How does a Little Black Dress school you in the art of personal branding? The art of personal branding, like fashion, is understanding where, when, and how to present yourself online. We’ve got 7 lessons for leaving a lasting impression with your brand.
Dress To Express
There’s a time and place for every facet of your brand.
Just as every fashion aficionado knows, the allure of the LBD lies not just in its timeless elegance, but also in its adaptability. But remember, just as there’s no such thing as one outfit for every occasion, there’s also no such thing as an ever-green one-size-fits-all branded content post for every platform online.
In our AI world, we need to move beyond branding to Content Styling.
While an LBD can be the star at a cocktail party, it’s not the best choice for a day at the beach. Similarly, while a specific branding strategy might work wonders on one platform, it might fall flat on another.
Here’s how to style your brand – illustrated by the classic tale of Jane’s Little Black Dress.
Jane’s Little Black Dress
Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and meet a lovely woman named Jane.
You get chatting after admiring her gorgeous black dress she’s appreciative and warm in response. As you continue chatting you discover you have a few things in common because of this she feels like someone you know. There’s familiarity and comfort in that.
After an uplifting exchange you say goodbye the next day, as you’re coming out of a gym class, you suddenly spot Jane!
You instantly recognize her because strangely she’s still wearing the same black dress as the night before.
“Hey Jane!” you say.
Jane is her same charming lovely self.
Later that evening, at the entrance to the movie theater, you see Jane again and again she’s wearing the same black dress. Now it’s just odd.
Jane graciously greets you and warmly embraces you but you can’t help but wonder, what’s up with Jane?
We wear different outfits for different occasions the metaphor of this story on social media is dress appropriately for the platform you’re on.
Every social platform is a different environment this means: don’t use identical content or dress like Jane on Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram. It’s overkill.
Social media isn’t traditional media so we don’t want to see the same advert blasted on a billboard; in a magazine; newspaper ;as a pop-up on a website, and hear their exact same words on the radio. It’s like speaking to someone who repeats the same story over and over again. It’s boring and off-putting.
Variety is the spice of life! Give your content a twist – add some flavor to make it metaphorically tasty.
You don’t need to repeat your brand message like an Andy Warhol can of soup to get brand consistency.
Part 2: An Alternative Version
In this version of the story scenario you meet lovely Jane in her little black dress at a cocktail party and when you see her the next day at the gym she’s in workout gear but she totally ignores you and dismisses your hello with a cold shoulder. This would be disconcerting at best and upsetting at worst.
You had a connection and now you’re being ghosted. You wouldn’t feel connected to Jane unless you’re prone to trauma bonding in which case you may try to date her! (kidding – that’s just me.)
Later if you saw her again outside a movie theater wearing jeans and a t-shirt and she rushed up to embrace you; picked you up to spin you around and squealed with joy it would be a bizarre reaction.
Hot and cold is confusing.
The point of this version of the story is that even if she’s dressed right for the occasion but her personality is different you’d feel confused about the connection.
Our brand messages must have a golden thread of Brand Personality that run through on every platform.
So even though their appearances may vary – or they’re styled differently – their tone of voice and vibe must be consistent.
This is why Activating Your Creative Genius plays such a pivotal role in cultivating a holistic 360-degree brand personality AND why your visuals and stories often shift, change, grow, and evolve over time BUT the heartbeat of your brand remains the same.
Your “Jane” with her Heart of Gold shines no matter the occasion, no matter what she wears.
For the purposes of your Instagram platform, Jane is dressed for success.
Instagram is more magazine cover than your family Barbecue snapshot picture and that’s why you need high resolution photos, gorgeous presets for filters and some tender loving care to prep each one to picture-perfect perfection. It’s a curated feed your own virtual art gallery of delightful inspiration. It’s Jane and a little black dress with heels, lipstick and accessories. Or is it?
When you create your social style to flow your row on Instagram you’re dressing your page from top to bottom as you would when you’re getting dressed. You’ll carefully select your items from your shoes right up to your hair accessories and everything in between. From the color scheme; patterns; boldness of print; textures; layers, and number of accessories all play into the overarching style.
Maybe you’ll decide to stick to a super minimalistic monochromatic look and feel. You’ll add white borders to each picture and when you post quotes they may be in small black font on an expensive white background, stripped down to the bare essentials. A clean Sleek look and feel.
Or you might decide to go bright, bold, and beautiful, and completely fill each post on your page.
Your Instagram page is not unlike getting dressed, and if you do decide to change your row flow, it’s just like changing your outfit.
There is no right or wrong style. Your content styling is self-determined but your brand personality must be consistent. Your brand personality will manifest itself not only in your visual collection but also in all your captions. And brand personality comes from activating your creative genius. That’s how you’ll discover the Art in your Heart to create your ACE content (Artistic Connected Expression) and stand out online.
7 Lessons from Jane’s Little Black Dress
#1 Adaptability to Context:
Tailor your content or branding to the specific platform or medium you’re using. Like how Jane’s cocktail dress isn’t right for every occasion, the same content may not be apt across all platforms.
#2 Consistency in Brand Personality:
While the style or presentation may vary across platforms, the underlying essence or personality of the brand should remain steady and recognizable.
#3 Avoid Repetitiveness:
Over-repetition, like the recurring sight of the same dress in different contexts, can be monotonous and odd. Similarly, broadcasting identical content across platforms can wear out an audience’s interest and be off-putting.
#4 Maintain Authentic Connections:
Changing behavior, as Jane did when she snubbed and later embraced warmly, can be disorienting. In branding, maintaining a genuine and consistent connection with your audience is essential.
#5 Holistic Presentation Matters:
How you visually present your brand (like pairing your outfit with select accessories) matters, especially on visually-centric platforms like Instagram.
#6 Evolution with Consistency:
Brands, like fashion, evolve. However, any changes or shifts should be consistent with the brand’s core personality and identity.
#7 Time and Place:
Recognizing the right moment and setting for your brand’s presentation is vital. Like the Little Black Dress, which isn’t suited for every place at every time, your branding efforts should align with the context, time, and environment to achieve maximum impact.
4 Direct Branding Benefits From Content Styling
#1 Effective Brand Recognition:
By tailoring content to specific platforms while maintaining a consistent brand personality, you ensure that your audience recognizes and connects with your brand, no matter where they encounter it.
#2 Trust and Reliability:
A consistent brand personality builds trust. When consumers know what to expect from your brand, they’re more likely to engage with it and remain loyal.
Following these content styling principles ensures that your brand stands out. In a digital space flooded with content, a clear, consistent, and adaptable personal brand can differentiate you from competitors or others in your niche.
#4 Maximizing Engagement:
By adapting your content to fit the platform while retaining your brand’s essence (or personality), you increase the likelihood of resonating with and engaging your target audience. E.g.: A well-curated Instagram feed attracts followers who appreciate the consistent aesthetic and messaging.
- Row Flow: This is about maintaining consistency in your Instagram feed, ensuring each post complements the others on the page. Create your own Row Flow with the Content Stylist course from Create Business Academy.
- Activate Your Creative Genius: This training is the cornerstone of our branding strategy. Dive deeper into it and create your own Brand Bible or contact our sister agency Malva Media to do it for you.
- Visual Collection: A step beyond mood boards, a visual collection provides holistic visual concepts for your brand. See more in this blog about Content Styling here and Personal Branding for Themed Offices and Photoshoots here. To create your own, get the Content Stylist course from Create Business Academy.