Personal branding has always been interesting to me.
Maybe it’s my degree in Marketing that drives this strange interest in market segmentation and branding, or maybe it was the obsession, and being raised by a professional salesman and marketer, that led me to get a degree in Marketing. Either way, brands and how they’re created have always interested me. Toward furthering my knowledge and understanding of how brands work, I got a book sometime back that I’m just reading now, called Wordcraft. The book is all about the process of naming “stuff” in the business world. Naturally, this touches on brands.
One realtaively new idea in branding has been the “personal brand”. The idea that an individual can brand themselves. Naturally, the most common example is usually a Hollywood star who literally is their brand. But, consider also Oprah, Martha Stewart and Michael Jordan. Well, what got me thinking about this lately is the long conversations I’ve been having with an artist friend of mine, Mark Flood(link may not be safe for work, small children or my ex-wife), while I was in the hospital getting my chemo. In a way, he has branded himself, at least in the art world. His thinking, his creativity and his work is his brand, so to speak. I think this is true for every artist, even literary artists.
Right now, I censor myself quite heavily, though you might not always know it, because this blog and website are so closely associated with my corporate professional life. In a certain sense, I have branded this site and blog. Not in a truly conscious way, but in a somewhat organic way a personal brand has emerged. So, I started thinking about branding at this level in a more directed, concerted way. Naturally, that led me to start Googling the topic. I found a number of links, but the series of posts on Blog Branding that Chris Garrett has written looked like the best to me. I haven’t read them all yet, but I plan to before I launch my next project.
Which brings me to my next related thought in this post…
This site is what I think of as my “serious, computer professional site”, which regular readers will know is really not all that serious, professional or even always computer related. Still, it’s far from the wildly creative zany, wacky, perhaps even literary website I have in mind. And, that, dear readers, is my next super-secret project. In fact, this creative project is so secret it doesn’t even have a name yet. Well, okay, it doesn’t have a name yet because I haven’t finished Wordcraft yet and started the brainstorming process to create a new “brand name” for the site. I tried doing this initially with Fantasist.net, but well, found the whole thing a bit too limiting. I mean, not everything I write or create is fantasy, sometimes it’s science-fiction or even, gasp, modern or literary fiction. So, I want something more, well, generically creative than that. And, I’ve been considering consolidating or abandoning old, disused websites I’ve had and domain names I’ve controlled. (Does anyone want to buy HavePalmWillTravel.com?) So, moving content to the new site would bring some instant presence, without the baggage. At least, in theory.
There are, of course, a lot of issues to work out still.
Not the least of which is a logo. I used to rely on my ex-wife, the graphic designer, to generate most of my graphics. Not that I ever actually got what I asked for, in spite of spending a fortune on graphics software for her. There are several logo companies on the web that make logos cheap and, well, frankly, their work looks pretty good. Better than what I eventually got from the ex-wife, in any case. And, the bottom line is they produce in a timely fashion for a reasonable price. In case you’re interested, I’m looking at using the firms listed in this old article on Wired Magazine about logo and brand creation. The prices they list are out of date, since the article is several years old, but the information on the companies has been a great help. I’m still thinking about it, but, I’ll probably end up doing it. Logos are important to brands and, well, you get what you pay for. At least, when you’re not paying in barter and to “family”. I’ll keep you all updated on this process, either way.
So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about since I got out of the hospital last, at least, in regards to branding and blogs and such.
Oh, to protect my creative brand, I probably won’t actually link to it from here or mention it by name, though I will talk about the process as I work on it. For those who are truly interested, e-mail me when it’s done and I’ll send you the info. Don’t worry, I’ll announce it again when I finally get it up and running.