I’m Loving It.
What’s In Your Wallet?
Just Do It.
Have It Your Way.
Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
With just a simple phrase, these brands are immediately recognizable. As future communication strategists, it is critical that we understand the importance of what a strong brand can do for our businesses and ourselves. Developing a brand can take a relatively unknown product and catapult it into the consumer psyche. Crafting a brand can also help products and businesses that have been failing or in trouble and turn them into something new and exciting. The right brand in place can say a lot about the product, business, or person, which is exactly what a brand is designed to do.
If you cannot tell, this week our discussion and readings focused on branding and online reputation. So, what exactly is “branding”? Branding is creating a unique name or image for a product through advertising. With an abundance of products available to consumers, crafting a brand can help them to stand out from the rest of the pack. For me, branding is one of the most important topics we have discussed in this course, because it brings all of the posts over the last few weeks together. Not only is networking an important aspect of branding, but also the way we use social media tools.
For me, one of the most entertaining recent advertising campaigns is McDonald’s new ad for their McGriddles sandwich. The basic concept of the commercial is “because this is how I take my coffee” … with a [insert a specific type of] McGriddles. The commercial advertises their sandwich and their coffee emphasizing these two products being paired together. And like every McDonald’s commercial, it ends with their trademark “I’m Loving It” slogan. This is a campaign that has been sent out via traditional and social media and brings a little bit of humor to their brand. See commercial example here: http://youtu.be/BqCBFNPtuAQ. There are many types of branding, but for this post I will be focusing specifically on two types: internet branding and personal branding.
The Internet has become a pivotal role in enhancing a brand’s relationships and reputation. Because of its speed, the Internet can push a product further than using traditional media. However, this does not mean that the techniques used in building a brand are any different from using traditional media, which authors Chiagouris and Wansley state in their article “Branding on the Internet.” They say that the steps used to bond a consumer with a product is basically the same, it is just the speed that makes them different. Having a positive online experience can be the defining characteristic that brings consumers back time and time again.
Social media and blogging, in particular are significant aspects in building up a brand online. As we have learned and are practicing in this course, creating a blog can be a way to introduce you to future employers. One point to remember about blogs is the credibility of the site. Since more and more individuals are reading blogs (particularly younger professionals) due to the fact they are being incorporated more and more into one’s work, it is another avenue through which your voice can be heard. Keeping your blog and online profiles filled with current, relevant and accurate information can advertise the credibility of your writing and boost another aspect of your brand.
Businesses are not the only ones that need to be concerned with branding. Individuals also need to consider what their personal brand is saying about them to employers and colleagues. So, what exactly is a personal brand? It is your voice and your reputation that you intentionally create, manage, and communicate about. Other aspects of your personal brand include your skills, experience, expertise, and the products or services you represent (Rosen, 2013). It is what helps you to stand out from the crowd. Some people believe only celebrities need to be concerned with developing a brand, but we are all brands. We need to know the skills to effectively market ourselves to other people.
Personal branding starts with many of the topics we have discussed over the past few weeks. Are you active in social media? If so, what does your profile say about you? Do you have a blog? If so, what topics does your blog cover? Is it based towards professional posts or is it more personal? Thinking about these questions can help you determine what foot you are putting forward. There is going to be information out on the Internet about you, so what better time than now is it to take control of it and make it say what you want it to say showcasing your unique talents and experience. The most important thing to remember when building your personal brand is not only the important of communicating yourself, but making sure you are easily found, and that your materials and online presence communicate what is special about you (Rosen, 2013).
One things to remember that your personal brand is an evolving relationship (Schneider, 2012). This means that over time your brand may evolve as your interests and professional direction changes. You need to be able to evolve your brand as your evolve through your professional career. You also need to remember that it is also difficult to control how others perceive you. The best approach to creating a brand is making sure that it is authentic and you are able to deliver on what you advertise. You need to advertise the skill sets you currently have and not pretend to be someone else.
Do you have a personal brand that accurately describes you? Take a look at your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profiles. When viewed are prospective employers able to distinguish who you are and what is your personal and professional mission or vision statement? Nance Rosen (2013) posed some questions to consider when developing a brand. By answering the following questions, she says that you can learn more about the special qualities that will help you to create a powerful brand:
1. What one positive quality have you had since you were little, that pretty much everyone notices after spending time with you?
2. What one word would you use to describe the way you approach problems?
3. Why do people enjoy spending time with you?
Some self-reflection and analysis can help you uncover who you are and the best way to advertise your skills and experience. A quick Google search can also alert you to where you can be found online. As I close this post, I leave you with one simple question:
What does your brand say about you?
In case you do not know the above slogans to their brands, here is the answer key:
M & M’s
Chiagouris, L. & Wansley, B. (2000) Branding on the internet. Marketing Management, p. 34-38.
Rosen, N. (2013, January 22). Fundamentals of personal branding. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/fundamentals-of-personal-branding-2012-10.
Schneider, K.G. (2012, November 6). Personal branding for librarians: Distinguishing yourself from the professional herd. American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/articleb/personal-branding-librarians.
Schawbel, D. (2009, February 5). Personal branding 101: How to discover and create your brand. Masable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/.