More Brand Thinking

The brainstorming about branding continues. I’ve been sorting through some of the questions posed by the branding workshop I attended last week. I nailed down a couple of important things:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What makes me unique?

My Ideal Customer

Why is it important to identify an ideal customer? You want to identify your best work environment, professional strengths, and most reliable market segment. I got my master’s degree so I could work in the space industry. Since then, I’ve become interested in other technologies as well. Below is a list of attributes for my “ideal customer.” Your mileage could vary.

  • High-technology entrepreneur or large-project manager
  • Someone who has unique and diverse communication needs on a project basis
  • Someone who needs help planning communications—what to say and how to say it
  • Someone who wants to convey the benefits of whatever they’re doing
  • Primary audiences include elected officials and staffers on various parts of Pennsylvania Avenue as well as the interested (or general) public
  • Customer’s audience should respond to their communication products with:
    • “This is a great thing, I want to (continue to) fund it!”
    • “Aha! Now that I understand [X], I want to do/implement it!”
    • “That’s a good thing you’re doing. We need to change X so it can happen!”
  • Customer doesn’t need an employee but a consultant/part-time contractor
  • Customer doesn’t mind working with someone remotely or flying them in if necessary
  • Customer is willing to pay well for communication services
  • Customer recognizes the value of and wants to work with a professional communicator

What Makes Me Unique?

So once you identify who your ideal customers are, you have to identify what about you would be interesting to them. You must answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Uniqueness is one way to do that–explaining why you’re different.

  • Philosophical approach—I want to understand the “why” behind your project/topic
  • Passionate about learning and writing about technologies that contribute to a better future
  • Able to communicate clearly about multiple topics in multiple formats
  • Diplomatic in written and spoken communication
  • Skilled at technical, business operations, and marketing copy writing

The thinking about branding will continue. When I have some spare cash, I might even pay a graphic designer to help me create a logo that conveys some of these ideas (no idea what that would look like at this point). However, the point of branding is not merely to create a logo or a website “look,” but rather to help people remember your products or services in a particular context. That’s what’s known as brand recognition. Think Google, Kleenex, Apple, etc.

Obviously I’m still working on mine.

What is Your Personal Brand?

I created this blog (and its tagline) half in jest, half with a serious purpose. The jest is that I don’t take myself too seriously on some things. The serious purpose is that if I want or need to improve my “brand” on the internet, I need to be clear about what that brand is. So in addition to sharing some of various interests in science fiction or cool architecture, I’ll try to use this space to explain who I am, on and off duty.

Today I attended a lunch-and-learn presented by Mary Recchia Brown over at ScribbleSpace in Windermere, FL. The subject of that session was–wait for it–branding.

The point of the discussion was to get us (a room of half a dozen or so small-business entrepreneurs) thinking about our customers, the services we provide them, and what’s in it for them to employ us. Why should they hire me, for example, instead of the other writer in the room, Laura Schaefer? A lot of it has to do with whom our ideal customer would be. Other considerations would include the sorts of problems we are best able to solve and what “end game” our ideal customers hope to achieve by solving them.

Lots to think about. If you’re a professional colleague and follow this blog or Heroic Technical Writing, I would appreciate your feedback (via email to bart_leahy{at}hotmail dot com or other).