blogging marketing Social Media

Basic Branding 101

Adam Westbrook is two posts deep into his 6X6 series for journalists, six posts with six tips in each on a particular theme to help journalists kickstart their careers in a new multimedia environment.

The first post, on branding yourself, carries some simple, universal rules that should apply to  international entities as well as they do to individual journalists.

Two stand out.

One is ‘own your name’, (Says Westbrook: “As a freelancer especially, your brand is your name. Therefore you need to own your name, especially in cyberspace. You should try and own your domain name ( or or  If you’re running yourself as a business with its own name that’s OK too.”)

The other is ‘keep your networks consistent’.

Combined, the two of these make perfect sense, and they are obvious first steps for anyone looking to sell any service, or themselves. Keep your message unified and strong. If you look for me online, you’ll find the following.

However, plenty of companies are hurrying to establish an online presence nowadays, and in the haste, there’s often waste. Enthusiasm means the brand guidelines, if they even exist, often get thrown out the window in a spree of social media excitement. But, before running out into the social media sphere and grabbing whatever you can, these rules are worth repeating time and time and time again so that you don’t forget, and don’t end up having to backtrack:

Know what your external name is going to be, strive to own it, and then keep it consistent.

A recent example jumped out at me – think of it as food for thought:

All starts well, but then in creep the inconsistencies. Is the brand called ‘Bord Bia’, ‘An Bord Bia’ or ‘Bord Bia Irish Food Board’?

Now, note that this is not just a national brand with an identity crisis, this is also a national agency that is advising food producers on marketing their brands through their own brand forum and marketing fellowship.

When farmers brand their cattle, they use the same, easily identifiable hot iron to make the same identifiable mark on every single animal they own. The word ‘brand’ made its way into commerce for a reason, people. Your web identities are your prize cattle.


  1. There is definitely something to say about consistency through out the web. Having a top level domain like .com will add traffic to your business. With modern business the domain needs to come at the exact same time as picking the business name. Its too often that people name a business without having the .com available which seriously hinders your marketing efforts on the web.

  2. Thanks Markham for your comments and for noticing the work Bord Bia is doing. We thought we should explain the rationale behind our choice of names & urls:
    On twitter, ”” has already been taken and we’re in contact with Twitter about claiming it back.

    On Facebook, we chose “Bord Bia – Irish Food Board” as it extends to an international audience who may not know what Bord Bia is.

    If you have any other thoughts on how we can improve on this, we’d welcome them. We’re constantly learning about social media and anything that we do learn we pass onto the companies.



  3. @Paula,

    Thanks for commenting on a post that could be viewed as critical – good social media policy, of course.
    It’s good that you’re fighting for the Twitter name, pity that it wasn’t safeguarded against earlier, though. With the advent of cyber-squatting ten years ago or more, any time a new outlet or means of communication emerges that could be influential, it would seem that your own presence thereon now has to be ringfenced early on.
    As for your Facebook name – what’s to stop Twitter being as international, if not more so, than Facebook? Surely each has an equivalent reach?

    However, brevity is currency on Twitter (@BordBiaIrishFoodBoard may break the 140-character bank), but then it’s over to you to balance your own brand consistency against that.

    Just my two cents.


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