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How can I determine my brand identity?

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Personal, professional and business branding is occurring regularly, whether or not we are aware of it.

From our web site presence to our postings on the sites of others, from our credit ratings to our cell phone records and application navigation, we are tracking others and being tracked ourselves.

Deciding to become active in social networking is really a matter of managing personal, professional and business images/brands or having them manage us.

THE INTEGRATED SOCIAL NETWORK

Networking is a vital tool in achieving an image/brand. Establish a network like a wheel. The hub is core content (web site, blog, books, articles, useful materials). The spokes leading from the hub are the tools to network content that is linked to the hub.

Contacts are the engines that power the wheel.

Content is the fuel that feeds the social networking contacts and powers the wheel.

As the wheel turns, the quality of the networking improves with feedback and the wheel climbs the optimization hill of the major search engines (SEO).

Limiting factors are the quality of the core content and knowledge/persistence in networking.

CONTRIBUTE TO OTHERS

Blog, post and contribute to Q&A features on several sites:

  1. It allows insight in solving the difficulties of others; always a satisfying achievement, dovetailing with professional endeavors and creating a positive image.

  2. The manner in which a response is worded conveys values, expression, opinion, and insight to others who may wish to team, counter with a disagreement or pass on a reference to others; all healthy forms of communication.

  3. Ratings features allow evaluation of responses by a large peer group.

  4. With the growth of social networking international participation increasing dramatically, it provides insights into perspectives from other nations and cultures; a valuable input in the wired global economy these days.

  5. The historical record of questions and answers, posting content and feedback is searched regularly by a large, world-wide community and draws others to profiles and web sites long after the initial dialogue has occurred.

MAKE PRUDENT JUDGEMENTS

Evaluate other net-workers for consistency. Value the participants who realize these are huge and open forums and who keep an open mind to input.

Do not value narrow minded use of these features for exclusively personal or business gain, control freak attitudes, and those who delete replies or answers because they disagree with the responses they are getting or are not getting what they perceive to be desirable results.

THE END PRODUCT:

A brand, an image and valued content, carefully cultivated, exchanged and viewed regularly with others and communicated for success.

Report Kenneth's answer

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Here is the approach I would take to create a new Brand Identity:

  1. Determine how you believe the Brand should be viewed by others. Consider imaging the brand as a person to make the exercise more tangible. Who would people want to buy from in your line of work? Who conveys the right feelings? What is desirable in your industry? E.g. is it a respected older advisor, a fun & quirky friend, or a coach that always challenges you to be your best? Be as concrete as possible about this fictional character to help yourself get a mental image of them. Try finding an actual picture that resembles that mental image!

  2. Once you have a Brand Character, ask yourself how that person expresses themselves. What is important to them? Which colors and outfits would they wear? What language would they use when speaking? Again don't be afraid to get specific about creating this fictional character. The answers to the questions above will help you identify aspects of your Brand like color scheme, tonality and values. These can be called Brand Attributes and become the foundation for the actual marketing material that potential customers will see.

  3. Summarize the work so far into a marketing sample you can show others, ideally you want to SHOW rather than tell people what the brand is about so try translating all of the above Brand Attributes into a rough logo + tagline, or a simple advert even. Of course this should not require a lot of time or money spent, but something that in 10 seconds or less attempts to convey what your Brand is about. Trust me when I say this is hard, but accept that it will be a work in progress and improve over time.

  4. Show your marketing sample to people and listen to their thoughts and associations, try not to give them too much information beforehand but just see what they can gather from the sample itself. Ask what product they think this is for (if not obvious), as well as probing questions about why they make certain associations. Keep an open mind and don't judge. Try to speak people who you believe could be in the market for your product or service, but all opinions are helpful.

  5. Take the feedback you received back to the drawing board. Did most people agree or was the feedback very inconsistent? Did people perceive the Brand similarly to how you wanted them to, and if not then why? Consider revising the brand attributes and make a new sample. Repeat above!

Hope this helps you get started on the exciting journey of branding!

Report Jacob's answer

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Personal Branding is a long term deliberate effort that is synonymous with success. When you brand yourself, you are distinct, you are different and knowledgeable. You know who you are. The public too gets to associate you with certain skills and understanding. When you successfully brand yourself, you are holding success right in your palms. Branding goes wrong if you want to cheat the public by having double personality traits. They will find out sooner rather than later. Personal branding that works is sincere and its about what you love. You do it effortlessly and with so much love that it is easier to associate it with you. You must stay informed about your industry at all times. When you have less or inappropriate information about your industry, your branding starts to get a beating. Never forget one thing in personal branding; its about keeping ahead in your industry. Keep Moving.

Report Sam's answer

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Personal branding goes hand in hand with what you live to do. What's your purpose in life? If you enjoy your vocation, you may not need to struggle to create a personal brand. It just shows in your output. All you need to do is to guard against getting engaged in what would betray your profession. Remain true to your values while excelling at your job. Soon people and the public will tend to associate you with a certain character and this will be your brand, until you decide otherwise. Remember, building a brand takes time, spoiling it takes a second.

Report Sam's answer

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So I despise that I am sending you to another website, but Hubspot is a wealth of knowledge and they have so many courses about this sort of stuff for free. The resources are amazing. Use the resources, go through the hour or two long course, spend an hour a week (maybe on the weekend outside business hours) and write your brand story.

Report Amy's answer

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