As part of my schooling, I was asked to consider “The Brand Called You” about myself. My first thoughts were posted here, and this is a follow-up, “faux interview” that asked me to consider all kinds of various aspects and angles of the brand that is me, as a designer and freelancer, both now and in the future.
The Faux Interview
What is the field or industry in which you are branding Yourself (this includes you as a person, son/daughter, spouse, parent, student, career person, citizen, etc)?
Aaron Snowberger is branding himself into the Korean graphic design field. He specifically targets companies and organizations that require print designs that blend Korean and English. His secondary focus is website designs, coding, and CMSs.
What does brand You promise to do and why (big picture)?
Aaron promises to create the best combination of Korean and Western design and typography.
Brand Mission: What is the purpose or goal of brand You?
Aaron’s mission is to spread information, understanding, and interest in Korea to the Western world, and improve upon Korean design, technology and English usage by using Western thought and principles.
Brand Vision: What is the vision for the future of brand You? What does the future look like from a growth perspective? What are the aspirations of the leader of brand You?
Aaron’s vision for the future is to be Korea’s go-to-guy for designs that blend Korean and Western language and images.
Within 5 years, Aaron will achieve fluency in Korean and implement translation and dual-language services in designs, sites, documents, contracts, and so on.
Within 10 years, Aaron will be working consistently with Korean companies in design, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as some large companies, either as part of a Korean design firm, or on his own. He may even hire contractors to help meet demand if necessary.
Within 20 or 30 years, Aaron will be involved with investment companies and international business firms, either as owner of his own design firm, or as part of a Korean firm. His business dealings and relationships will allow international business travel between the US and Korea on a fairly regular basis.
Aaron’s aspirations are to establish himself as the foremost expert on Korean design and typography, with a healthy blend of culture and tourism thrown in.
Brand Positioning: How is brand You positioned in the market place? What’s the strategic competitive advantage of brand You?
Aaron is currently an unknown an new entity in the Korean design field. He has a deep passion for Korea and its culture, but still shallow pools of true knowledge of Korean design to bring to bear toward his vision.
His competitive advantage is that he is one of only a very few Westerners living in Korea who are talented, knowledgeable and passionate about design and Korea. Due to this, he brings a fresh perspective and ideas to the Korean design field. With one foot firmly planted in the Western world, and one foot in Korea, he is in a position to become a real asset to Korean graphic design in the future, especially as it relates to international business, relationships, and English.
Company Culture/Values: What does brand You “stand” for? What is the moral character/fiber of brand You?
Aaron stands for forward-thinking design that is both creative and original – “outside-the-box” thinking, as well as standards-based. Aaron is a strong proponent of standards and best practices for both web design and print design. He believes it is important for businesses who want to remain competitive in today’s market to stay up-to-date with the leading technologies and design standards. He makes it his responsibility to keep his clients informed as to the latest developments in website technology and design standards.
Aaron is characterized by encouraging deep respect, empathy, and understanding between all parties and cultures. His goals are to ensure solid foundations in each design and business relationship that provide level footing for both parties to be able to see eye-to-eye. He believes in honesty and open communication as well as unity and mutual understanding in design relationships and across cultures.
Who is the Target Audience of brand You? Provide details about their demographics (age range, income, education level, general lifestyle interests)?
Current demographics for Aaron’s target audience include business owners or organizational higher-ups that have some say in the design direction and marketing of their respective groups. This would generally include people aged 25-55, graduates from higher education, who make between $40,000-$80,000 per year and have money to invest in quality designs. Aaron’s current target audience also includes anyone who utilizes English in design and can speak and understand English fairly well (to avoid using a translator to prepare contracts or agreements).
In the future, Aaron will adjust his target audience to meet his increasing qualifications and experience. Within 5-10 years, he expects to target small to medium businesses, in English and Korean, and people who make between $50,000-$200,000 per year.
Who is a Club Member or Loyal to your brand, why? What essence do you evoke with these members (Brand You club)?
Customers who are loyal to Aaron are those who have previously entered into a successful design relationship with him. A successful design relationship is characterized by Aaron’s ability to deliver high quality designs in a short time to these clients that sufficiently meet the goals of the organization, as well as include a little something extra – either a bonus feature, discount, or something else the client finds beneficial. Aaron makes a focused effort to be knowledgeable, experienced, talented, and informed about any design or client he works with. He will honestly critique a situation and genuinely help as much as possible by providing resources, references, or even pointing clients to a better service provider if their needs exceed his ability to provide. Those customers who have experienced these characteristics of Aaron often consider him their “go-to-guy” for all things related to their design or tech needs. They occasionally use him as a sounding board for their ideas, or as a resource to discuss new possibilities with design or new technologies. They consider him first in fulfilling their needs and aren’t hesitant to contact him.
What are three features brand You offers over the competition, and which is the single most important one of these features?
The first feature Aaron offers over the competition is comprehensive English checking – in grammar and content.
The second feature he offers is thorough, in-depth research into his clients and their needs (often exceeding the expectations of his clients), and focused attention-to-detail in their designs.
The third feature Aaron offers is a deep interest and continuing research in typography. This is most important because good typography is foundational to good designs. Aaron’s interest in typography extends beyond the English alphabet alone and into the Korean, Chinese, and Japanese alphabets as well. He has studied the three alphabets and languages for a combined 7 years, and is incredibly interested in letterforms and their usage in design. This passion for all kinds of typography gives Aaron’s designs a strength his competitors don’t have.
What are the three corresponding benefits to these features, which is the single most important one of these benefits?
The first benefit clients reap from Aaron’s English checking feature is confidence in the usage of English in their designs. Clients who utilize Aaron for design don’t need to worry about embarrassing grammar, spelling, or context mistakes.
The second benefit clients reap from Aaron’s focused research is his deep understanding of the company, its values and messages. With these, Aaron is able to help the company better convey itself through design in order to reach their goals, their target audience, and their potential.
The final (and most important) benefit clients reap from Aaron’s knowledge of, interest in, and study of typography is a solid foundation for all of their designs. Because Aaron knows how to choose fonts that help convey messages through their letter forms, and combine typefaces to create strong designs, he is better able to bring English and Korean together in designs. In the international business world in Korea, a strong combination of Korean and English fonts in design can create a sense of trustworthiness and professionalism in a company’s target audience. Likewise, poor combinations of fonts can cause even the most prestigious business entity appear amateurish or out-of-touch with their audiences.
What are the three Key Tenets of brand You?
Aaron’s three Key Tenets are:
Clean -> Focused -> Purposeful
All his designs, research, and client dealings fall within these three Tenets.
What is the primary strength of brand You?
The primary strength of Aaron in Korea is his English. He is an experienced English teacher in Korea with a strong knowledge of the language. This is a skill that many in Korea avidly seek. Additionally, because of his English ability, Aaron has access to literally thousands of resources, educational, business, and design, in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This can be of great benefit to the right company in Korea.
What is the primary weakness of brand You?
The primary weakness of Aaron is also his English. He is often branded (by others) as nothing more than an English teacher. People come to him more for help with English grammar than for designing something. He has not established his name as a knowledgeable and talented source for design, and his lack of ability in Korean amplifies this weakness.
Who is the primary competitor of brand You?
The primary competitor of Aaron is any idiot with a computer and a copy of Photoshop (legal or pirated). Indeed, as a relatively new and unknown designer, talent and experience really make little impact on businesses looking to save a buck or score free designs. Many small businesses have little desire to pay even a reasonable wage for a skill many of them view as a commodity (partially because they don’t understand the impact good design can have on their businesses). If they can get their nephew to whip something up in a pirated copy of Photoshop for free, it seems like a much better bargain than paying a talented designer for hours of research and development that ultimately yields a single logo or design.
Therefore, Aaron’s secondary competitors are Korean designers with formal training, including university students who study design and are willing to work cheap to gain experience. These designers have resources and connections, including fluency in Korean, that Aaron doesn’t have and can target clients that would be more likely and able to offer a fair wage for design work.
Why and how is brand You different or more compelling than your competition?
Aaron stands out from the crowd of competitors by providing exceptional service, from pre-service and client contact, through post-service and follow-up. He is additionally knowledgeable and skilled with a number of essential design technologies including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, CSS, HTML, and Joomla. With his knowledge of Western design practices, web standards, website programming, and the latest technology from the Western world, (and English), he is much more compelling than his young Korean designer counterparts.
What is the unique selling proposition (USP) of brand You?
With a foot in two worlds, Aaron brings the best of the West together with the best of Korea to create compelling designs that move people to action. His love of language and typography add to his ability to fuse the equally strong English and Korean alphabets (Hangul) in design.
COMPLETE BRAND YOU STATEMENT:
Aaron is a print and web designer who’s passion for language and letter forms enable him to create compelling designs that combine Korean and English. He is an advocate for standards-based designs, particularly on the web, and utilizing updated and modern technologies to their fullest potential. Aaron is also committed to ensuring his clients reach their fullest potential by leading them through an in-depth design process – from client contact and research, to planning and implementation, to follow-up services – in order to ensure mutual understanding and the best possible service. Aaron is a talented and experienced designer who prides himself on delivering clean, focused, and purposeful designs that increase his clients’ credibility and trustworthiness in their markets.
What do you think?
Did I cover everything? Anything else you want to know? What about Brand YOU?