How is your brand doing these days? Times have been tough for many, and marketing budgets have seen their fair share of reductions. But with the economy showing signs of consistent recovery, albeit slow, now is the time to give your brand some much-deserved attention. Get it right before you begin reinvesting. (more…)

I know, as well as the next shy person, how difficult it can be to establish a unique personality in life (a.k.a. personal brand). Whether on the job, in the classroom or in your own social circle. But when it comes to personal branding, especially as a creative, introversion can play a big role. (more…)

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Remember the days when you took lunch to school  in a lunchbox or brown paper bag? It was packed by mom, and probably pretty healthy too. You remember—a P&J sandwich, an apple and some pretzel sticks. Yum! In my school, all of the cool kids had the fancy pre-packaged lunches. Kind of cool, but NOT very healthy.

Well, good news for busy adults on-the-go or so Oscar Mayer thinks with the launch of its Lunchables for adults called P3, Portable Protein Packs. It’s those three words—portable protein pack—that Oscar Mayer believes will get grownups to buy this product. Lunchables as “energy packs”…a great way to mask the Grade D cheese and meat contained in the four varieties of P3 offered. (Not like the Oscar Mayer brand is synonymous with healthy.)

Speaking of the Oscar Mayer brand, it seems unlikely that anyone would buy this product if it had to rely solely on its name and packaging. P3? Does this conjure up thoughts of urine for anyone else? How about the shape of the packaging? Does it represent an awkward barbell? How about the use of the color black? Does it make you feel energetic?

So, is the OM brand strong enough to convince adults to purchase P3? Perhaps for a trial at a price point of $1.79, but I think I’ll stick with the food (not so high in protein) that I know and love from Oscar Mayer…b-o-l-o-g-n-a. I have fond childhood memories of eating bologna and cheese sandwiches while humming one of the most memorable jingles of all time. Hit it! “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R, my bologna has a second name it’s M-A-Y-E-R…”

So you just graduated from college (or maybe you skipped that step) and you’re trying to get a foot in the door at an agency or in-house creative department. In a world where the competition is tough, and space is limited, you’ve got to find an edge. Luckily you are a unique human being with a unique story to tell; and hopefully a unique way to package it. This is known as your personal brand.

Your personal brand matters. Employers aren’t hiring you based on your talent, skills or work ethic alone. Don’t get me wrong; they play a huge part in the hiring process, but companies, especially creative ones, are looking for a personal brand that stands out. By establishing a distinct story and look, you’ll have a better chance of landing that coveted first creative job. Here are 4 tips to help you do just that.

  1. Why you?

    What makes you different? Do you have a uniquely broad range of creative skills or styles? Do you have a personal talent or interest that can serve as a launchpad? Perhaps you were a girl scout or boy scout. Did you play sports? Do you have a passion for music? These personal interests and attributes can help you develop a concept for your personal brand to help you stand out. For example, being a girl scout or boy scout might mean you know how to find your way without a compass (a.k.a. a self-starter who can think and work independently). Being a good athlete might translate into being a disciplined team player. A variety of creative skills and styles may mean you are the Swiss-Army-knife type…capable of almost anything. You get the point (pun intended).

  2. Be true to your brand.

    Design trends come and go. Today faster than ever. Keep your visual identity thoughtful, consistent with your personal brand and based on good design principles. Let your portfolio showcase your range of ideas, styles and executions.

  3. Present yourself well.

    Make a professional-looking digital space for yourself. Whether it is through a Behance ProSite or Squarespace, a well-presented showing of your work counts. (Don’t forget to carry your personal brand concept through this and everything you do.) When I finished college these plug-and-play sites did not exist, so I spent countless hours attempting to code one. Hours I could have spent honing and marketing my personal brand.

  4. Be yourself.

    Literally. Some people feel the need to use a name other than their birth name to add mystique. (I’m guilty!) I couldn’t get a domain using my birth name, so I came up with www.Ezsoteric.com. Get it. Eszoteric doesn’t mean anything to me and I’ve been transitioning away from it for that very reason. Of course, there are success stories (e.g. ISO50), but chances are it won’t serve you well a few years down the road.

Get started now! Write down three personal attributes that make you different and marry them with your creative talent (e.g. illustrator, designer, idea-machine, digital genius, etc.). Then have fun with it! Create a short story or description of your personal brand. Give yourself an interesting title. Package it to reflect your concept. Good luck!

Have a question? Shoot me an email or ask in the comments.

Ask ten CEOs or marketing professionals for the definition of a brand and you will likely hear ten different answers. So, how is it that millions of dollars have been spent building brands and countless books have been written, for it to be one of the most misunderstood concepts in business today. Perhaps it is because brand is intangible or maybe because brand is not about marketing at all. So what is it? (more…)