I started building my brand as a service provider of graphic designing and photography since 2009 in China. I have been doing lots of trial and error along the way and it took me almost 2-3 years before I have a group of solid customers who keep reaching out to me whenever they have new project. (I’m thankful for that folks if you are reading this!)
I started building my brand on an internet by posting to a free graphic community. I engaged with the community for a while, asking for feedbacks about my works and sharing my thoughts with other people too. After few months, I have my first online portfolio ready. I was a student at the time so I went to an event coordinator office and offer to do a pro bono. I did so many event posters and words spread out. Eventually people were looking to hire me for their businesses. I would also offer to do a pro bono job for nonprofit organizations too. That was how I gain some recognitions.
After I had learned about the freelancing process, pricing, and built up my confidence, I saved up some money and decided to build my website. I was just a teenager starting to venture out and my only thought of owning a website was that it might be good for my credibility since most entry-level freelancer would always rely on free-portfolio site.
What I have done wrong about my online branding was not setting up an objective for my website, and not constantly updating it. Currently, my website is just there as my online portfolio. It generates recognition but rarely brings me conversions. Most of my customers are still coming from word-of-mouth.
In my opinion, offline and online brand development have similar process but each of them has its own merits. Online brand development performs better on promoting consideration (Roberts, p. 120). Customers tend to have positive attitude toward and recall more details of a digital interactive advertisement than from offline media too (Alex W., Digital Magazine Ads engagement, 2011). In sum, I strongly believe that these two should be integrated together to build a successful and strong brand.