Jun
5

The Start of Self Branding

So lately I’ve been very interested in self-discovery and building my own brand. Who am I? Who do I want to portray myself as? Are those always the same person?

I stumbled into a very interesting conversation between Forty Agency and Heather Herr of Experience Studio regarding archetypes and branding and how those build an entire brand experience and increase customer loyalty.  I won’t go into those details here, that may be another blog post some other time. However during this presentation, a book was mentioned, The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by Margret Mark and Carol Pearson, that really raised my interest in what this archetypes bit fit into who I am and how I would build my own legacy.

Well, my very own hardbound copy arrived in the mail today, and I’ve spent the better portion of my night starting to read more into it. Very interesting stuff, and as I discover things I’ll be sure to mention them here. So far it’s mostly regarding these 12 archetypes that appear throughout history in stories and stereotypes and how aligning your brand with one of those 12 will consistently help your brand be easily recognized and create value within customers. By using these default stories we can engage our customer quicker, allowing the experience to become easier and can increase loyalty within a brand’s customers.

So far, I’ve been doing quite a bit of passive branding, through my own blog, through local networking and through twitter etc. But due to my interest in continuing to go to conferences and what have you, I’d like to get a real feeling for what I want to be perceived as and how to do that properly. I’d like to really get behind a design style, branding, colors, and paraphernalia (biz cards, stickers, fun stuff).

However, there is a catch in this, right now my name is pretty much my brand, and while it’s great that it’s unique (According to google I’m the only April Holle in the world!) The catch is I might be getting married soon, and if that happens then my name changes, all my effort is then thwarted. Not only am I changing names, I’m changing to April Jones. Do you have any idea how many of those there are? So if you have any ideas on how to gracefully transition this, please chime in!

If you have any personal experience in self branding, please feel free to comment, because advice and experience is never a bad thing to have. 🙂

5 Comments to “The Start of Self Branding”

  • A thought about that particular issues that arise for women building personal brands around their names… Why don’t you hyphenate?

    We have historically been the ones to vacate our birth names when we enter marriage, and there was a time when hyphenating last names, or keeping maiden names, upon marriage was seen as a negative. Oh the whispers; “she must be one of those, you know, feminists.” But those days are gone. Indeed it is becoming more common for young children whose parent has married or remarried after the child’s birth to take on hyphenated last names or no name change.*

    Become April Holle-Jones. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any of those right now! 😉 On the web, keep aprilholle where you’ve taken time to build it (Twitter and blog/web domain), and change to hollejones or holle-jones on places where it’s less critical (Facebook). On personal promotional items (biz cards, etc.) emphasize April Holle with larger fonts and/or bolder colors, and still add Jones, but in a way that indicates that while you are married you are choosing to leverage the recognition you previously worked to create. IRL, introduce yourself as either April Holle-Jones or April Jones or Mrs. Jones depending on the occasion.* The first is important at industry events, whereas the latter is better when at an event with Kaleb’s coworkers.

    Or you may decide that your passive branding efforts have not yielded enough brand equity to warrant keeping Holle (even if there is only one).

    Hyphenating your last name doesn’t have to be a statement of your being a married, but independent, women. It can be a professional decision. But it’s YOUR decision.

    * I have examples of both of these I’d be happy to share IRL if you’re interested.

    🙂

  • Agree with Heather here. You have a name built already. Adding to it keeps it unique in search and shows respect for you partner.

  • That’s a great idea Heather!

    With Jones, there are a lot of retro feelings and stereotypes I could play with to try to find an archetype story that fits my persona.

    Jones in and of it self is a very Regular Guy/Girl name, you have Mrs. Jones perhaps the innocent or the caregiver feeling. More over there’s things like Indiana Jones that inspire the explorer and the hero.

    Something to think about..

  • Very strange that I find you talking about this after hearing Gary Vaynerchuk talk about personal brands today… Almost creepy. 🙂

    Anyways. “Brand Equity” is awesome, but if you care about what you do and who you do it with – your community – or a different way – the people who are listening to you, and hopefully you are listening back, you’re going to win.

    It may be a small setback to change, but it’s not the end of the world…

    It only takes one person to care about what your doing to start something special. Here’s the video of one of Gary’s points about not needing to be big and complicated:

    http://garyvaynerchuk.com/2008/06/05/when-do-you-know-you-have-a-community/

    Let me know what you think of Hero and the Outlaw when you are done… Changed my perspective on a lot of things!

  • Easy solution in in 14 characters or less:

    “Kaleb Holle”

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This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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