I had a lot of positive response to my post last week on Product Development and Pricing on Etsy, so as a followup I thought I would share some knowledge on Branding over the next few weeks.
Photo courtesy of www.creation.uk.com
Many people think branding is your brand identity and by brand identity I mean your blog or business/craft name, your banner and logo design..............but branding is much more than that.
Of course your brand identity is very important. It can be the first thing your consumer sees of you and they will have an immediate perception of who you are. That's why choosing a blog/craft business name is very important.
What's in a name:
So when naming your blog/craft business, first impressions do count and you may want to consider the following:
Is it distinctive, memorable, is it easy to spell or pronounce, can it be understood
What does it say about your unique offering or point of difference in the marketplace (in particular this needs to permeate throughout your blog and business).Who is your target market? Mothers with children, students with little cash, working mums, non craft adults who want handmade, tourists, locals, blog lovers?
But beyond the name, your blog is an extension of you and your personality.......in fact it's like looking at yourself as a brand. What's the image that you want your consumer/reader to takeaway after reading your blog and looking at your craft business. You can't be someone you are not on a blog as it is a very personal social medium and many bloggers have Etsy stores linked from their blog. Alternatively there are many design/craft related businesses running blogs as a communications vehicle to tap into their consumer base. So blogs and design/craft businesses are becoming integrated.
So now you have a name and a brand identity lets look at three other areas for consideration that impacts your brand.
How your Blog looks:
Any good brand will have consistency in its visual communication. You may have a great banner, but have you thought about using this on your email subscriptions? Your favicon (favourite Icon) button for comments, user profile, flickr profile, etsy store and other areas where buttons are used......so there is immediate recognition of your brand identity
We all know that posting great images is very important. Have you custom set your images so you are always posting the same size? Or using Flickr toys to edit and post in the same consistent way. Do you always take photos in the natural morning light? or perhaps afternoon is better for you. What about the work surface.....neutral or any place where there is space.
Do you have a certain salutation or signature you use to sign off? Do you use this consistently.
What is different and unique about your blog? What makes you special? How do you stand out from 100's of other bloggers? Are you consistently putting this across to your readers through visual and written means. What brings readers back each day?
When commenting do you use your Brand (blog) name or your first name? If you are trying to build awareness and new to blogging think about using your brand name..........there are too many Julies, Kylies and Leannes out there to know who you are and using your favicon button will help give you brand recognition if you do decide to use your first name.
Your sidebar modules, widgets and lists tell bloggers alot about you. Who you like to be associated with, what your interests are...........an extension of you. Is this consistent with who you are? Does it build on why you are different to other blogs/businesses?
How you say it:
Just as with visual communications you need to decide what is different and unique about your blog. What makes you special. How do you stand out from 100's of other bloggers. Are you consistently putting this message across to your readers. Perhaps you are all about design and inspiration, maybe offering tutorials and helpful advice, or just showing off all your great crafting, or maybe selling your craft. Once you decide be consistent.
Stop to think how your best friend/partner would describe you in six adjectives. Or better still ask them. Do you think this is refected through your blog?
Happy, Playful, Adventurous, Inspiring, Funny, Artistic, Creative, Joyful, Perfectionist, Happy go Lucky, Tech-savvy, Give it a go, Loving, Caring, Warm, Rushed, Sharing, Generous, Helpful, Mentor, Teacher, Green, An activist,...just some of the adjectives to use.
The tone of your creative copy writing will reflect you and hence your personality through your blog..not just on your own blog, but in your comment writing, and other activities such as swaps, competitions and giveaways and reply emails.
How do you behave? Do you have good blog manners. Do you leave a thoughtful comment, or are you into quantity over quality. Do you respond to some special comments by email. Do you visit and never leave a comment. Do you share yourself around or just subscribe to more well known blog spots. Do you offer a shoutout when you can? Do you post links to other blogs you like or could be of interest to others who have not found them yet? Are you sharing knowledge through tutorials, links, helpful tips? All of this builds an image with other bloggers and potential consumers.
How to use it:
This is essentially the functionality of your blog. Is your home page well balanced or overwhelming for visitors? Is it easy to navigate? Can they find something of interest or what you offer as unique and special to make bloggers come back for more. What does it say about you? Will they want to come back? Does it load quickly? Or too many widgets slowing it down. Is it easy to leave comments? Is it easy to subscribe to. Do you offer Bloglines, Googlereader and email subscription? Why not? Is it easy to link to your Etsy or your business/ecommerce site. Can you be emailed?
In summary your blog is an extension of your own personal brand and to build your blog brand you need to think about consistency and ease of use. You can see that branding is alot more than a logo!
1. Consistency of Look(Visual Communication)
2. Consistency of Tone(Verbal Communication)
3. Functionality (Feel)
Next Week Part 2 covers How to Build Your Blog covering The Four "C's"
Copyright Sharon Carter 2008