Sometimes we experiment, which is a great thing. I was a mess at chemistry in school, but I think we can safely use this analogy: in chemistry, for an experiment to work, you have to combine the right substances, in the right order, and leave each reaction enough time to take place. Sometimes it works, other times we have to retrace our steps to see what we did wrong or what we can tweak. That is perfectly valid in other areas of our lives where we have to experiment. Which bring us to the question for today.
Question: I have heard many people talking about branding and how great it would be for me to use it online. Tried it and did nothing for me, I changed my picture and everything. So now I just use my old avatar. Was it my fault or branding doesn’t work?
Answer: First of all, you never really stop branding! Except, when you ‘stop branding’ and use an avatar, you now brand yourself as a faceless avatar, a pet, a comic, whatever, which is wrong. You can adjust your brand, if you feel the need to or if it no longer corresponds to your evolution, but, if possible, avoid these simple mistakes:
don’t waste branding on pets, comics, etc.
don’t brand someone else with your actions (for example you promote a site, but the picture/video of the owner shows up instead of yours)
Secondly, brand doesn’t mean simply your picture, but let’s dwell on this particular component of branding.
When you add your real picture — the sooner the better — or sometimes even when you update your old picture, you need to be everywhere, so that people will make a connection with the real you or “the new you” easier.
Thirdly, and very important. I already mentioned above, branding rarely means your picture anymore in this age of strong online connectivity.
Now, everything you do, say (on audio or video), write (in blogs, chats, social media groups or comments), put in your profiles is scrutinized by others and make up what is your online brand.
We learn new things, we change and yes, we grow. Which make occasional rebrandings the right thing to do to keep up with our current selves. But if you don’t want to be caught in your own web of lies, build your brand on truth and be yourself.
Branding takes time. Some changes may occur as soon as you become “a real person” instead of an avatar. But the real change is when people feel they know and like you through what you say, and they can trust you through what you do.