Wrestling with the Concept of Brand


“What is your brand?”

“You need to define your brand.”

When I first heard about the pressing need to define one’s brand two years ago at the Type-A Parent conference in Atlanta, I pushed the concept aside. I wasn’t interested in monetizing my blog, would never seek paid advertisements, didn’t want any junk on my sidebar interfering with my aesthetic. (That I say that is laughable, as if I’m some great graphic artist.)

Moreover, I resisted writing in a niche, which I presumed was the prerequisite of effective branding. Was I an old mommy blogger, an angry feminist, a deaf person? Or all of the above? I wanted to be niche-less. I wanted to write about whatever I felt like writing about without thinking I had an obligation to some brand. “Oh my God, what is that old mommy blogger doing writing about Donald Trump?”

So I meandered around, not worrying about branding, just doing my thing. And after a while, I started thinking that my thing or things, as it were, had gradually become my brand. And then I realized that my brand was something to nurture and develop. It surprised me that the whole notion of having a brand no longer felt foreign or contrived. It didn’t seem like acting or pretending.

The biggest surprise was that the brand for my blog, Red’s Wrap, was me.

The beauty of this is that writing my blog has helped me define myself during periods of great difficulty and transition. In the manner of Joan Didion’s famous comment, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down,” blogging settled me when my thoughts were chaotic and disabling. I would try to do what Hemingway recommended: “Just write one true sentence.” And often that gave way to writing many true sentences that revealed to me who I was at that moment. Not who I wished I could be or wanted others to believe I was, not a construction or fiction, just the realest truest me. Writing my blog revealed to me who I really was as a person.

And it is that exercise, even more than the result, that I consider to be my brand.

When people take the time to read my blog, I want to deliver content that is true to my brand. It makes me think twice about what I write, puts some things out of bounds, brings others surprisingly in bounds. Having a sense of brand makes me careful but it also makes me brave.

When I read others’ blogs, I can tell which bloggers have developed their brand (knowingly or not). They have a confidence and comfort with themselves that is obvious and attractive. It’s as if they are saying “stay with me, I know what I’m doing.”

How do you get to the place where you recognize and embrace your brand?

Just write one true sentence and go from there.


The Daily Post: Voice


8 Comments on “Wrestling with the Concept of Brand

  1. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 7 – “The Endless Beauty Of An Authentic Voice” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

  2. “Just write one true sentence and go from there.”
    Perfectly said and wonderfully true. Can apply to so much too can’t it … marketing, writing, parenting, relationships, etc. Start with the truth and you can’t go wrong.
    Well said, thanks for this post … Marianne

  3. I get what you are saying. But I will not let marketing language ouotline my world. I know and admire, even love, who you are by those true and interesting things you write. That knowledge is not enhanced by a brand label or an elevator speech.

  4. I like what you have to say about branding. It evolves over time doesn’t it, our own unique flavour. Like you, I have no interest in clogging up my blog with paid advertisements. It doesn’t feel right to do that. I like the look I have created and don’t want others to impinge on my territory!
    Thank you for the follow too Jan. I really appreciate it 🙂

  5. It sounds like you’ve pinned the brand issue to the mat and put a lot of thought into your blogging presence. As a reader, I know there’s going to be a compelling mish mash of ideas in your writing and I think of you as a blogging columnist, much like the writers we used to find in good local daily newspapers. I think this is the beauty of the blogosphere.

    The variety of writing/art/photography found in this medium gives an expressive outlet to so many creative people who might not otherwise be heard. i really value the people i follow for their unique voices and their points of view.

  6. This resonates with me. As a new blogger with a small circle of readers, I can wiggle around a bit with my themes, content, no one holds me to any one topic, but somehow because it’s mine and my words/thoughts, I have a common theme -me. Thank you for putting it into words…I have often wondered if I would lose even my few readers because I might shift gears at times. I think I write for the reader in me first.

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