In branding, whether it is for your company or for yourself, consistency is crucial. The idea of branding and brand is to engrain a certain image or idea into the minds of viewers. If you keep changing the words and images you use in your branding campaign, how can it succeed?
Hence, I have put together the following list of ways you can keep your brand identity consistent in any online marketing campaign using social networking and communication websites, social media websites, blogs, e-mail addresses, IM clients, and beyond.
Always Keep a Consistent Username
No matter what service you sign up for, keep the same username and stick with it. You should use the same name over every instant messaging client you use (Skype, AIM, Windows live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.), on any social networking sites where you create profiles or groups or fan pages (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Bebo, etc.), and on any social media websites you use (Digg, Stumble Upon, Reddit, del.icio.us, etc.). In addition, this name should also be the e-mail address you use when communicating with others and should be apparent on all company documents and marketing materials.
Pick a name and stick to it. Spell and structure it the same way every time (capitalization and spacing, ie. For my blog I use AM Beat , not ambeat or AMBeat, or Ambeat) and do your best to ensure that others do it the same way (without being pushy).
Always Keep a Consistent Image
Whenever you create an account on a web service, chances are you have the ability to upload a profile picture. Always make sure to use the same picture with every service you use. If you are branding your company, use your logo. If you are branding yourself, then use the same profile picture across all web services.
For a company, there are two main logos you can use, the actual logo itself and the symbol portion of your logo (or a certain smaller element which clearly resembles the full logo). This smaller portion should serve as your website’s favicon and can be used as profile pictures if the service only allows room for smaller pictures (Instant Messaging clients for example) where the full logo would not fit.
Maintain a Consistent Design
Some services such as Facebook won’t allow you to do this; however on other websites such as MySpace and Twitter it could be a worthy investment to create a custom template for additional branding. This means a background to your profile that features your logo and some other elements of your company. If possible use the same design templates that you have for your blog or website for templates on other websites.
Use E-Mail Signatures
This may not sound like much but e-mail is still the most popular way to communicate and get work done online. If you are going to be constantly e-mailing all day, you should take some steps towards being consistent in your e-mails. The easiest way to do this is by creating an e-mail signature that is automatically added to the end of every e-mail you send.
The same advice can hold true when participating on forums.
Widen Your Presence
In order for branding to be successful you need to become a prominent user on a number of different internet platforms and communication platforms. First ensure you have taken care of the basics from developing a website and creating an e-mail address. From there you can expand to creating profiles on social networking websites and social media websites. You should also ensure that you have at least one instant messaging account. After this point, you should search your industry for other relevant blogs and participate through the use of comments, again using the same image and username. Services like Gravatar can automate this.
Lastly, take time to browse your niche for smaller community oriented websites where anyone can join and create profiles. This can include forums, niche social networking websites, industry conference websites databases, etc. and get involved.
However, remember not to overdo it on the number of websites where you dedicate your branding efforts. While it is great to be present via a number of diverse platforms, it is also important that you are visible on these platforms. The only way to be visible is through becoming an active participant and kit is difficult to do this if you are on too many platforms.
Overall, while branding won’t send direct traffic to your blog and its success rate is hard to measure, history has proved that having a well branded company is essential for gaining recognition and traction in any industry. However, branding efforts are completely dependent on consistency and having one idea or message to brand. The web features a variety of vast and affordable platforms on which you can brand yourself and your company and the guidelines included above should help you with branding online.