I often get asked by my clients why branding is important. First, branding holds your uniqueness. Branding is not only for big companies. Today, the importance of branding is now more important than ever. If you are not working on your personal brand – how do you expect to be remembered? More importantly, if you do believe you have a solid brand, when was the last time you conducted an online audit?
An online audit is easy to do. Google your name. You’ll be amazed at what will pop up. Are your online profile images professional? Or if you are representing yourself in a casual light – are they appropriate? The beer bong shot from college may still be online, remember… the internet never forgets!
Screen your online presence, check what your name is associated with, check your images. And recognize if your online presence is in coherence with how you want to be represented.
If not, no worries, you can start to drown out old images with new ones. Clean up your Linkedin Profile: add a profile picture.
Make sure your Twitter, Google+ and Facebook profiles are all up to date. I remember reading that you want your profile pictures to be the same for all platforms, helps you be more memorable and “searchable”.
Make sure that on all platforms, what you do and what you represent is consistent.
This is a great starting point – next blog I’m going to write about why branding has a huge ROI.
“….And if any of you call me “Francis” , I’ll kill you”
I know the saying goes that we learn from our mistakes. “There are no mistakes only lessons”
Let me save you from this series of lessons that can be damaging to your brand. This post is truly meant to assist you with not having to learn “the hard way.”
The truth is branding can be tricky. I’m all for testing, taking calculated risks, but when it comes to branding, it’s critical to work within these guidelines, in my opinion:
1) BE AUTHENTIC
Personally, I love love Marie Forleo – I believe her brand is smart yet quirky, edgy and real. Those are the attributes that come to mind. But I would be doing a major disservice to my brand if I copy what she is doing. I’m influenced by her brand, I love what she has to say. The goal is to be an avid learner and take in as much information as you can, always “sharpening the saw” to be better. But at the end of it all, BE AUTHENTIC. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t – that’s a brand killer!! Plus, give your audience some credit, they will quickly sniff out “fakeness”. Guaranteed.
2) DON’T HATE
Bashing other political parties, candidates, political figures. Taking positions on controversial topics about religion, gun laws, etc., Keep those positions to yourself unless you are clearly promoting your position. Realize that by doing this you will inevitably alienate half the population. Again this depends on what you want your brand to be about. If you are gun store owner or the premiere expert of Gun shooting, then have at it. Everyone else, keep those opinions to yourself to save alienation.
“Don’t hate” has a second part to it – so you are online and someone bashes you (I’ve seen this big time on YouTube). Ignore the haters is the best advice. Save yourself the aggravation of fighting back. There’s not point in it and furthermore, the Internet never forgets. Somewhere in the bowels of cyberspace that snarky post will come back to bite you.
3) WHAT’S IN A NAME….?
This is a hard one. Perception is reality. Is your company name cutesy? Is it sexist? Again, taking the angle of alienating people, be careful of your business name. Make it easy to say, easy to read, easy to spell. I know for as cool as you think “Onomatopoeia” is, incorporating that name as part of your brand is a show stopper. Who the hell is going to be able to spell it? Remember, make it super easy for people to remember you when they are searching online / Googling you.
4) A SHODDY LOGO
No dig on sites like Fiverr.com – but if you think you are going to get a kick ass logo for five bucks… well, you are sorely mistaken. Take the time to find the right logo – one that speaks to you and resonates with your value system. The investment will be well worth it. Also, don’t be married to the idea that the logo your neighbor’s daughter made is the right one. Often our emotional connection to someone will jade our true opinion.
Remember the logo should translate online and offline (business cards, print, etc.,)
Poll your tribe, your friends and have them help you pick the right one. So important!