Since writing the first post in this series I read a great article on A List Apart that spoke volumes to me about the process I am embarking on and documenting here. If you do not read alistapart.com I suggest you check it out. To summarize–I am not so much “redesigning” berchman.com as I am “realigning” berchman.com.
I am reviewing the goals and purpose of this website and ‘realigning‘ content and design to help achieve those goals. Initially when I launched berchman.com I thought nothing of ‘goals’ or ‘purpose’ it was just my personal website. The times and purpose of this website have changed. So I have changed the title from “A Website Redesign” to “A Website Realignment” because it more accurately reflects what I am doing.
The first part of realigning this website is defining the brand of Berchman.com. Berchman is me so subjective/objective issues are very strong with taking on this exercise. Berchman does have a brand in the eyes of the beholder, but up to this point-in-time I have never done any research to get to the essence of the Berchman brand.
Look outside yourself
First thing I did was conduct a survey (which took a while to get responses). I asked one question of 17 people using the free tools at Survey Monkey. The people I asked know me personally and/or professionally. Some have known me all their lives and one has known me only a month as my newest client. The goal was to collect data on my personal brand from a wide audience and the question was simple.
What are three adjectives that best describe me, Berchman?
I provided three empty text boxes and since the question was open ended and each of the respondents know me differently, the answers were somewhat varied, but many answers have similar meanings. For example “intelligent” and “knowledgeable” are similar enough to both indicate “intelligence.”
I took all the answers (51 replies) and placed the words with similar meaning into columns on a spreadsheet. This exercise allowed me to do 2 things:
- Sort and see the replies to determine the most common adjectives people use to describe me
- Calculate a percentage based on the number of replies to measure significance
The answers surprised me because what you think other people think of you is usually very different than reality. The top five adjectives with their associated percentages of appearance are:
- Creative – 82%
- Intelligent – 71%
- Kind- 47%
- Driven – 29%
- Fun – 29%
I’m happy that without active effort these are the attributes of my personal brand as seen by others. This is the purely organic impression of my personal brand. I think anyone would be pleased with this list. This list will help inform my decisions moving forward with my brand and website, and will help reinforce these attributes to all that visit my website and work with me.
Now on to ‘my perception’ of my brand.
Looking from within
I know that some branding experts would say my idea of my brand doesn’t matter. Its what other people “see & perceive” of my brand that matters. While I agree with the latter I don’t entirely agree with the former. I think ones personal ideas and opinions about their brand matter a great deal. How and what is perceived of your personal brand must matter a great deal to you professionally.
- What if others perception of your brand is not what you want it to be?
- How can you realign to change the public’s ideas and perceptions of your brand?
Fortunately for me my personal brand attributes are in line with most of my thinking about my personal brand. And more importantly I really don’t need to “reposition” my brand so much as I need to refine and reinforce.
The way I think about my own personal brand is slightly different than that of the respondents. While the words, or adjectives, I use are different they can certainly be classified into the broader categories of replies that came from the survey respondents. My adjectives for my personal brand would be (in no particular order):
It’s easy to see how my adjectives above can fit right in to what people replied and this is great news for me. But what else can help inform my personal brand?
That is to be the topic of the next post in this series: A Website Realignment
Your thoughts and comments on this post are most welcome.