Personal Branding 101 for Creatives feat. God’s Direction
Who am I? I am Onyinyechi Ogomaka, Media Marketing Enthusiast + Creative Storyteller using the light of God to impact the world. Now, if you would have asked me this a year ago, I would have just left you with my name. Back then, I didn’t fully understand who I was nor did I truly understand my purpose.
All I knew was that my destiny was greater than anything I could ever imagine or come up with. However, the reason I now have a better understanding of who I am is because I became more intentional in discovering my purpose. I wanted to have a better understanding of who God created me to be, so I decided to completely “self-brand.” This was a process that consisted of utter confusion, honest self-reflection, intensive soul-searching, taking chances, trial and error, and deliberate actions. Although challenging, it’s what has led me to become the creative that I am today.
With this article, I’d like to shed some light on the art of personal branding through lessons I’ve learned from my journey followed by a step-by-step guide. My hope is that by end of this, you are encouraged to embark on your own journey of identifying your mark in the world and taking the necessary actions to make it a reality.
GOD’S PLAYBOOK > MY PLAYBOOK
Growing up, I had a playbook for my entire life. First, the plan was to become a medical doctor, then it changed to me becoming a lawyer and a doctor, and after that, I wanted to just become a lawyer. At the time, these professions sounded very appealing, but I couldn’t think of a concrete answer as to why. Because I knew greatness was in my destiny, I assumed that I was supposed to choose a profession conventionally known as “great”… even if I never felt completely passionate about pursuing it.
In May 2017, a light bulb went off. I realized why I was trying to go after these professions that I clearly didn’t care for. Without knowing who I was, my sense of direction wasn’t clear… I was honestly winging it until I landed on something that felt right. It was time for me to be honest with myself and let God show me what I couldn’t see. I gave up my playbook, threw it in my brain’s trash pile, and said, “you know God, I’m done… I give up. Do with me what You will. I’m not living for me alone, I’m living for Your glory.”
It was time for me to discover exactly who I was created to be and exactly what I was created to do. Throughout May and June 2017, I was constantly self-reflecting and looking within myself while asking for God’s direction. I spent days writing about my gifts, abilities, passions, hobbies, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, impact on the people around me, social media presence…the whole nine. By the end of my soul-searching, I figured out what my brand or mark in this world is: I was a light electrified by God and placed in the world to bring joy to everyone near or far. It was my main and only purpose which already was reflected in my being and all the activities I was doing at the time. Although it was already apparent, my lack of introspection blinded me.
TAKING ACTION – BRANDING
Personal branding to me is like taking the idea of who you are and transforming it into tangible art for the world to see. My mentor + big sister Buku, suggested that I create a website to embody all that I am and showcase the work that I’ve done, but she didn’t give me much direction. Honestly, not having a complete set of directions mapped out for me was incredibly scary, but I’m thankful she did that. It pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and trust the creativity God gifted me with.
I spent the majority of my time researching other websites for inspiration while receiving guidance from God and Buku to build my site. Seeing the manifestation of the ideas I had in my head come to life on-screen was amazing! In between working on the different elements of my website, my friend Maryse created my logo and my friend Femi took photos of me that truly reflected my brand image to use on my site. It was important that everything I did aligned with the theme of my brand, so in addition to my website, I redesigned my resume and updated my social media accounts.
There was a TON of trial and error, confusion, tears, and irritation, but by the grace of God, on July 22, 2017, I took my discoveries, creatively polished them, and published my website: OnyinyechiCOgomaka.com.
TODAY – LIFE AFTER BRANDING
Discovering my purpose and acting on it has empowered me to pursue a career within creative marketing. This is a field that I feel most passionate about because I’ve figured out how my brand aligns with it. It allows me to use the light of God to impact the world through content creation and storytelling.
Branding myself has made navigating the professional world easier. I’ve had many employers ask me on the spot, “so who are you and what do you want to do?” Now I can effectively articulate and present who I am and what my purpose is without a second guess.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BRANDING YOURSELF
Your purpose is your brand.
Care for it. Cherish it. Love it. Let it shine.
STEP 1: BE HONEST. The only way for this guide to work is if you are 100% honest with yourself.
STEP 2: LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF. Find some alone time and get away from distractions. Use this time to self-reflect on who you are and what your purpose is. Some questions to ask yourself are (but are not limited to):
- Why do I get up in the morning?
- What are my gifts and how do I exercise them?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What do I like? What do I not like?
- What am I passionate about?
- How do I impact the people in my immediate circle? Outer circle? Strangers?
- What am I good at? Activities? Talents?
- What are my hobbies? Why do I do them?
- Why do I create?
- What do I want the world to know about me?
- What makes me different?
- Why am I special?
Note: Take time with this step and really dig deep.
STEP 3: GET SPECIFIC. Take your findings in Step 2 and narrow it down. Find the words and/or phrases to encompass the entirety of who you are and your purpose. Ask yourself, “how do I want the world to know who I am?”.
STEP 4: DEFINE YOUR MISSION STATEMENT. Transform the words and/or phrases from Step 3 into a personal mission statement. This will stand as your “tagline” or “catchphrase” for the world to associate you with. Stick to it and make sure everything you do relates back to that.
Here are a few iconic examples:
- Onyinyechi Ogomaka: using the light of God to impact the world.
- Nike: Just Do It.
- MIZIZI: Stay Rooted.
- McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ It.
- KFC: Finger Lickin’ Good.
STEP 5: LET’S GET TANGIBLE. If someone were to ask you what your brand is, what would you show them? Make your brand tangible! Create a space where anyone can find a representation of your brand. You can create a website, video, collage, dreamboard, or anything you’d like! Personally, I would suggest creating a website!
What are some items the website should include?
- Contact Information
STEP 6: REFLECT THE BRAND EVERYWHERE. Your brand should be reflected in everything you do online AND offline, whether that’s through your personal social media pages, email signatures, campus involvement, resume template, and in-person interactions.
STEP 7: ASK FOR FEEDBACK. Although this is a personal process, there’s no harm in asking someone you trust for their opinions. Take into consideration their comments, praises, and critiques, then act accordingly.
STEP 8: BE READY FOR CHANGE. As you evolve so does your brand. Don’t be afraid to rebrand and make some adjustments!
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN
I love personal branding because it’s all about you… only you can truly understand who you are + your purpose. I encourage you to tap into your awesomeness and get creative! Need more tips or just want to share your journey? Feel free to spark a conversation with me here. I’m all ears!