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 (www.yourname.com or www.yourname.net or www.yourname.co.uk). 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.