Branding me, branding you

November 30, 2008 at 5:07 pm (branding) (, , , , , , )

Branding is an increasing trend and more important for companies in our ever increasing cosumerist society-even despite a recession (speaking of which I was in Queeen Street, Cardiff, today and I can see no signs of a recession in the way people were buying!). In fact branding could possibly be more important now the economy is hitting us hard, after all, brand loyalty is a powerful thing. If we look at the most successful brands in the world-Coca Cola, Nike and McDonald’s being three that spring to mind, they have all stayed the strongest¬† brands for decades now, despite a recession or a boom.

But now brands are moving futher than sports products and food and drink. They are moving to journalism. And we, as student journalists were told by Rick Waghorn, creator of, that in order to keep our standard of journalism safe in a trade that is currently unstable in its traditional values, we need to become a brand.

Looking at successful journalist brands like Robert Peston,  Charlie Brooker and Martin Lewis, then it looks easy. But can small individual student journalists who are just starting out really develop themselves as a brand? In my opinion, no. The main reason these people all became brands was becase they were already successful. The public were already aware of their talents, and their brand developed through recognition and years of hard work to establish themselves as household names. As individul jounalists we do not have the resources or the publicity to define ourselves as a brand.

Example of Robert Peston speaking on the BBC.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love for my name to have such power behind it that merely mention of it attracts an audience of thousands to see what magnificent words I have put to paper were, but if I’m completely unknown people are not going to be interested.

To become a massive brand as a journalist there also needs to be the right settings and circumstances. I doubt many people beyond the financial gurus and news junkies could name Robert Peston and exactly what he did before the credit crunch kicked in, but now he is instantly recognised and his blog is a massively powerful tool. It was questioned during Rick Waghorn’s lecture whether his brand would be powerful enough for people to follow him beyond the BBC, I personally think it would. If he kept up the quality of journalism and sources, then of course he would be followed.

Having the BBC behind him admittedly does help, but Martin Lewis managed to branch out on his own with his money saving expert website and is now hugely popular. Again the circumstances of money being tight for many people due to the recession has also helped him a great deal.

But it is doubtful that the little guy could really become a brand without the support of the ‘big’ guys in the industry and without some kind of prevous recognition. Perhaps a negative view, but one that I think is realistic in a world where there are so many ‘journalists’ writing on the web, whether trained or not, and you need to have something behind you if you are going to be able to sucessfully brand yourself.


Permalink Leave a Comment