“You have three days to make ‘band-aid’ a thing in a post, article, meme, or live video.,” so were the words of the great Ms. Mary Katherine Backstrom, award-winning creator of Mom Babble, in the writers group she hosts.
I actually heard about this challenge after seeing an odd number of posts referencing band-aids. My initial reaction, before I knew what was going on, was to respond with: “No! Band-aid is a trademarked name by Johnson and Johnson.” I wanted to help my fellow bloggers avoid potential legal pitfalls for unwittingly publishing copyrighted material.
I stopped myself, once I thought about how ubiquitous the band-aid brand has become. I know when I need a small, sticky adhesive bandage for myself or my loved ones, I’m asking for a band-aid. Not an adhesive bandage. If Johnson and Johnson could cash in on every reference to the name they coined, they could easily be a one-brand show. This literally could be the bandage, or band-aid, for any financial boo-boos.
Johnson and Johnson’s band-aid is an example of genius branding and of how a brand name can become so ingrained in our lexicon we use it as the de facto name for all related products. Legos, Kleenex and Coke also come to mind as examples of branding genius.
Branding is important to companies; this is marketing 101. Brand recognition, and –more importantly — brand trust, is what drives consumers to purchase particular products. The same can be said about content creators, which includes anyone who writes a blog, shoots a video, shares a photo or produces a meme. So, basically all of us.
I struggle with branding, as a blogger. I don’t know how to answer the question: what do I want my personal brand to be? The easy answer is, I’m a “mommy blogger.” But, what does that even mean? Do I only get to share content about motherhood? Does it have to be about being a frazzled mess, as my page title implies? Am I abandoning my audience by writing about left-field topics, like, band-aids, for example?
Many successful influencers became that way because they found their niche. They are diligent in their focus on whatever area of expertise the world has deemed them suitable to claim. Sometimes they have actual working expertise in their field, sometimes they just earned it through experience. Today we trust the amateur make-up expert with one million followers on YouTube as much, if not more, as we do the person who spent 20 years painting faces for fashion shows.
I don’t know if I will ever be considered an “expert” in anything other than lamenting about parenthood. And, there are plenty of us out there. I do know I can, and should, do more to build my personal brand. But, how do I do that, while struggling with how much of myself I want to share with the world?
I notice my blogger friends, once their sites have reached a certain level of success, rebranding their products to include their names. Instead of “The Blah Blah Blah,” it’s “The Blah Blah Blah, by So-and-SO.” Attaching a name — a human being — to a blog, adds a bit of credibility to the site. There is an actual author owning up to those words.
I am still figuring out how much of my personal brand I want to develop. I’m hardly anonymous, as I publish all of my outside articles under my full name, and my Twitter handle is under my name as well. I am interested also in exploring greater depths of more intimate topics with my writing, perhaps warranting a pseudonym and an alternative personal brand.
I am grateful to be a member of a wonderful community of writers, bloggers and creators. My brand grows and shapes with their incredible guidance. And, if I ever get hurt, whether by disparaging comment or painful rejection, I know they will be quick to offer a metaphorical band-aid.