the branding, marketing, and podcast space. As a Brand Alignment Strategist and creator of Brand You Academy™ (6 week online course), he helps guide busy entrepreneurs and leaders through a proven process to build an amazing personal brand that is authentic, impactful, and profitable. Stephen hosts Trailblazers.FM™ – the #1 interview style podcast exploring stories of today’s successful black professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders.
“You can’t be jumping around in the ocean and expect to make an impact.” Stephen A Hart
Branding – What it means. How to figure it out. What really matters.
Personal branding is a key element of success in today’s digital marketplace and economy. Someone is Googling you, where you think they are or not. This means that you need to manage your digital footprint, take care of your brand, and focus on consistency is your message. One key takeaway is to embrace all these inputs discussed and integrate them into your overall brand strategy. Stephen encourages us to focus on a few items – clarity, experience, and service.
Clarity – define your audience and deliver a consistent message
- “If you confuse, you lose” is still relevant and must be considered in brand development
- Create a repeatable phrase that can be easily used and shared by yourself and audience
- When you develop that phrase, plaster it on your website, social media, and email list
Experience – branding has very little to do with your logo
- A personal and corporate brand is not only what you see on a website or on social media
- It’s more than striking graphics and catchy taglines. It’s about the experience.
- What experience are you creating for your audience?
- Consumers feel something when they interact with you
- This is often lost in the conversation of branding and customer retention
- Branding is about defining who you are serving, what needs are in the industry
- Moreover, it is about the solutions you bring to the table for clients
Service – creating and maintain a service-first mindset
- A service mindset will help you stay focused, centered, and profitable
- Professionals get lost in the daily routine of meeting with clients, taking the next account
- It should not be about pushing customers through the doors
- Your brand is too important to neglect a service oriented approach
- Focus on the needs of clients, serve them purposefully, create solutions that matter
- Your brand should be built on a healthy communication framework
Technology Needs to Effectively Brand in 2019
As we discussed, branding is so much more than a design, a logo, a graphic, or a catch phrase. But with that said, those brand elements are very significant to you and your company and should not be ignored. Consider using some of these technology tools and resources to create appealing designs, manage your tasks, and add dimensions to your overall corporate or personal brand. Ultimately, it’s about utilizing technology for effective branding.
- Color – brandcolors.net; use Hex codes for colors
- Fonts – Google Fonts (free fonts with licenses to use them)
- Assets – Canva (import colors and fonts; create unique designs)
- Adobe – suite of services such as PhotoShop and Audition
- Website – create your own website, do not bank on social media
- Email – build your email list today using MailChimp or ConvertKit
- Social Media Scheduler – options include Hootsuite, e-clincher, Meet Edgar
- Organization – Evernote, Google Drive, or OneDrive
- Task Management – Asana, Trello, or other management tool
- Voice – own your voice, utilize your voice to make a connection
Unique Challenges in Past Experiences
In Stephen’s corporate experience, many challenges surface when working with clients – both domestically and internationally. In his work for a global software company, understanding the cultural and regional elements of language, color, and expression can serve as hurdles to success. Some unique challenges he has experiences with other black professionals and entrepreneurs in the digital space is securing capital, income, and assets. In the corporate world, many find it difficult to find a seat at the table.
Branding Drives Business & Attention
Personal branding, a service-first mindset, and providing a positive and targeted experience assists with breaking through these challenges. Stephen has found that his podcast listening audience is now finding value in his branding academy, thus supporting him on numerous platforms.
Resources & Links