Do you treat yourself as a 'brand'?


Well-Known Member
I'm doing some blog writing at the moment and was just wondering if you consider your own 'brand' as well as you do your clients? I don't mean just your logo but all the other things that go with the real meaning of a 'brand'.

Do Universities give you advice on this?
Could you expand on 'consider your own brand.' Do you mean consider it when I accept work from clients? or whether it plays any part in the type of work I produce?

Don't get me started on my old university, but let's just say I learnt far more in a year after graduating from uni, than I did in the 3 years I was there all these years ago.
Your personal brand is how you look, act and behave? Just as your logo and business card will impart a flavour of your business - and represents your business you are your biggest asset. Even if you are the very junior in the office your 'brand' can help you enormously.

Do you think about the way you dress when you see clients? Your grooming? Your language and behaviour? How you answer your phone? Respond to emails?

I knew a designer who, for example, only used red items on his desk - so the stapler, the hole-punch, notebook, pen, ring-binders, filing trays, mug were all red.

BTW - most people say that they learnt more in their first year out of uni than the 3 years in it!
Oh well then yes without a doubt but I wouldn't go as far as having a specific dress code, smart casual usually suffice. And grooming? I don't think about at all, as I am always well groomed haha. Language and behaviour; I just be myself and it just so happens I am polite and quite well spoken. I think it is important to be yourself, as it is easy for clients to spot when you are not genuine and it can be off putting.

Responding to email: I go with a more personal approach once we have been introduced formally. I don't want my e-mails looking like an automated service. But my emails are always ended with my logo in the sig. I don't answer calls in a kind of 'company' fashion, like I do when I am called into a workplace with; "Hello [Enter company name here]." Reason being, I am not so much a company, I am one man who freelances.

When it comes to paperwork being sent out, whether it be as actual paperwork or sent digitally, then I stick to my brand theme. As it looks more professional, helps with promotion and the client can instantly relate; they would have seen the style of the brand at some point, whether it be via the website or other means. But as far as stationary goes, no I just use any old pen, pencil and what have you. If I was to turn into an actual company, with my own business office and employ other designers, illustrations, programmers etc, then I would probably consider taking the stationary used more seriously and stick to my blue branded theme.

Hope that helps.
Haha! No, he was (at the time) a graphic designer - but we are talking before branding was all over the place!

I answer my phone before 6pm with the company name always. And (of course) dress smartly, speak politely etc.
My uni did, but my uni was different in that this course spent 3 years getting us ready for the industry upon graduation. Not like your standard 'find yourself' and dissertation degree. May well be different now, but the the course I did was one of the first like this in the country. We had modules on freelancing, business, building portfolios, interview techniques, live projects, guest speakers, pitching, and 1 big one on branding ourselves. We had to create ourselves a logo, stationary, design a website (in Flash but still) then have all of this stuff displayed in our final year degree show. Was pretty cool actually.

I treat my company as a brand in the sense that I've got my logo, branded stationary, followed through into quotes, invoices and receipts, Ts&Cs and website. With regards to me, I'm just me. I don't turn up to interviews in suits, I wear what I', comfortable in. I think I'm naturally groomed. I don't spend every night plucking nose hair or shaping eyebrows put it that way. Some days I sport stubble .. somedays I don't.

Same with answering the pone and email. I answer and reply as me, nothing special.
I don't consider myself as having, or being, a brand. I have a personality, and that's what comes across naturally in how I dress, act and speak.

I see a brand as just a thought-out, false personality for a product, company or service, and therefore see the idea branding yourself as false and slightly oxymoronic. I sort of know a guy who appears to wear the same clothes every single day of the week. In the three years I've known him, I've never seen him wear anything different, and I always get the impression he sees this as his branding, like he wants to be seen as kind of 'kooky' because he's working in a creative industry. Yet this eccentric clothing style doesn't fit hispersonality in the slightest.

Your personality is how people see you, your brand is how you want people to see you.
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I don't even have a lot of the basic components of what you might call a brand identity: I use a logo in my email signature and as a header on my invoices but that's literally as far as it goes (and I consider even that to be of limited value - it only exists and only gets used because received wisdom said it was the route to take when I was setting up, and the likelihood is that I'll ditch it altogether if and when I feel it's starting to look dated). I have no published values or aims, no website describing why I'm the man for the job, no business card - not even a readily-available portfolio... I have a way of doing things and a degree of professionalism but these come to me naturally rather than as something I've wilfully constructed for the purposes of projecting a contrived image or identity; as Paul M was suggesting, I do have an identity but not in the sense that it's something that can exist without me/in its own right.
I think brand identity comes more across through the customer service you provide. Sure you need a clean looking logo and a nicely laid out web page or adverts with some nice copy to help attract visitors but they will only come back to you and recommend you to others if you provide a friendly, helpful service. Even if it does not go past the quoting stage, they might remember how useful you were and contact you in the future on other projects.