Creating a Personal Brand

By Alana McCleese, Managing Editor of AIMC Fall 2022

I had a vision when I designed my creative brief in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Fall of 2021. I wanted to create a personal brand that felt very "Alana" - it needed to align with my values and goals, express my aesthetics and design taste, and support my future career direction. Although I only had one academic quarter to ideate and execute my brand, I am so happy with what I created. My original branding served as a jumping-off point; I continuously edit and improve my brand elements and website design to better match where I'm at in my educational and professional journey.


As everyone knows, the creative process is extremely difficult and time-consuming. It's daunting to start a quarter knowing you will have to create a personal brand with a creative brief, creative strategy, and website in 3 months.

I struggled throughout the process, but especially with writing my first words in the creative brief. One of the first elements you encounter in the creative brief is brand purpose, a daunting and vast concept. I had to summarize all my values and dreams into a concise mission statement describing how I will contribute to the world. As Dan Purdy advised, just writing something is better than nothing - once you just get words on the page, things start flowing and you can begin the iterative process of content creation.

Special interests

I wanted to include my Psychology and social justice interests in my brand, but my first attempt lacked direction and positivity. My main idea was that business industries lack social science-based, human-oriented, and culturally conscious values in their practices.

Later versions of my creative brief emphasized my background in social psychology and my unique perspective as a Latina in a white-male-dominated industry. I wanted to use these elements to ensure marginalized consumers are both "seen and heard", pointing out racial quotas and performative activism in for-profit industries that have the sole goal of making money.

I also included a wide variety of women of color in my brand imagery, something that I still utilize today in my creative direction as the Art Director of a Port Townsend-based holistic women’s health boutique. I think it is important to uplift and show examples of all types of women in spaces traditionally dominated by white men.

In psychology, seeing positive examples of a social group can help decrease implicit bias, the automatic associations or "blind spots" people have based on an individual's membership in a group. Implicit bias lives deep within all of us; we must bring light to the inequity that women of color face and the hurdles they must overcome, especially in male-dominated fields like marketing.


The creative process is iterative. In this class, I solidified my understanding of using criticism to improve my work. I embraced the unknown and chased uncertainty by sharing my creative work with others, asking for suggestions, and doing research on other brands I love. Through this iterative editing process, I improved my creative brief so much, eventually reaching what it is today.

I saw the most improvement in my people, problem, and creative elements sections. My first draft did not create an accurate enough "customer" profile - I was unsure who my customer was, what problem they had, and how I could help solve that problem.

My creative elements were lacking; I used my logo as a header, but only mentioned my tagline and brand colors once, which did not create a "feeling" of my brand. My final creative brief made these elements into more stylized version. It had a consistent feel throughout, where my purpose, problem, and branding became one.

The evolution of my creative brief

images of Alana's creative brief


Taking IMC was one of the most important and formative experiences for me in my marketing career at WWU. I learned so much about myself through the creative process - my values, goals, and contributions are now clear and tangible as I am ending my time as an undergrad student and moving into a new phase in my life.

Doing this exploratory and personal work made my brand stronger and gives me an advantage now when applying for jobs and graduate programs. If you have a strong brand identity, it will be obvious to anyone seeing your website, resume, or portfolio that you are passionate about your work and would be a valuable addition to any organization.

Use your branding everywhere! Get a future employer's attention on LinkedIn, make a portfolio on Instagram, or get creative on YouTube. Future-you will be grateful.