A Website Realignment: Day 9: Branding Berchman

I’m picking up where I left off on the previous post.  So far I’ve gathered adjectives 17 friends, family, and clients perceive as my personal brand. I’ve also identified adjectives I would use for my personal brand.  But what else is there that might have an influence on my personal brand?

  • My opinions, likes, and dislikes
  • What tools am I working with?
  • Who do I do business with?
  • Who is my target market?
  • What are my roots, my upbringing, where I was raised, etc.
  • What is my story?

My opinions, likes and dislikes

There’s no doubt that your personal opinions, the things you like, and the things you dislike have an impact on who you are and how you project yourself into the world.  This in turn impacts your personal brand.  When I speak of opinions. I’m not referring to things like personal political opinions, rather I’m referring to my personal professional opinion’s. For example, in my opinion WordPress and Thesis are the best CMS combination for any self publisher to use on the Internet.

Things you like and dislike also have an impact. For example, some things I like:

And some things I don’t like:

  • Bad design
  • Inefficiencies
  • Luddites
  • Messes and clutter
  • Manchester United

What this all boils down to is an exercise in distillation. You need to continuously ask questions of yourself. Simultaneously, you need to be answering questions. You should not be looking to others to tell you what your personal brand should be.  You have to decide what information is relevant and helps reinforce those qualities that are important to you.

Remember though that everyone has an opinion.  People may already have a perception of what they think you are like, and that influences their thinking.  Don’t be entirely dismissive of their opinions, rather embrace the information. You may find it useful somewhere down the road.

What tools am I working with?

This may seem like a mundane question, but again, it’s a process of collecting information.  I use an Apple G5 dual processor computer as my main machine.  I do 99% of my work on this machine.  I use WordPress, Thesis, the Adobe creative suite, BBEdit, CSSedit, and a variety of other smaller software tools to help me get the job done.  I also have a PC laptop that I use primarily as a preview machine to see what websites look like to the majority of people on the Internet.

Who do I do business with?

I do business with large companies and solo entrepreneurs that are serious about using the Internet. They want to establish or increase their significance in people’s lives through the power of web-based communications. This does not mean that they are stiff and stuffy. Rather, I like to work with people who have goals, perhaps don’t know exactly how to achieve them with Internet tools, and like to have fun during the process.

Who is my target market?

Businesses and people who need expert consultation in developing their websites. They want to use smart, proven technology that works (like WordPress). Many times they know what they want and realize that its quicker to hire a professional to get the job done that much quicker. They may or may not know about the power of Thesis as a framework, but we can work on that.

What is my story?

Everyone has a story and it impacts your person brand. My story is simple. I grew up in a very small village in New York called Waterford. I lived there the first 23 years of my life. Coming from a small town I learned to appreciate people, history and heritage, and fundamentals. I left home to go to college and came back to Waterford after graduating  with 2 degrees; B.A. in Fine Arts and B.S in Information Science. I then chased my wife out to California 16 years ago and we started a family about 9 years ago. I worked for a variety of advertising and design firms before striking out on my own about 4 years ago. Now here I am today. That is essentially it in a nutshell.

So where from here?

Now that I have collected data, the next step is to articulate my brand in terms of a positioning statement and begin exploring visual ideas. That is for the next post in this series.

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Do you need help with your website?

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Get in touch and we can talk about your needs and start the process.

  • While it's important to try to steer your brand in the direction you want it to go, sometimes your perceived brand is far opposite of what you want it to be. In these cases, it is to your advantage to embrace the brand others have handed you (as long as it's positive, of course) rather than fight it.

  • I agree with you that embracing it is the way to go. Sometimes I think brands (both personal and corporate) may not do enough due diligence to find out what people actually think. The exercise I did in the first post in this series enlightened me quite a bit. I think I am embracing it.

  • Well, your perceived brand and your mind's eye brand are both positive and not that far off. You have wiggle room to change perception, but I also think it would mean changing yourself, and you don't want to do that. It is what it is, you know?

  • I do know and agree that for a personal brand it would mean changing yourself. However, if you were an ornery and obstinate person it might be worth looking into some change! For a corporate brand I think its different though. It's probably easier to change a corporate brand than a personal brand but that is not really the focus of this post, or series.

  • I think it is essential to understand that a “brand” (person, organization or product) is the total of perception and experience people have. Brands make promises. When the promises are kept, the value of the brand grows. The key to “branding” (defined as the act of building equity into your value proposition) is to separate your value proposition from the slush pile. The key to separating your value proposition from the slush pile is to engage in what matters to you (authenticity is more powerful than originality) and have what matters to you matter (serve) to others.

    Remember that customers determine which brand lives and which ones die… whatever you are doing it must matter to others…

    rock on Bert…you are on your way to discovery!

    Thomson Dawson
    http://www.whitehotcenter.com

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  • Thomson, Thanks much for your insights on branding. You nailed it and I totally agree that authenticity is key. In fact it was something I forgot to put in this post. I will add it in. I welcome your comments again and again during this process.

  • Thomson, Thanks much for your insights on branding. You nailed it and I totally agree that authenticity is key. In fact it was something I forgot to put in this post. I will add it in. I welcome your comments again and again during this process.

  • Thomson, Thanks much for your insights on branding. You nailed it and I totally agree that authenticity is key. In fact it was something I forgot to put in this post. I will add it in. I welcome your comments again and again during this process.

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