Personal branding is really just good storytelling

By Jillian Mikolaizyk / August 15, 2023 / , ,

Everyone has a story. And being able to tell that story in an engaging way is the foundation of what public relations (PR) is all about.

This notion is a key part of our story at Logos Communications. We help our clients tell their stories to potential clients, media, and more. But what makes a good story? There are three key elements:

  • Make it personal
  • Be genuine
  • Connect emotionally

To break down these elements and how they work, I’d like to give you an example. So I’m going to tell you a short version of my story, and then explain how it uses these three concepts.

My Story

As the new president and owner of Logos Communications, I have taken over Logos from its founder. But my journey to business ownership (and my passion for storytelling) started young.

I come from a family of business owners — my grandfather founded a CPA firm, which my mother eventually took over. As an only child, there were jokes about me taking over the “family business,” but it was clear from an early age that my passion was for words, and not numbers. Whatever hopes my mother may have held about me following in her footsteps died when, in college, I took an Intro to Accounting course and counted it among my least favorite courses.

But while I might have known what I didn’t want to do, finding what I wanted to do took a bit more time. I was undeclared for my first two years of college, and I struggled to find a path forward that allowed me to pursue what I really wanted — writing. And, during that time, I interned with Logos Communications and met its founder, Sue Voyles. It was my first time being introduced to PR, remote work, and communications. I loved it, and wondered if I could follow a similar path.

At my graduation from Madonna University, I happened to run into Sue, whose daughter was graduating in the same class. She wondered if I wanted to do some part time work while I looked for a job. I accepted, thinking it would be good income while I potentially built up my own client base. That was seven years ago, and over that time I moved into a full time role, a lead manager role and now as the owner.

Make it Personal

Now that we’ve gone through my story, let’s look at it through the lens of what makes a good story.

First, it was personal. It’s easy enough to tell people what you’ve done and when you did it, but digging a little deeper makes a better story. I didn’t just tell you what I’ve done — I told you why I did it, what motivated my journey and what I’m really passionate about.

Including details like this will remind your reader that you’re more than just a brand. You’re a person, just like them.

There are so many ways to make your story personal. For some, like me, it’s talking about the things you really love, and what gets you excited. For others, it might be sharing the challenges and hardships you overcame. While these can be difficult to share, it can make for a highly engaging story.

There’s no one right way to make things personal. It all comes down to what kind of story you want to tell, and what sort of image you want to portray.

Make it authentic

While it’s important to consider tone and what sort of image you want to portray, that doesn’t mean you should embellish or exaggerate your story just to get a certain reaction.

When sharing your story, it’s important not to be insincere. Keep bragging to a minimum, and don’t. Whenever we’re talking about ourselves, or writing our story, we need to focus and concentrate on the right choice of words, the right cadence and tone even, so that we don’t push our tail over the line with inflated, fake and even dishonest details.

That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an “attitude” while telling your story. You can even employ a little sarcasm for humor, like I did (no, I didn’t literally kill my mother’s dreams — but Intro to Accounting really was my least favorite course)! Just make sure you’re being yourself, authentically and truthfully.

Now, of course, every audience might require a slightly different approach or style or even what to emphasize, but the basic facts, the plot, so to speak, should remain the same. And remain real.

Find an emotional connection

Finally, we need our story to connect with people emotionally whenever possible. Too much information, endless or unrelatable details, name dropping or snide comments don’t make for a good emotional connection.

People connect to stories they can relate to, stories that they may even have experienced. I’m sure the dilemma I had in college with how to turn my passion into a career is one many people would understand. I didn’t exaggerate it, but it was a big deal for me at the time, and solving that was important.

The way I solved it — which involved a certain degree of luck — is similarly relatable. Seeing the Logos company founder at her daughter’s own graduation while I was also getting a degree brought us together, and we have worked closely ever since. That’s an idea that resonates emotionally in story.

We all tell stories. That’s a fundamental way we communicate with one another. Our stories reveal much about us, our goals, our hopes and dreams and our expertise or passion. They also offer every business leader and owner a simple way to connect others to who they are and the company they own or operate.

I personally love stories, like most people, and I really love personal stories. Today my company has mastered the craft of telling other people’s business narratives – and sometimes personal – and wants to help anyone looking to share their brand through stories.