As a girl who has been a student for most of her adult life, you’ll remember how I struggled with not starting a course in September this year and how I wrote about the quick U-turn I made when I discovered that I could study a free module from the University of East Anglia. It was a course entitled ‘The Secret Power of Brands” and having studied marketing in the past (ok, I have a masters in lifestyle promotion, oops) I thought it would be a good refresher course, enabling me to brush up my knowledge and learn about all the new ways of marketing and branding that simply didn’t exist when I completed my MA back in 2010. Believe it or not, social media wasn’t as important only 3 years ago, user-led content creation brands weren’t around and blogs weren’t even mentioned back then. This course taught me that things have changed considerably in the world of branding and getting expert advice from the brand professionals at Wolff Olins was invaluable and brought my knowledge bang up to date.
It took me 14 weeks to complete the course rather than the recommended 10 (mainly due to time off over Christmas, I guess) but I’m glad that I took my time to really understand the content and access all the resources that the course offered – I’ve now watched loads of talks on TED.com – my new go-to website when I need motivation! One of the most important lessons came at the very end of the course and it was the most relevant to me as a blogger – how to build your own personal brand. Although this lesson was aimed at creating a ‘personal brand’ in terms of promoting yourself to potential employers, I took a lot from it as a blogger.
I realised that I’m putting my ‘brand’ out there everyday. When I write a blog post, it project an image of me and my website as a whole. My blog design says something about me too – that header isn’t just a standard theme I’ve chosen from a list – I’ve had my artist husband draw images that represent sewing and cooking in order to briefly demonstrate what readers can expect while reading the blog. I’ve used my favourite colours and fonts, so rather following design trends or Pantone’s colour of the year I’m sticking with my preference because that too says something about me. In fact I’ve always used this shade of pink (#FF0088) for all of my websites over the years and the pale blue was the colour theme of my wedding so it will always be my top colour choice. Plus, the trends in graphic design, typography, colours and themes change so quickly, I’d never keep up with it and I’d probably get fed up with the design as quickly as anyone else – remember how every website seemed to be using chevrons for the last 2 years? Although I loved it at the time, I’m glad I didn’t use chevrons now – it would have dated my site quickly and looked like every other project on Pinterest! So my blog design itself would be part of my ‘personal brand’ as it communicates something about me to all the lovely readers who stop by. Also I have to look at it everyday, so I’d better like it at least!
The course ended with an exercise which would help you to find your personal brand and included the questions above, along with some prompts to help me answer these questions. I’m working my way through them and will share my answers when I’m done. Hopefully this will give me an insight into my ‘purpose’ and might help me to grow my blog and writing career in someway. My friend is always telling me that I need a focus so that I am moving towards something rather than just wafting through the blogosphere so I’ve been looking at the manifestos of other creative people on Pinterest with the aim of creating my own. In the meantime, I’ll be considering the questions above – apparently where the answers collide in the middle will be my ‘personal brand’, lets see shall we?