Two days ago a friend of mine asked me to review her résumé. Since she’s a graphic designer, I wasn’t surprised that some elements of it reflected her design style. She didn’t just pull up an MS Word template and fill it out.
This made me wonder: Apart from the usual web sites, business cards, and letterheads, are there other opportunities for us to brand ourselves?
Résumé. To elaborate on my friend’s job-hunting experience, she noticed that as she lined up for job interviews, a few of the other candidates had creative résumés as well. Though it may be common for designers, I don’t see why people working in other industries shouldn’t take a similar approach. As long as the execution is legible, cohesive and easy to understand, it may be a good way to stand out from the crowd of applicants. Georgina provided some excellent creative résumé pointers in a recent post.
Email signature. You can also use your business tagline or brand statement under your name in your email signatures. If overdone, this can seem too bothersome and intrusive, so keep the statement short and simple. I’ve seen some colleagues use this differently as well, adding links to industry-relevant PDF reports and white papers they’ve written. Your email signatures don’t have to be always be branded in the same way, either. Use a different signature for each target audience.
Invoices. Even the documents you use to charge customers can be a branding opportunity. If you send paper invoices, this also helps to make sure that the client won’t lose it in a pile of paperwork. For inspiration, you can check out these creative invoices featured by Smashing Magazine.
Milestone sheets, progress reports and other related documents. It’s perfectly sensible to put your logo in these documents, even if you’re already working with a client and don’t necessarily have to sell new services to them. Branding your documents in the same way you brand promotional materials ensures consistency. If these files are misplaced, the client only has to look at the logo to see who sent them.
Avatars. Our social media avatars are usually the first impressions that new contacts have about us. Having a strong image in your avatar makes the branding happen earlier than, say, waiting for them to look at your blog or web site. Last year, Aliza wrote an extensive post on this subject.
Which of these branding opportunities do you already use? Are there other uncommon ways you brand yourself online?