How has personal brand building changed over the years in a world of transformative new marketing fads like “That Girl,” “Coastal Granddaughter,” and more dominating the internet?
Before Social Media
In the eighties, teens would cut out clippings from Teen Beat and Bop and mount them on their bedroom walls until no wallpaper was left uncovered. In the early years of the Y2K, teenagers took to cutouts from Teen Vogue and Seventeen, plastering them on high school binders and the insides of lockers, proudly proclaiming to the world at large exactly what type of kid they were. Punk, Prep, Goth, Hipster– the words may change, but the throughline idea remains the same. Young people from every generation are adamant about proclaiming their personal brand and identity.
While Instagram indeed dominated the last decade as the Social Media App of choice, times have taken an interesting turn. Instead of getting their inspiration from peers and influencers on the photo-sharing app, flocks of young people have jumped ship and ended up in an unlikely internet sector. One once previously inhabited in majority by moms looking to plan a neat little craft… Pinterest.
The purpose of the app, however, has shifted. While new accounts are being created rapidly, the intent of Pinterest users seems to have pulled the photo-sharing mindset away from apps like Instagram, where posting about your current look was the focus, to a world where the simple act of planning your look takes center stage. With this shift, the entire purpose of social media has begun to change. Users aren’t just participating online to be social; they’re using it to curate their own personal brands. So now, people are leaving these older platforms and going to spaces where they can create their own image for themselves… and market it as the new “it” look.
Aesthetics, trends, and their Influence on Personal Image
Like past decades of “Punk” and “Prep,” there’s now a new wave of sub-genres for people to market themselves within. Having gotten their start on Pinterest, thousands of boards labeled “Becoming That Girl,” “Cottagecore,” “Clean Girl Aesthetic,” and similarly titled collages dominate the space.
If you don’t know what these terms mean, that’s ok. Because ultimately, this terminology will only be with us for a short time. They will come and go with the current trends, constantly ebbing and flowing as the youth of each generation creates new ways to express themselves. But the idea remains the same. Now, with the added sprinkling of a “personal brand.”
These Pinterest boards are meant to be a vision board of sorts of what their creators want to be— a plan for the way they’re going to market themselves going forward. Taking inspiration from multitudes of different aesthetics and fashion niches, there are almost too many “types” for a person to choose from. Each new name for an aesthetic has its own brand, and people love latching onto them. So instead of putting images from a magazine up on the walls of their room, people are doing it with Pinterest.
The hopeful result of these meticulously curated collections is that, if all goes according to plan, the amalgamation of these photos will be how the world perceives them.
And by golly, it worked.
The Power of a Strong Personal Brand- Marketing and Profitability
Hoards of TikTok creators have taken their hard work planning their personal marketing on Pinterest to the next level, becoming poster girls for each newly named aesthetic.
Because of this, just about anyone can be an influencer nowadays. In the nineties, brands wouldn’t reach out to you and ask you to promote their product unless you were on a hit show like FRIENDS. But now, with everyday people making a mark on the world of aesthetics and trends, the focus has been pulled away from big names and onto small innovative creators. These creators have expertly tuned themselves into a brand with no big studios backing them.
And brands have eaten it up.
The likelihood of an ad for a company to contain buzzwords like “Cottagecore” or “Fairy Grunge” to sell their products is astronomically high. Many brands use these newly named aesthetics to sell their books, home decor, skincare, and clothes. Even Cosmopolitan got in on the action.
Sales had skyrocketed for Ugg Ultra Minis (a boot that before was getting little to no attention), simply because supermodel Bella Hadid wore them. But, funnily enough, it wasn’t Hadid sporting the look that sold the boots. Instead, it was creators on TikTok who pushed the rise of that style of shoe, as they dubbed Miss Hadid as the blueprint for the highly coveted “model-off-duty” look.
Companies wanting to market to impressionable young audiences don’t need celebrities anymore. They have the entire population of young consumers marketing their stock themselves. To put it plainly, kids have gotten so good at marketing themselves that huge brands are taking notes, and using their lingo to market their own brands, too. These young entrepreneurs have revolutionized how we view marketing on a small and grand scale. Celebrity and notoriety are almost to a place of not mattering anymore. Now, all you need to make a mark on the eCommerce world is a commitment to the bit.
Showcase Your Brand- K6 Digital’s Approach
If niche brand awareness has taken hold of the internet, where does that leave your company?
Almost every consumer uses digital channels in all or part of their buying decisions. Because of this, your website needs to look professional, up-to-date, and accurately convey the message of your business, or customers won’t take you seriously or be interested in what you’re selling. Plenty of brands are doing it exactly right. They have found their niche and what “subgenre” of consumers to market towards and exploded these niches into a booming revenue of content and profit. For this reason, your content HAS to be compelling, too, so that you engage your visitors and they trust you enough to reach out to you. With us, there are specific steps we take to ensure results for your company’s brand.
Listen: We at K6 Digital want to meet with key members of your team to hear your story. We’ll work to understand your market, aesthetic, value, proposition, and brand — and determine a website plan to help you reach your goals.
Test: We’ll run user tests on your current site to learn what’s working (and what’s not). If you don’t have a website, we’ll test those of your closest competitors.
Plan: We’ll plan the website’s content, overall graphical design, and technology. It’ll be seamless, slick, and perfectly represent your brand’s message.
Design: Our in-house team of graphic artists will design the site using industry-leading and proprietary tools and methodologies.
Develop: Our in-house team of programmers will develop the “back-end” of the site, ensuring that it delivers the best user experience possible.
Re-Test: Before the site launches, we will test it thoroughly, tweaking things as necessary and working out any bugs that may come up along the way.
Commitment- Brand Awareness’s Biggest Asset
When it comes down to brass tacks, if you want to thrive in the rapidly changing social world, the most important thing you can do is decide to commit. Jump feet first into your niche– people are itching for it. Fill the hole in your consumers’ lives they didn’t even know they had. Be what customers had no idea they were missing. The solution to the problem they didn’t recognize they had.
The “Clean Girl” aesthetic–a popular trend on the rise– refers to a niche where the person does lots of yoga, drinks green juices, and prioritizes long, expensive skincare routines. Because of this, if someone wanted to embody this aesthetic, there’s an idea that they HAVE to buy certain products. Nobody knew they needed that! But brands have milked it dry, pushing their products as essential items for particular looks, and have sold a plethora of products off the shelves just from their association with these new aesthetics.
Sell your niche well, do it confidently, and in no time, you’ll be trending on TikTok and obsessively pinned on Pinterest, too. The power of commitment can not be understated here.
By committing to revamping your site or building it from the ground up, you can guarantee results for you and your company. K6 Digital wants to take you to those results. Send us a message with the details of your project or idea, and a member of our team will get in touch right away.