When working with organizations on branding, I like to think of the brand as a person. This, of course, goes back to my philosophy of being a person online, but it also makes branding easy for people to keep in mind when they’re doing other things. When you’re interacting with your network, it’s difficult to keep a collection of promises, tag lines, and demographic study results in your head, but it’s simple to remember what your mom, your friend, or even Mr. Rogers would have to say in this instance. People are real. Statistics are abstract.
In order to start thinking of your brand as a person, you must first know your market. For me, this is really easy. My market is made up of the people I like to work with, who also like to work with me. I know that sounds vague, but it’s actually really specific. They tend to be non-profits, their core values are usually some combination of honesty, philanthropy, and community, and they have a deep commitment to their clients, customers and members. Just like I have to mine. So it follows that my brand is me. A more marketable, smarter, friendlier version of me, but she’s still me in her heart. My brand is the best version of me. Just like any brand should be the best version of its organization.
Ask yourself who your market needs. A peer? A mentor? A cause? When I was doing social media for The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, I thought of our social media accounts as a veteran performer, offering encouragement and industry help to those members and pre-members who followed us. Before I would write anything, I asked myself is this something my brand would say? As a result, the account was warm and positive. It provided uplift and a sense of community.
I encourage you to think of your brand. Ask yourself what their voice sounds like, how they greet people. Obviously, keep it professional. The social media voice of AFTRA never called anybody “kid” or “son.” But the tone of the messages was mature and kind. You can read more about tone here, but the key is to think of your brand as being accessible.