SHINE LIKE A STAR
From an early age, I developed a love of branding. I recall keeping colourful and cheerful toy packaging and I even remember writing my name in a rainbow inspired by the My Little Pony logo! Little did I know how much thought had gone into making these products appeal to me.
I enjoy watching brands evolve. It’s interesting to try to understand the thought process behind the changes and who their target audience might be. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to work with teams on branding and marketing. And in my previous job, I had the honour to work with the corporate identity and branding guru Wally Olins as he rebranded one of the Oxford University Colleges. Bringing it into the present yet being sensitive to its history and tradition.
Today I’m sharing five quick and easy steps to a stronger online identity. These are the basics which hopefully you’ll have covered or they will act as a gentle reminder. After all, it’s easy to overlook the small everyday details when we’re running a busy online business.
1. First impressions
The first thing people see when they land on your website, blog or social media channel is your name and possibly your logo/image. Have a look at the logo/image you use to consider if it represents who you are. Although I use a logo I’m aware that photographs of people work better for building an audience on social media. After all, people like to follow people!
It’s also wise to keep your name and logo/image consistent across all platforms. This will link everything together making you or your business easy to find. For example, I’m drawn to images so if I’m looking for people to follow on a new platform, I’ll always notice an image I’m familiar with elsewhere. The online world is a busy one so it’s great to make yourself easy to find.
Another thing to consider is your social media biography. Does it say what you do and is it repeated on all channels? It’s good to include a contact email if there’s enough space. Also, look at the about and contact pages on your website or blog to check the information you provide is up to date.
It’s good to have a firm grasp of what your style is. This will help you when considering what to share. Style can consist of words, colours, subjects, themes and so on. And can enhance and strengthen what you’re trying to promote. One way of doing this is by creating a mood board or a board on Pinterest. Having a visual reference to refer to can be helpful on those busy days!
A few questions to consider:
~ What is your message and purpose?
~ What are your brand values?
~ What words could be used to describe your brand?
~ What are your brand aesthetics?
~ Who is your audience or who are your customers?
~ Does your current branding and style attract the right people?
I often revisit my brand’s message/mission and core values to ensure I’m on track. This enables me to continue to create the right feel and convey my message.
Try to keep your tone the same, for example, if your website or blog is a calm place it’s probably wise not to have a rant about something over on Twitter! Keeping your words and tone consistent will communicate your story and attract the perfect audience for you. Remember that having the right audience for what you’re sharing, promoting or selling is far better than having large numbers of unengaged folk.
I could write an entire blog post about image selection and it’s probably something I’ll cover another day. But for now, there are two things you could consider: subject and style. And to go a little deeper maybe think about the following:
~ Are your images in line with your brand identity?
~ Are they conveying your brand’s key messages and/or story?
~ Are they consistent across all platforms?
Another thing to be mindful of is to only share your best work. If you’re worried you haven’t uploaded anything on a particular day, try not to compromise by posting something that’s not on brand or to your usual standard. Believe me, no one will notice if you miss a day!
I’ve touched on this a few times but I can’t emphasise it enough. There’s so much noise online that it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. Being as consistent as possible gives you strength. And by keeping everything you post, share and support in line with your core values you can strengthen your brand. I believe it’s better to take a moment to consider everything you post rather than sharing without a thought. Most of all try not to worry about what everyone else is doing, it’s better to walk your own path and stick to your personal goals and objectives.
And finally, all advice can be ignored! Whenever I wonder if I should have a YouTube channel or be sharing my life on Snapchat or Instagram stories I think of Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Leo is an extremely successful writer and blogger – his blog has over two million subscribers – yet he only uses Twitter. Leo is a great reminder to do what works best for you!