Issue #186

When branding conflicts

Let’s continue our talk about branding and “personal brands”.

In the last installment, I talked about the importance of being congruent with your own brand. You can’t fake it… you have to be it. In other words, if you’re out there acting like something you’re not, that’s an issue. And it will come out in the wash eventually.

But, we all have stuff which isn’t brand congruent. We all have parts of ourselves, or other interests, which aren’t really in alignment with the brand.

I mean, I’m pretty interested in RV traveling and I already discussed how that aligns with my brand. But, surely, RVs and blogging and online business isn’t everything that is David Risley. 🙂 I have some other interests. There are day-to-day things in my life which have no bearing at all on my brand.

So, what gives?

It’s OK. 🙂 We’re all multi-faceted. However, it is still important to put a little thought into your overall brand strategy. You don’t want to introduce confusion.

See, while it is OK and natural to be personally multi-faceted, when it comes to your online presence, you may be more strategic about the aspects of you that you put out there.

If various interests of your’s all jive and wouldn’t conflict, then you could mix it up. This kind of thing comes up often when people brand around their own names. When one has a “personal brand”, it is easy to get mixed up if your overall strategic branding comes head to head with other interests you may have.

Herein lies a big reason why I long since stopped branding everything around my name, David Risley. 🙂 I re-named this business to Blog Marketing Academy so that I could maintain a separate and consistent brand despite the fact that me – David – has other things going on, too.

If you’re using your name as your personal brand, then you need to decide what your central brand message is and not stray too far from it. If other interests don’t conflict, it is OK to post that stuff. It adds dimension and personality to your brand and that’s totally fine! However, if stuff you want to post would introduce a conflicting brand message, it should be separated.

Would stuff you want to post alienate people in your target market? If so, that’s a good potential sign that you might not want to mix it up. For instance, posting politically charged posts to your personal social media account if you use that account and your name for business branding, too, would be pretty stupid. Politics being what it is, anything you say has a good chance of pissing off half of the people who follow you. So, knock it off. It isn’t congruent.

So, with that branding document I talked about in the last issue…

When you’re noting down those things that back up your brand (the tone, the images, the stories, etc.)… it is probably also a good idea to note down those parts of you that DO NOT back up your brand and should best be avoided.

Hopefully those things aren’t anything which makes your brand fake or incongruent. But, beyond that, we’re mostly talking about not muddying up the waters. A brand message needs to be consistent… and if you’re posting things which seem to conflict or muddy up the waters, then it should either just not be posted, or be posted to a separate channel which doesn’t conflict.

One last further point on this…

If you have a “personal brand” (or want to), you may think that such a brand should be YOU. And if you’re multi-faceted, your brand should be, too. However…

That’s not really a brand, in that case. That’s just you wanting to have a presence online with your name wrapped around it and that’s not the same thing.

A brand, remember, is about a mood and a mental image picture. It is a personification and visualization of what customers and/or followers of that brand want to be. It is a strategic thing. You can do that and use your name as the brand. Celebrities do it all the time. Tony Robbins does it in the personal development space. Just look at Oprah.

But, with those people, you probably have an instantaneous reaction of who those people are and what they represent when you read their names. That’s the result of branding. If those same people were posting stuff which is completely at odds, it would muddy things up. And so they’re smart not to do it.

I’m quite sure there are aspects of Tony Robbins… or Oprah… that we don’t know about and don’t get posted by them.

So, there’s a difference between a real brand (or a personal brand)… and just you as a human being.

A brand is a message. An idea. And simply posting whatever comes to your mind or mixing up multiple interests on one site and slapping a logo on it is NOT branding.

– David

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