Brand or Brand Damage?

Visibility is important in personal branding, but credibility is even more important.

Collateral represents your brand, and if it isn’t professional – how can you be perceived as a professional business?  If you aren’t serious about your business and able to communicate your message with credibility, how can others be expected to take you seriously?  You will be committing brand damage, not branding.

Collateral or collateral damage came up in a conversation with Loretta Love Huff at the Phoenix Y.O.B. Fair.

We were talking about how the branding panel went and I had to share with her the worst business card (if you can even call it that) that I received.  A piece of thin paper that was hand cut….it sent me over the edge.  Don’t get me wrong, I am on your side.  I understand money is a limited resource, but no business card is better than a hand made one.  You can find great card stock with 2-sided, 2-color business cards for less than $100 with one – three day delivery.  If you can’t spend $100, then you are better off asking for someone else’s card and let them know you’ll follow up with them.

If you are serious about your business, your name comes first.

Your name becomes part of your brand identity.  While it may seem like a trivial task, choosing your name (business name, domain name, email and social media usernames) is an extremely important branding task, which increases brand credibility and memorability.  Often, your username will serve as the “first impression” a new viewer has to your brand. Your business name and consistent usernames are the foundation of a great brand.

Tips:

  • Don’t get tricky, your name should let your audience know what you do
  • Search your name and usernames first, so you can make them consistent
  • Even though you may not be ready to set up a presence yet, register your names

Next, we move onto your tagline/slogan or in other words, specifically spelling out what you do.  If your name does not clearly communicate what you do, this step requires even more work to have others readily receive your message.

Tips:

  • Gather 2-3 trusted people; work on these steps until you feel proud to introduce yourself, and what you do with credibility and confidence
  • Dissect each word, and then find a more powerful word that expresses your meaning
  • Ask a wordsmith or copywriter for help

Everyone knows that first impressions are important, but let’s think of it another way: A brand lowers barriers and helps our audience quickly recognize us.

Can anyone share good or bad business card experiences?

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