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Branding - going beyond the profile picture

John Denslow

There is a trend in marketing that began around 2009.

It's called "branding" and it carries with it an immense amount of potential.

Unfortunately, the concept of branding as it relates specifically to online marketing has become watered down and misunderstood by a large number of work-from-home web entrepreneurs.

You see it everywhere.

Just throw your picture on a website or splash page and BOOM...you're "branding" yourself, right?

Wrong.

Branding is an involved process whereby your product or service is tied to a particular perception or expectation.  It is a combination of emotion, reputation, and performance that is tied to a single, consistent idea, usually represented by an actual brand or company - and by extension through its flagship product or logo.  A picture by itself is not a brand.

When you see the Apple company logo...you have an sense of what it represents.  The same goes for when you think of "the golden arches" (I bet you even know which company I am referring to without even mentioning it by name).  Do you get a sense of pride when you see your country's flag blowing lightly in the wind?

That is branding.

Now, successful branding takes place when the majority of people (customers and otherwise) all arrive at the same set of conclusions when thinking about your company or product.  Let's go back to Apple.  Not everyone loves Apple and its products.  But it has grown into the world's largest technology company because most people have a favorable opinion of the company and its products.  And they all think of the following when they see the Apple logo:  innovative products, sleek design, and solid customer support.  They think...cool.  Again, this is not what "everyone" thinks, but most do (at least for now, March 2012).

They built this reputation - this expectation - this perception - this brand - through years of matching their products, services, and support with their logo and their advertising.  One became the other, and vice versa.  That is branding.

The funny thing about branding is that it is fleeting.  Call it what you want, but the concept has been around forever.  And through decades of modern commerce and industry, countless companies have lived and died by their brand.

Sears...once a robust company that represented innovation.  What do you think of now when you see the Sears logo?  (By the way, I'm a fan of Sears, so it pains me to think of how its brand has suffered in recent years.)

What about Toyota?  A few years ago, they could do nothing wrong.  But then controversy about its products' safety tarnished its reputation.  The Toyota brand seems to have weathered the test so far, but will it ever regain its former reputation of excellence?

 

Okay - so how do we establish our "brand?"

Yes, the first step is to associate an image or logo with you and your company...so go ahead and throw your picture on your website(s) and blog(s).  Keep it a consistent image so that every time websurfers see that smile and your "famous red hat" they associate that picture with your name or company.  (By the way, your logo works just as well as a picture, although a personal photo is obviously the easiest way to tie your face and your name to your brand.  The few people who absolutely insist on seeing what you look like in order to make a [purchase] decision are making appearance decisions, not formulating a brand opinion.)  And then...

* develop an e-mail signature that goes on all of your messages

* live by a specific reputation of YOUR choosing (do you want to be known as the traffic exchange guy?  The go-to resource for safelist advertising?  What about the queen of beauty product MLMs?)

* use every interaction as an opportunity to build your brand through consistency in your words and deeds (don't send mixed signals or contradictory messages)

* focus most of your initial effort within your selected area of specialization; once you have established your brand in one area, you can expand out to another (versus the "shotgun approach" where your brand message is scattered and possibly "lost" as a result)

* work every day to maintain your brand (as you've chosen to establish it)...and be prepared to re-brand yourself in the future if necessary

 

As far as my own brand, I hope that most people associate me with the following traits:

--  considerate, ethical, and honest

--  an accomplished writer

--  a successful team leader in building downlines

--  a person whose recommendations can be trusted

I'm working every day to build this brand...and I know you are hard at work building yours.  May we both be successful!

 

(the information, opinions, and suggestions above are derived from my 20+ years of personal and professional experience as a salesman, sales trainer, author, customer service manager, and online marketer)


Article by:John Denslow
Article posted: 2012-03-16 02:35:44

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