Creating a Personal Brand as an Entrepreneur and Employee

Post created by Clay Ashworth, Product Manager (Applied IMC, Fall 2022)

Pre-Personal Brand

Before taking IMC in the summer of 2022, I tried to grow my brand as a photographer by solely showcasing my work. On the surface this is all I knew and what I was taught from others. Constantly reaching out to brands for work hoping they would like my style and would hire me. The problem was they knew nothing about me and my vision, all I had was my work to show and they didn’t know who they were hiring as a person/brand. It makes sense why this wasn’t successful –– what if my values don’t match theirs? What if our visions don’t match? These were questions that are highly dependent on whether I’d be a good fit or not.

I began to think about other situations where this applies, and the same idea goes for being hired by a company. Yes, you may have impressive work and experience, but how do companies know if you’re a good addition to the team? They won’t know. Going into an interview, you want to open up about yourself and show who you really are instead of relying on someone to take a chance on you. You must build trust and start a connection to help you become preferable over the competition.

Creating a Personal Brand

During my entire marketing journey, this was my favorite thing to learn and do. It allowed me to express my creativity and really start showcasing myself as a person –– it also allowed me to learn more about myself and vocalize my values and what I stand for. In this process, it gave me more confidence. In my experience, confidence comes from preparation and knowledge. Especially if you know yourself.

The tool used to create my personal brand was a creative brief. My interpretation of a creative brief is “blueprinted creativity.” My creative brief strategy was to build something that opens me up and dives deeper into who I am as a person and brand. Within that, I wanted to show what differentiated me. My goal was to have my brand and personality interchangeable; this builds trust. I took my brand values and did exactly that:

  • Success
  • Patience
  • Genuity
  • Respect
  • Hard Work

I decided to create my creative brief as an entrepreneurial perspective because this will give me more value as someone who is also trying to be employed. I hit two birds with one stone, displaying myself as a brand is also interchangeable when pursuing a career in the job market.

Evolution of My Brand

Before taking IMC, I tried to create my brand with little knowledge and effort on how to do it effectively. You can see the difference in my first website and my second –– moving from focus on displaying work to displaying myself as a brand. Let’s look at both:

Before (1st website)

landing page image with multiple images in white boxes

You can see that this is only a “surface” level display of myself, it really doesn’t showcase myself at all, just work. This is the one thing I wanted to change.

After (2nd website)

website landing page with photo of Clay looking away from the camera and blue sky background

You can see the progress; this is much more about me and what I can do for you –– not just a gallery. It shows my face, my tagline, and value proposition. Right away you can find out a little bit about me. Big leaps from my first attempt!


Through learning how to create a personal brand and actually doing it, it’s important to accept that you may not know yourself. Being vulnerable will allow you to build something special for yourself and create a connection with your customers/employers. The ability to do this opens up your mind about yourself, face reality, and change for the better. It gave me the ability to find out what I liked and disliked.