A Classic Example of Noteworthy Branding

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Growing up in Northern Illinois during the 1990’s, I vividly remember how huge Michael Jordan was. He was the basketball idol of every kid in the Chicago area. My friends and I collected hundreds of his basketball cards and we valued them to be more precious than gold. I remember as if it were yesterday the day he led the Bulls to win their third championship in a row.

Those of us who were locals weren’t the only ones that noticed this champion during his heyday. The entire nation looked on at him and soon sponsors began crawling out of the woodwork begging him to showcase their product.

Nike worked hard to associate their brand with a powerful name that was familiar to their potential customers.

Nike shoes moved in early on this trend and quickly convinced Michael to sport their product. He wore Nike shoes on the court and a short time later he began appearing in television commercials for them. Nike even named a line of shoes after him: the Air Jordans.

It wasn’t long before the names of Michael Jordan and Nike were inseparable. I don’t know what it was like in the rest of the country, but where I lived those two names appeared every where. I saw posters in the mall. I saw ads on TV. I even saw them in a comic kids movie called Space Jam.

Nike had developed a marketing strategy that seemed to instantly launch them into every corner of our community. We couldn’t turn around without being faced be one of these two names.

Nike spent millions of dollars in an effort to gain a huge presence in America and history shows us that it paid them back with huge dividends.

Group Discussion: How can a blogger create a strong, influential online presence using little or no money?

Just as Nike created a strong presence in America, it’s important for us to create a strong presence online throughout the areas of the internet that are related to our websites.

I want to use this post as a brainstorming session. I want you to leave your thoughts and ideas for branding your name and your website online. Although you can certainly spend millions to accomplish this like Nike did, I want today’s session to primarily include methods and practices that are free or at least very inexpensive.

What ways can you think of that will project your brand into the online community? What can you think of that will let people become more familiar with you and your site that you can do outside of your own domain?

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  1. August 21, 2009

    Eric B. said:

    I think that a good way to create a strong presence is to provide very useful and helpful information, not just on your own blog, but also by doing things like commenting on other blogs and answering questions in forums.

    • August 21, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Eric B. –> That’s definitely a great method to create a strong presence. When you can provide information that other people are looking for you really set yourself apart from the crowd. Good feedback!

  2. August 21, 2009

    Evan Kline said:

    I’ll second what Eric mention – have a strong online presence in your subject area. Also, getting something featured on one of the big sites in your subject area helps as well.

    • August 21, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Evan Kline –> Great addition to the conversation. When you can produce a guest post article on a ‘big’ site or when someone big mentions your work then you can really grab some people’s attention.

  3. August 21, 2009

    Bruce Teague said:

    Eric and your previous post are right on. Commenting. It gets your brand out there, and if you do it right it gets it out there in a way that people will want to take a look at your brand.

    You can usually get some free offers from adsense through webmaster tools or other means. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d be interested in seeing how using that free money could spread my brand. Just haven’t had the time yet.

    Social media is another big one. It’s huge right now, almost everybody is into social media. Jump on the band wagon, tweet, Facebook, etc. something interesting, and spread your brand.

    Put a lot of effort into trying to write an article that people will just want to stumble, digg, or delicious. If you can hit one of those big that’s branding in the bank.

    Guest post on another blog. Another way of networking yourself and getting your brand in front of new eyeballs.

    Get your own domain. If you’re something.blogger, .typepad, or .wordpress they’re stealing some of your brand power.

    Be real and be yourself when you write. There’s tons of blogs throwing out the same information you are. You wont separate your brand from everybody else by rehashing the same text written differently. You have to give them you.

    You pose such a loaded question. If people have been following your blog it shouldn’t be to hard to answer. You’ve addressed a lot of ways of branding already. It’s time consuming for sure, but that’s life.

    • August 21, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Bruce Teague –> Wow! You’ve got a shotgun full of birdshot that’s blasting two barrels worth of good ideas. I like all your ideas but I want to hone in on your point about being real. I think that if you aren’t real then you are simply going to end up blending into the rest of the blogosphere. If you don’t take the time to express yourself as a person and connect with other real people then people are not going to pay any more attention to you, your site, and your brand than they will pay to the next guy.

  4. August 21, 2009

    Steven Corbett said:

    I really agree with Bruce’s thought- get your own domain. Not quite free, but well worth the minor expense.

    • August 21, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Steven Corbett –> I can’t think of any really super popular blogs that are on a hosted blogging company like WordPress.org or blogspot.com. All the best people that are really making it big go for their own domain names. Great points, Steven and Bruce.

  5. August 21, 2009

    Arisu said:

    Depending on who are you trying to reach, there a lot of things you can do. Comments on other blogs and guest posts are good for all types of blogs.

    Tutorials, contests and freebies are another way to put your name out there. And you can get a lot of traffic by asking your friends or family to spread the word. You can also email experts or people that stand out in that area and ask them for an opinion. If they like what you do, they may recomend it.

    • August 21, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Arisu –> You’re my friend, right? Will you spread the word about my blog? Just kidding. Seriously though, you’ve got some great points here. When you do the right thing at your site and then you get your friends and family to let people know about it through word-of-mouth promotion then it can really boost your presence.

      • August 21, 2009

        Arisu said:

        Hahaha, already did, Nicholas 😛 Actually I get my boyfriend to come around from time to time to read the posts I know he´ll like- but he can´t write in English to save his life, and doesn´t want me to write for him.

        And I know I´ll be featuring sitesketch101 on my blog as soon as it´s done 😀

        • August 22, 2009

          Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

          Arisu –> Awesome! I can’t wait to see your blog up and running. And I’ll be awfully appreciative of your featuring my site here. Thanks so much!

  6. August 21, 2009

    gautam hans said:

    I think branding can be done through a lot of things i will mention a few

    1) Branding through guest posts, write good ones and it will rocket your traffic

    2)Comments- Comments is really good way to brand and it has helped me a lot.

    3)Content is king. Writing resources roundups are great ways t brand your blog.

    4)Branding your tweets with the name of the blog like xyz| Blog Godown

    This is what i think but there may be other ways too!

    • August 21, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Gautam Hans –> Nice points. I don’t think that anyone had mentioned the idea of branded tweets or of resource round ups. Both of those concepts can greatly increase your online influence.

  7. August 21, 2009

    Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

    InternetHowBlog –> I think that too often bloggers try to mimic the writing style of other men and end up failing. It’s really important for people to understand that they will be more successful expressing their own personality through their writing then they will be if they just regurgitate information.

  8. August 21, 2009

    odc said:

    bring something brand new to the scene .

    you can’t write original posts every day . but you can have that one original idea/angle that no one thought about before you .

    write content … and focus on that idea . make sure it’s good . find the proper approach to it . find the proper examples for it . make sure it works .

    make that idea a symbol of what you stand for .

    promote yourself to promote your ideas .

    or promote your ideas to promote yourself . these are the 2 ways to get what you want .

    if you are a charismatic dude with an act for great writing … then promote yourself . even if you touch the same ideas as other bloggers … people will come to you for the extra touch of charisma .

    and being charismatic doesn’t mean your close friends laughing at some joke you said . it means having that special something that draws people to you .

    not all of us have that .

    the rest of us have nothing else to do but to attack an original angle or to bring a brand new idea to the world . build on that special something that no one else thought about .

    and be patient . if you have any of the two above … success will follow .

    but charisma is a rare thing … and finding something truly original … is an even rarer thing …

    probably that’s why so many blogs fail …

    • August 22, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      odc –> Charisma really is a valuable asset in this. Developing the ability to interact with people in such a way as to draw them toward you is priceless and yes, it is a very rare thing! Good contribution to the conversation. You made some great points!

  9. August 21, 2009

    Stefan said:

    Great work Nicholas getting everyone to contribute and create a great resource. I’ve read through all the comments and don’t have much to add. Personally I tend to rely a lot on commenting when it comes to displaying yourself, but also guest posts are a good idea.

    A lot of blogs also tend to have a Top Commentators-widget which is another good method if you want other people to see your name and brand.

    • August 22, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Stefan –> That’s a good point. There’s actually a couple of good sites that I try to frequent because I want my name on their top commentators widget so I would have to agree that you are right on the money with this one.

  10. August 21, 2009

    Stefan said:

    Feels like I’ve got thousands thoughts through my head right now. Anyway, I forget to compliment your change on threaded comments. Looks great now.

    • August 22, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Stefan –> Thanks, Stefan. I did it because of your advice. Just remember that it’s all about the readers. If threaded comments makes it easier to follow for everyone then I’m all about adding them! 🙂

  11. August 23, 2009

    HelpfulAdvisor said:

    I think the term “Branding” has become so mainstream that it’s become sort of a crutch some would use to be synonymous with “lack of results”.

    I’ve heard people tell me they really don’t have a goal for their site other than to use it for “branding”. What does that mean?? To me, it tells me they want to get their name out there, but don’t really have a plan for doing so.

    I’d have to say that “branding” as a desire shouldn’t replace a plan for achieving your overall success online, off-line, or anywhere else. Rather, it should compliment an overall plan by being one component of that plan.

    I’d say the brand of YOU starts with putting quality content up first, then telling the world via the various outlets already mentioned in the awesome comments here would be a good start to that.

    Once people get to know the real you, and what you’re about, the product or service you or your business represents will naturally flow from that brand. Nicholas, your site is an example of brand-building at it’s best, because the brand of you is flowing from your top-quality content, and is further complimented by the great comments made by the readers.

    Just my two cents…


    • August 23, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      HelpfulAdvisor –> Good points. I hadn’t thought of it like that. I guess when I’ve always thought of branding it has been in the sense of creating a recognizable name that moves people to turn to you when they need something in your product line. For me branding means that when people are looking for blogging and web design tips they think of Site Sketch 101 and in turn come to this site. If my branding doesn’t produce results then, like you said, it is worthless. Your two cents are pretty valuable. LOL

  12. September 9, 2009

    Ron Boracay said:

    As of this time, I am really studying a lot about Social Media branding. I am imagining that, one day, even if without google (which is near to impossible), my blog can still survive due to the Social Media presence it gains.

    For me, branding will be equally proportional to social media presence.

    • September 9, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Ron Boracay –> It definitely can. As of right now, I get very little traffic from Google and yet I’m still getting hundreds of unique visitors each day. It can definitely be done.

      • September 11, 2009

        Ron Boracay said:

        Its nice to hear that. I think you will be gaining (sitesketch101.com) more traffic through commenting to other blogs, socializing with other blogs and your massive link or name popularity.

        You are real good in terms of communicating with others and answering others questions or comments.

  13. September 11, 2009

    Pinaybackpacker said:

    I am not really familiar about marketing or the concept of branding.

    But I used to manage a small coffeeshop a few years ago and what I learned is that people patronize a certain brand or product because they are able to derive a certain degree of satisfaction from it given their set of expectations.

    I know my example comes from the brick-and-mortar world but it may also apply in the virtual world.

    So, what can a potentially strong brand strive to accomplish when it comes to blogging?

    Be clear about what you want to accomplish and make sure your readers know it that way they know what to expect from you. And do your best to deliver.

    Nike did a great job creating a relationship with Micheal Jordan. Jordan is an excellent basketball player. So, in order for him to be great at what he does, he needs sturdy shoes. So, people expect that from Nike.

    As for what you can do outside of your domain, I think participating in forums as well as commenting on other blogs (particularly those in your niche) is a great start.

    But lately I’ve also been building up a collection of materials that I can put up on a hubpage and a squidoo page that will highlight what I can offer on my blog.

    • September 11, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Pinaybackpacker –> Good thoughts. One of our current projects has my company working down at the Patriot Center and George Mason University. It’s a small stadium here in Virginia. On the wall I noticed a huge poster for Chiptle. They had a burrito wrapped in tin foil. I said to my friends, “Wouldn’t it be more appealing to have a large burrito that you could see? That wasn’t wrapped and hidden in tin foil?” Their response was eye-opening. “I love Chipotle burritos and when I think of Chipotle, I think of a huge burrito wrapped in tin foil.” And then another commented, “I want a burrito right now!” Apparently their branding strategy is really getting the job done.

  14. September 14, 2009

    ZXT said:

    Honestly I can only think of a few like leaving useful and informative comments to blogs. By providing good content on your blog and by using the same handle or name every time you make a comment.

    • September 14, 2009

      Arisu said:


      Don´t forget to take care of the overall look of your blog 😉 Sitesketch has a very distinctive theme and logo and that makes it memorable to th readers.

      • September 15, 2009

        Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

        Arisu –> Too often people fail to make their site look really good nad in turn that fail to keep a lot of their readers.

        • September 23, 2009

          Arisu said:

          Also with a “generic” look people can stumble across the same blog more than once and not even remember they have.

          It´s always easier to remember something that you looked at, that something you read, even if it was a a good reading.

          • September 23, 2009

            Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

            Arisu –> That is a great point that I hadn’t even thought of yet. You’re right that people may not even remember having seen you before. Very true.

      • September 23, 2009

        ZXT said:

        Thanks for the advice Arisu. When I get time this weekend I will try to change it a bit so it will be somewhat unique from other blogs with the same theme.