by Natasha ZolotarevaIf you’re to stand out from the rest, distinct personal branding is crucial in this heavy statured market. Providing PR services to authors and thought leaders I know if your website looks like it was made in the 90s and your social accounts are “raw and authentic” but have no visual unity to them, the media is more likely to hesitate to feature you as an expert.I was lucky enough to catch up with the Creative Director of SimplyBe. Agency, Aleksa Narbutaitis, and get her thoughts on the visual aspect of personal branding and its importance for both individuals and businesses.For Aleksa, creativity is in her blood. Encouraged to embrace it throughout childhood, she played a major role in starting a successful business from the ground up. Then, joined forces with SimplyBe. founder Jessica Zweig, she’s helped shape the agency into the successful company it is today.First get clarity on your story, only then on visuals.Aleksa emphasizes the importance of regarding visual branding as one piece of a bigger whole and not a stand-alone process. This means when she starts working with an individual, her goal is to narrow down their preferences, tastes, characteristics, and experience, and clarify cohesive output that would be consistent though visuals,If you are going though the same process, creating your own brand, here are some questions you can ask yourself:What key pieces of your story do you want to tell?What do you want to be known for?What kind of people should this brand attract?As humans, we’re all visual creatures. So, brands need to be tailored to specific people and their preferences to be most effective when targeting a specific audience.Get intentional about your brand.Though it can be hard to measure the success of visual branding as such, Aleksa believes it’s possible to look to tangible examples here. This means the areas that really matter.This includes everything from your website and Instagram page to the business card you carry, and even what you wear during presentations! Visual branding infiltrates all of this and much more.Clarity and intent are crucial in attracting opportunity and audience. So, once you get your intended message right, you can begin to grow, with people catching on to what you’re doing.Now let’s get visual (even if you are not a designer).Developing a visual brand is quite a fun process. It’s pretty much like digging into the core of your being to bring out the essence. Here are few questions that can help:What are your tastes and preferences? Don’t stop at the first thing that comes to mind, dig deeper.What are some things you like and don’t like. Aspects of culture, foods, music, etc.Who are the thought leaders that you’re inspired by and want to take a page from?This information is then transferred to a mood board exploration, put together as collages of fonts, textures, colors, and feelings. This allows you to figure out which one of these venues you want to follow. These boards create the rest of the visual brand, so it’s an important exercise.Summarized, it’s a process of exploration, content, and refinement – all until you arrive at your ideal visual brand message.Aleksa’s Practical AdviceDecide what you do (and don’t) likeTrain your brain to notice your surroundings. Take inspiration from what you see. Take actual notes and photographs if needed.Become more aware of what you see on your way to work or on your night out, the photos you see when flicking through a magazine, the adverts on TV and any other means of visual branding.Don’t glance, pay attention to visuals in outdoor advertising, online ads and ask yourself why you think they chose itAlways start by drafting your vision on paper. If lacking drawing and pinging skills opt for a collage. Only then transfer it onlineSelect the right platform for your specific needs. Instagram doesn’t make sense for every industry – play to your strengths and go where your audience consumes content.Keep your website updated – it’s an essential online business card. As your brand evolves so should its visual representation.Link all your online channels together – encourage those on one to follow the other, make sure there is a visual cohesion between all. About the author Natasha Zolotareva: I’m a digital marketer, artist, and journalist and salsa enthusiast. For me all these career paths of mine boil down to one core interest: I love to meet people, discover stories that are worth sharing and help those people to be heard. I’ve helped many authors and entrepreneurs to score that Amazon bestseller title. Currently, I’m focused on building a PR agency for wellness thought leaders while dragging a slightly overweight suitcase around the globe.