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The importance of a brand; whether it's an individual or organisation



The City of Melbourne is a great place, especially in summer. The Australian Open kicked off last week and has already hosted some 400,000 keen tennis fans from Australia and abroad. Last year Melbourne was rated the “World’s Most Liveable City” by the Economist Group’s Intelligence Unit, and for nine consecutive years this city has had the biggest population growth of any Australian city.

Melbourne is known as well for being sports-mad as it is for being full of culture vultures. So how does a city with such diverse interests communicate its brand to the local and international community?

In 2009 City of Melbourne launched its current corporate identity, marked by the geometric ‘M’ logo (loosely based on Federation Square architecture), which intends to be “unifying, positive, future-focussed and flexible”, according to the Council. The product of the rebranding exercise received mixed reviews from Melburnians. But love it or hate it, looking beyond the design there are some identifiable points in the overall strategy that have worked well to support the profile of the city. What can be learnt from the City of Melbourne that offers insight into successfully building your personal brand?

Flexibility

A successful feature of City of Melbourne’s corporate identity is its flexibility. This feature allows the brand to be responsive (future-focussed), cost efficient, and more comprehensively integrated across communication channels. The ‘M’ logo works in a range of contexts and with or without the ‘City of Melbourne’ title below it.

In the same way, flexibility is a crucial part of building your personal brand. Preparing your profile pitch is a good place to start to test your brand’s flexibility. Just like the basic version of City of Melbourne’s logo, the 30-second profile pitch of your strengths, skills and inspiration should be as attractive and recognisable as the full story.

Visual identity

In a previous blog, Shape your career, we discussed building your online identity. Just like an organisation’s logo, an image (or images) of you, communicates a lot to your audience. As City of Melbourne has shown, you can’t please all the people all the time. But, if the aesthetic cues you circulate are anchored in something that genuinely reflects you and your strengths, your visual identity will remain relevant and purposeful.

Consolidation and consistency

Since the 2009 launch, City of Melbourne has focussed on consolidating communications with a progressive rollout of the new brand. The result is a successful unification of the city’s many interests under an identifiable City of Melbourne banner.

This approach is equally important when building your personal brand. In Shape your career, we touched on having some control over what other people say and think about you. Consolidation and consistency of your messages in the public sphere (how you behave, dress, speak and interact), play a vital role in setting a standard that will shape people’s perception of you.

Understanding your features and successes

At the City of Melbourne’s brand launch in 2009, the Mayor Robert Doyle, said: “The ‘M’ design will become an icon for Melbourne, synonymous with the modern, vibrant, cool city Melbourne is today and will continue to be in the future.”

Think carefully: how would you describe your personal brand in this situation?

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