During my recent CreativeLIVE workshop I introduced a theory on creating brand awareness. This wasn’t necessarily aimed at “big business” because they’ve been nailing down this concept for years. I was mainly talking to individuals or very small businesses that have any type of online presence. My theory, of course, is that consistency (in whatever you’re doing) promotes awareness. This is a big core concept in my Designing for the Social Web class that I teach frequently at conferences. Basically my school of thought is that by creating consistent packages of information (graphics, bios, taglines, etc.) you will begin to generate more awareness around you and your personal brand.
I’ve struggled with this concept for many years and only recently found a “formula” that works for me. I’ve adopted a rather simple tagline that defines my entire personal brand with the whole “Designer, Trainer, Geek” phrase. I use this consistently across all of my social and web presences and it works quite well. There are some that love the tagline and others who think it’s not professional, but either way, they’re remembering it! I’ve also come to the realization that people go more on the avatar or defining image of you than anything else when associating something with your brand or business. This is why I always keep a consistent avatar (profile picture) on all of my sites. Honestly, my physical appearance has changed so much in the last year that I have to keep updating my avatars so that people know who I am… Not a bad problem to have by any means (I’ve lost over 200lbs), but keeping them all consistent is the key.
If a big name company like Coca-Cola were to use 5 or 6 different logos and never have a consistent slogan or catchphrase, would be know them as the super-giant of soda like we do today? If Apple were to use anything but that iconic logo or their simplistic catchphrases, would we still recognize them as such an elegant brand? The answer, of course, is no we wouldn’t. This holds true in the personal branding arena as well. I don’t care if your pimping your tutorials or selling toilets online. Without a consistent message and appearance you’re simply spitting into the wind.
The process is simple. You need to sit down and map out a strategy for you or your business. Write down the top 5 things you want to be known for and somehow work that into your information packages that you use across the web. Take the time to either design or have someone design some distinguishable, awesome graphics for your brand. Be sure to use consistent colors, fonts, and shapes. The more consistent you are with your online appearance, the mor people will begin to recognize you as they run across your profiles or work on the web. Chances are, the more people start seeing you, the more interest they’ll have in what you’re doing and then your community will grow organically over time. This isn’t a sprint that we’re running here folks, it’s a marathon with no real definitive finish line. You have to be patient and put yourself in a position to win.