Weekly Challenge: Branding

Hello everyone and welcome back to the weekly challenge!

I apologise for getting this up so late this week but I’ve been out of the country so just catching up with all things blog related!

The next most popular topic that you guys wanted to focus on was having another look at your blog’s branding.

What is a brand exactly? Well I asked good old Google and the Business Dictionary gave me this answer…

Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complexmarketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. Legal name for a brand is trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name.

So your brand is far more than having a logo at the top of your page. It should permeate through everything a visitor sees not just on your blog but on all the channels relating to it. The first part of this week’s challenge is to take a step back and think about what it is we want our brands to represent.

1) Write a mission statement 

Your mission statement should be no more than a paragraph but it should read, not like an introduction, but like a promise to your readers of what they can expect from your blog. If you’re not sure how to start then try structuring it around these questions:

  • Why does your blog have to offer?
  • What stands you apart from other bloggers?
  • What standards and values does you blog have?
  • Where do you see your blog going in the future, perhaps five years from now?

Once you have a paragraph (it can be a working progress) you can start to evaluate whether or not, currently, your blog represents the promise you have just made to your reader. If you state you are offering something specific, do you have posts which clearly are not relevant? If, on the other hand, you promise diversity are you actually posting on similar topics all of the time? Have you promised that a standard of your blog be that your posts are a particular length – do they adhere to this? Do you promise that your blog will be visually stunning – does every post therefore contain images? Do you promise that all content will be original – then time perhaps to stop using image banks?

Play devils advocate, ask yourself harsh questions about your promises and your content. Are they really compatible? Where do the two not mirror one another and where do you need to put in some work to get yourself back on track?

Now that you have written confirmation of what you want your brand to say we can move on to making sure this comes across in all of your blog’s contents. Think about these things:

Your tone of voice. How you say something can sometimes be even more important than what you say.

Read three of your own blog posts, or share three with a friend. What tone do they convey? Are they… friendly? informative? academic? Is your voice consistent throughout? Your tone does not need to be exactly the same in each post, as you may have promised your reader diversity, however your tone should always be able to fit within your mission statement. If you promise a light hearted tone whether writing  fiction, an opinion piece or simply rambling about life it should always maintain a light hearted quality.

Visual Identity. A picture speaks a thousand words after all… 

If you have an image that currently identifies your blog, be it a logo or your header, show it to three people that haven’t seen it before and preferably do not know what your blog is about and ask them what they think it is for. Did they guess right? If they didn’t what did they think you were showing them?

Use this as a way in to visually audit your blog. Look at each section individually and then as a whole. If you clicked on to your site for the first time. Would the first thing you see be the first impression you want to give? If not, what do you need to bring your blog ‘on brand’?

Social Media. Your brand doesn’t stop at your blog. 

We’ve just spent a week talking about social media, I know, I know but it is very relevant here. Your brand is in everything you publish from the 1000 word blog post, to the 140 characters of a tweet, to the photo you publish on Instagram. Do your social platforms deliver on your mission statement. If not, how can you better align the two? It may be that you need to stop ranting on Twitter and make sure your posts are positive in nature. It may be that your images need to be a bit more varied rather than just a library of selfies. It may simply be that you need to post a little more regularly.

If it helps, you could write mini mission statements for your social media networks including how they will uphold and adhere to your overall mission statement.

So back in the home page, share your mission statements and thoughts about your brand.

When you’re done, take some time to look at other’s statements? Who do you think has a particularly well rounded brand throughout their blog? What is it particularly that you like? Give someone some constructive feedback on things they could perhaps do to consolidate their brand in future.