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Developing your brand. Why does it matter?

01 Mar
brand, face

Am I a brand?

Pepsi is a brand, Madonna is a brand, even President Obama is a brand.

Beautifully Invisible gave me inspiration for this topic. Observing and participating in conversations in a community group confirmed the need to touch briefly on this topic. Many new bloggers struggle with this as they navigate their way around developing their content, voice, image, style and character.

What does branding have to do with blogging? Everything. Marty Neumeier defines a brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s a gut feeling because we’re all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our best efforts to be rational.” I will take it a step further and add “person” along with “product, service, or company.” We believe that the brands we love are unique, being true to what they stand for makes them appear so. We connect to those brands emotionally and feel a sense of pride for having that connection. You are your brand, therefore, your blog is your brand regardless of whether you are style or tech blogger.

It’s important to have a sense of who you are, what you are providing and why anyone would care. The goal is to express something that solicits a reaction or response, you’re looking to engage your audience and develop a connection. A blog can be beautiful but uninteresting, if your content is not king no one will keep coming back. When I say content is king, I don’t mean to imply that every post must be brilliant. I only mean this: You are writing your content. Emphasis on “you.” People come back because they connected with it. You don’t need to blow their minds but you do need to present yourself and your content in a compelling and genuine manner.

So how do we figure out all this out? Make a list of what makes you “you”. Now make a list of how others see you, how they would describe you. People’s impressions of you make up part of what defines you. The two lists should have a lot of in common. Do you see the correlation? Too much disparity and you’ve got a perception problem. Blogs are personal by nature, in most cases your blog is an extension of yourself and not a completely different persona. Your top attributes should be reflected in how you present yourself leading to how others perceive you. We want confirmation that supports why we love a brand. Apple is innovative. Nike is encouraging us to get out there and just do it. They might pleasantly surprise and delight us at times but they don’t send mixed signals. We love them for who they are.

No one is going to assume you lack dimensionality or creativity for being focused, they will be pleased that they got what they came for. Who is your target, who is it your speaking to? What are they looking for? Why would they come back for more? Understanding your demographic is key to giving them what they want. You’re looking to bridge the gap between what you offer and what your target wants. Is she a mother with kids who’s looking to connect and share ideas with other mothers, or is she a woman who also happens to be a mother with kids? The differences may be subtle but making the distinction is very important in how you choose to speak to one or the other.

You are the primary authority of your brand, express it through your blog with conviction. Know your audience, be focused, remain true to yourself. In the words of Stella Adler, “don’t act, behave.”

I give credit to Primo Angeli for being such a leader and influence on me. Understanding the relationships we have with brands and each other, how those perceptions trigger emotional responses, has given me so much valuable insight. The three years I worked at his design firm were pivotal to my ongoing personal and professional development. Marty Neumeier is author of The Brand Gap.

Photo: Jose Rodriguez

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Deets: Mustard dress/ModCloth, slate shawl collar cardigan/You Be Cheeky, black leggings/Hue, vegan faux grey cowboy boots/ModCloth, silver and mother of pearl necklace/Lois Hill, hand-carved wood earrings/Chicago.

 
35 Comments

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  1. Ofelia

    March 2, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Fabienne, you hit the target with this post! We are brands, but is our abilities to connect with others that creates appeal!
    Ofelia recently posted..Today we went

     
  2. Jodi

    March 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    OMG your blog is getting better and better every time i visit.. go away for a week or so and BAM you have redesigned the whole thing.. looks amazing.. so professional… and love your photos too you are really shining here babes.. love it xoxo J
    Jodi recently posted..Remix 29- Leather Skirt

     
  3. Gracey at Fashion for Giants

    March 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Another wonderful post, Fabienne. As a new blogger, this topic has been very much on my mind, so I found this quite helpful.
    Gracey at Fashion for Giants recently posted..Its Switzerland Week at Fashion For Giants

     
    • Fabienne Jach

      March 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks, Gracey. I’m glad you found it helpful. You’ve got a wonderful thing going, I always enjoy visiting your blog.

       
  4. Kelly

    March 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Good info. Something to think about for sure.
    Kelly recently posted..Wednesday – SF Girl by bay

     
  5. Arash Mazinani

    March 3, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Really good post I think as soon as you give your blog it’s name you start creating a brand. What that brand symbols then comes through in the content you create and you’re own personality. I think this post is definitely on point for anyone starting out in blogging it’s all about letting your personality shine through.

    Blog:http://www.arashmazinani.com
    Twitter:@arashmazinani
    Arash Mazinani recently posted..How Ethical Are You When It Comes To Fashion

     
    • Fabienne Jach

      March 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Much agreed. We make choices about how we present ourselves to the outside world every day, without even giving it much thought. A blog is a snippet but it still requires a level of self-awareness.

       
  6. Bella Q

    March 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Great insight. I am always belching on about “branding” when I talk to bloggers. I got that early on, the idea of branding. A brand is the emotional sound-bite of what you are trying to sell. And quite frankly we ARE selling ourselves. Maybe not for money, maybe for more readers, but the fact of the matter is, most communication is about selling, if not product, a cause or idea.
    Bella Q recently posted..Sterling Style- My Mama Q

     
    • Fabienne Jach

      March 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      So very true, Bella. The thing that kept me coming back to your blog is that I immediately got the sense that you knew who you were and presented yourself both appropriately within the context of a niche blogosphere and very much in line with your character. It didn’t take long for me to become a fan, and when we meet, (because Sac just ain’t all that far away!), I bet you’ll be just like I thought you’d be.

       
  7. GRIT & GLAMOUR

    March 5, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Great post…so many people don’t get this, even outside of blogging. YOU ARE YOUR BRAND, in the office, at the gym, in the grocery store. That’s why it matters to me that my face is done when I leave the house, my polish isn’t chipped, and my shoes look like they get TLC regularly. I all adds up to that first or final impression.

    ••V••
    http://www.gritandglamour.com
    @gritandglamour
    GRIT & GLAMOUR recently posted..Worker V- 15 Rules for Rocking Leather in the Office

     
    • Fabienne Jach

      March 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      So true. I may not always dress up but even a casual day requires a certain level of self-respect. Casual and comfortable doesn’t have to mean sloppy or neglected.

       
  8. Collette Osuna

    March 5, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Really great post!! Awesome tips we can all learn and benefit from……nice work:)

    Stop by and say Hello♥
    Statements in Fashion Blog♥

     
    • Fabienne Jach

      March 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks little lady! We all learn from, and inspire, each other.

       
  9. Not just for experts only—Getting your blog off the ground. « The House in the Clouds

    March 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

    [...] but not least, last week I wrote about the correlation between your blog and branding. It’s a topic I’ve reflected upon on this journey and believe it’s good food for [...]

     
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