Branding Yourself and a Banana
Posted on December 5, 2013
Something pretty interesting, hoped for and cool has started to happen. You might have seen the above photo of me and the banana before which found its way onto my business card and has been incorporated into my branding. From the outset I wanted to try associate the Robert Ryan brand with yellow and a banana. It’s a bit of an off the wall, quirky concept but one that is memorable and seems to be working. Read on as I give you some of my tips on branding yourself that I bear in mind in all of my content creation and social media marketing efforts.
So, you might be wondering “what was the cool thing that happened the other day?”. When leaving for my holidays a few months back I received this tweet when I said I was going on holiday – the banana branding was starting to take hold.
Slowly, some people, are starting to think of me when the see a banana. And, fair enough, you might scoff “but, sure, what value is that to you?”. The value is that if, or when, those people need some WordPress web design or some other service I offer then I’ll have better odds of being in their mind.
More recently I received the below tweet referring to me as, well, bananaman – thank you Ashley!
I also recently kicked off a mission on Google Plus to get to 1000 circles before New Year (come circle and help me) and have received some pretty great help from the likes of Christine deGraff and Craig Chamberlin. I mention their assistance because if you watch the video below of Craig, or check out Christine’s recommendation of me, you’ll see that they both refer the banana and/or the yellow branding. And, for me, who took what some of my peers thought was a wild punt on branding, it’s nice to see some of the branding come home to roost. So, without further ado, time for branding tips!
“I think it was the photo of Robert eating a banana (on his Triberr/Twitter profile) that first made him stand out to me – I’m not sure – but he is quite unforgettable with his humorous photos and upbeat attitude; and of course, the fact that he is a geek and posts about SEO makes me like him even more :D” – Christine DeGraff
Branding Yourself…and a Banana
So, time to get down to the tips. I’ve been building up RobertRyan.ie and trying to brand myself since August so to get the above results already is quite pleasing. The below tips are what you should have in mind when branding yourself.
Believe The Hype
The first, and one of the most important parts building a brand or branding yourself is for you to believe in it. If you can’t commit to it, grasp the nettle and be an advocate for your brand then all your branding efforts will be hamstrung. Not only that, the advocacy has to be genuine. Us humans have finally tuned BS detectors and if a potential customer senses that you don’t fully believe in your brand then you’re sunk. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing you’ll never be able to brand it successfully.
Perception is Reality
A lot of branding and branding yourself has to do with creating the right perception. As the old saying goes, perception is reality, and if you can create the right perception about your brand then you’ll be able to mold a reality that you want. It may sound a tad out there and I’m no psychologist or sociologist so can’t ground the theory with peer reviewed articles but there is a lot of truth in the “fake it til you make it” approach. If you want to be the number one expert in your niche – whatever the niche – you’re going to have to act like you are the expert, if you don’t, people will never consider you as the expert. To act like the expert you generally have to back it up with matching expert content and so the illusion of expertise will only get you so far but once you start off creating the right perception it’ll be a lot easier to get the desired result for your brand.
As humans we like patterns and comfort zones. You can create comfort zones for people in your branding by being consistent with, well, everything. Try achieve a consistency in colour, images, text and tone across all platforms so that people can know what to expect. If and when they have an idea of what they can expect than half the branding battle is won – they already have a perception of you in their mind, now the challenge changes to keeping your brand in their mind. Again, consistency helps with this. By creating content and sharing it consistently you’ll get a chance to reinforce your perception and with regular updates you can stay in peoples minds.
Something To Remember You By
Let’s be real here. You’re not going to be all things to all people, neither am I, but for those who are interested in your musings give them something to remember you by. Use your charm, wit, humour, character, charisma, personality – whatever makes you uniquely you – and try encapsulate the essence of that in what you do. “But, Rob, that sounds all airy fairy!” I hear you shout. And, you’re right, it is a bit airy fairy but, it is in these airy fairy subtleties that you’ll give people something to remember you be. If you’ve read this far, and I truly hope you have, you just might remember that line “But, Rob, that sounds all airy fairy” – I’ll let you think about why ;) Aside from the minutia it’s important to try be memorable across the board. Being consistent in how you are branding yourself will really help you become more memorable.
I Like The Way It Sounds
Alliteration and onomatopoeia can help you brand or market yourself. One of the biggest brands on the planet, Coca Cola, have a name riddled with alliteration that rattles around your inner ear once heard. Granted if you’re branding yourself you can’t go for an alliterative name (unless of course your name is something like Robert Ryan ;)) but you can still apply these notions to your blogging and branding in general. Pay attention to the rhythms and timing of blog posts, status updates – everything you do only basically, as all of these feed into the branding of yourself.
Don’t Pigeon Hole Yourself
When branding yourself it’s key that people get an idea of who you are and what service you provide however you don’t want to get pigeon holed. Your product or service offering might expand or change slightly so whilst you want to define your niche try, where possible, give yourself some wiggle room. Being able to change the brand direction will give you some stick-ability as you won’t be limited to just one niche. One example of this is my brazen claim to be “the online element” – which has allowed me to do WordPress development, SEO and social media consulting for different clients.
Avid readers of this blog will remember me talking about Seth Godin many months ago. From the start of this online venture whilst branding myself I wanted to try to be somewhat remarkable. When I got my business card design done I wanted to do something different and from that everything else has stemmed. I think we’re currently in the era of mediocrity where people are put on pedestals for no good reason and so if you can be remarkable you have a great chance of success. I also think we’re entering into the era of the expert, whereby if you know your stuff like no other, and can be somewhat remarkable, then the internet will be a place where you can thrive.
If I’ve had, or am going to continue to have, any success online a lot of that is down to my graphic designer Elena Montes. I think when you’re branding yourself you can’t underestimate the importance of having a strong visual brand. I’m very fortunate to be able to call on the services of Elena as graphic design is not my forte. If design isn’t your forte I’d suggest trying to find a graphic designer who you can set upa long term relationship with for graphics, business cards, blog images – whatever, but having a designer who can keep things looking sharp helps tremendously. Like I said above perception is reality and if you’re just banging out Microsoft Word Clip Art graphics then you’re not going to create the perception you want.
Branding Yourself and a Banana – Branding & Marketing Tips
And so there you have it, some of the principles and branding tips I keep in mind when trying to build up my own personal brand. The key takeaway I guess is to try be yourself, let your personality come out and focus on certain characteristics are traits that people might deem memorable, expand on those and do so consistently. Branding yourself takes a lot of time, ideas, energy and isn’t easy at all but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. By applying the above tips to your own brand you’ll hopefully see some benefits in time.
Do you have any of your own branding or marketing tips? Please, share them below as I’d love to hear them, there is no monopoly on knowledge here. If you’re not on my mailing list and have read this far I suggest you join up – you must like my waffle ;) Thanks for reading and hope you learned a thing or two.