Do You Really Need To Be A Brand?

Do You Really Need To Be A Brand?

It’s no secret that I kind of hate what the blogging industry has become. Algorithms screwing everyone over, the fact that there is no originality anymore, and how Twitter seem to be a high school playground are just some of the few things that irritate me. After a short break earlier this year, I decided to look at blogging a different way. I’m actively trying to be the change I want to see and generally trying to care less. Which got me thinking, do bloggers really need to be a brand?

I guess we should start off by defining what a brand is

The easiest way to do this is to look at the shops you buy from. When you think about your favourite companies, it’s likely there are things that instantly spring to mind. For example when I think about Lush, I think about (or used to) colourful products, minimal packaging, celebrating alternative styles, diversity and equality. This brand has marketed themselves as a company that welcomes all. You see a Lush product and instantly recognise it. There are some bloggers out there with recognisable brands too.

Most influencer’s brands are meticulously crafted, similar and sometimes unattainable

If you take a look at some of the UK’s top influencers, you’re bound to notice some similarities. Whether it’s the similar flawless flatlays, loads of white backgrounds, or the same products being pushed, it’s becoming very tiring. There are so many smaller bloggers out there doing amazing things but not getting seen because they’re different. You only have to take a look at all of these blogger awards and you’ll see the same faces being nominated.

A lot of people have been taking to Twitter lately to air their frustrations with the blogging industry. One of the biggest things people seem to be divided on are the use of Instagram bots. There was a weekend where it just all kicked off, some people were even wrongly accused. People were frustrated by the fact that bloggers were jetting off on paid for trips and getting opportunities off of false engagement. The bots, the same boring images, promoting certain brands, it all annoyingly seems to work. Nothing will change unless we start to change.

Can having a brand be restricting?

Whilst following in similar footsteps can lead to success, I also think the downsides are starting to show. With everything that’s going on in the world, I think more people are looking to influencers. Mainstream media cannot be trusted, so this makes sense. You do take note of people you’re a fan of whether it’s for guidance or pure curiosity.

A criticism I am seeing more often is influencers not using their platforms. With the focus on young people to save us from the Tory government this coming election, people have started to call out influencers who remain silent. When things like elections and important events happen, you find that encouraging people to vote or promoting quality do not fit a lot of influencer’s brands. But here is where it gets confusing. Certain influencers have mysteriously started to write about certain topics only when they become mainstream. For example, when the news of period poverty happening right here in the UK broke, there was a sudden influx of posts/tweets from people who literally never talk about this thing. Should we be happy that they’re finally using their platform or remain skeptical? It’s a tough one. I personally just hope they continue when I see it.

On the other hand, there’s influencers who do use their platforms but irresponsibly so. Ask any smaller blogger and they will probably tell you they’ve gotten into more than one heated argument online with bigger influencers and their fans. I know I certainly have! So many people refuse to acknowledge their mistakes online and try erase any evidence of it happening. Do you want that to be your brand?

What’s my brand?

Here’s where the discussion gets uncomfortable because I’m slowly starting to hate what my brand is. When you start out as a blogger, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by what your brand should be. I’ve been blogging since 2009, but didn’t really start to attract a larger audience until 2015. I protested an advert, went viral, and became a lot more outspoken. Suddenly, my reach was growing at an enormous rate in a short space of time. I started writing about topics I didn’t see elsewhere such as: periods, sex as well as general empowering content. People seemed to love my honesty and the fact I’d call people out on their bullshit. And I guess that’s how I made a name for myself. By being some ballsy dickhead who didn’t know how to pick her battles.

So what happens when your brand is something you dislike?

I am very thankful that I have a loyal readership. Most of the problems I have with blogging and social media stem from people who don’t like me. Becoming known for arguing is not only pathetic, it’s also really tiring. I used to get tagged in other people’s fights for backup. People send me stuff that annoys me because they want my opinion on it. Readers ask me to write about subjects I know will invite abuse. It’s nice to have your opinion valued but it doesn’t mean I’m available to give it 24/7. There are some things I just know are not worth commenting on.

Just the other day, I had to delete my tweets about Femfresh as they were attracting too many horrible people. There’s bloggers who don’t even follow me who will pop up in my mentions every time I post something slightly controversial. It’s exhausting and I’m seeing people follow this pattern. It’s easy to make a name for yourself this way, but I’d say it comes at a price. The reputation you’re building isn’t always a good one and also it takes a toll on your mental health. I’ve had threads dedicated to me, abusive emails, long-time followers turn on me, you name it. It’s just not worth it anymore.

What’s my brand now?

This weekend, I worked with Kaye and she took some photographs of me. When thinking about what to wear, I asked myself what my brand is now. And I guess, it’s just me. The beauty of this is that I’m always changing, constantly evolving (I hope) into a better person. There will be things I’m always going to be known for, but I’m definitely a completely different person to who I was when I first started blogging. There are some old habits I’m trying to kick but I’m definitely a lot more comfortable with who I am these days. So I put on my favourite outfit, which of course had some form of cat print on it.

My favourite kind of bloggers are those who are unapologetically themselves

My favourite bloggers are those don’t follow the norm. Their Instagram grids are themeless, their tweets are unfiltered. They’re not afraid to nerd out on their blogs about something they’re passionate about. If they comment on drama, it’s just to add something empowering. They may do product reviews and I’m always pleased to see them do well. They may have niches, they may not. The point is they’re genuine.

So if you’re worried about whether you need a brand, I say fuck it. And if you do want to work at your brand, go for it! Honestly, do what works for you. There is no right or wrong, I just want to see more honesty and something different.

It’s about time we start reclaiming what blogging means to us and letting our content speak for itself.

 

Jacket and dress are Lazy Oaf (past season)
Photography by Kaye Ford

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28 Comments

  1. May 22, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    What an amazing post. Everything I’ve been thinking about the blogosphere, articulated into one post. As much as I love some of the more popular UK bloggers, personally I love reading smaller blogs and getting to know the bloggers behind it. Like you say, the unfiltered tweets, and using their platform wisely, I think thats amazing.

    Lucy | foreverseptember.co.uk

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Wow, thank you so much!

  2. May 22, 2017 / 10:38 pm

    Love this post – it’s given me a lot to think about and actually made me reconsider changes I was going to make. I thought I *had* to have an IG theme etc, and considered taking snaps this week to start putting it into play. But I actually like my sporadic images and just being me. I often look up to some others and think I need to be like them but thinking about it, I really don’t. I enjoy my little blog.

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      I love your brand!

  3. May 22, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    ‪Got me thinking about my own “brand” 🤔🤔 love this post x‬

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Haha sorry!

  4. May 23, 2017 / 12:53 am

    Yet another great post! I’ve always found the idea of branding myself super awkward so I’m just being me and doing my thing and if people aren’t into it that’s cool.

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      It’s so hard sometimes! I like to think I’m just myself

  5. May 23, 2017 / 8:04 am

    Ah Tara great post and I couldn’t agree more! I have no idea what’s going on in the blogosphere but it’s certainly not like it was when I first began.
    I love that through all this you have been unapologetically yourself. This is why you’re one of my faves!
    Also these pictures are amazing gal!
    iamfoxxtailz.co.uk

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  6. May 23, 2017 / 11:08 am

    OMG YAS! This is my favourite of your blog posts so far 🙂 If I’m honest, I’ve always been SO irritated by these white-out accounts that seem to gather thousands as a following- I’m not into it. It’s unoriginal. I’ve always loved colour and experimenting with my look, and if people dont like it they dont have to follow me 🙂 I’ve been thinking recently about what my brand would be- but ive kinda given up as I love Halloween and gothic shit, but cute stuff too so I’m kind of a mixed bag- I confuse myself sometimes hehe.

    You’re unapologetically yourself, and I think that’s what gives you charm. Who cares if they don’t agree? The whole mainstream thing is so true. I used to shout from the rooftops that I was feminist, but since it’s become mainstream-don’t get me wrong, I’m glad!but I feel like it’s more of a fashion statement, than a political one?

    Can I also say, YOU ARE KILLING IT in these pics! xx

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      Thank you so much!!

  7. Ciara
    May 24, 2017 / 11:03 am

    I love this and I’m excited to see your new ‘brand’ reflected in future posts. I love the orange hair btw and the cheeky lil orange links to match, I live for that shit!

    marblmoon.blogspot.co.uk

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      hehe thank you!

  8. May 24, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    This is exactly why I followed you a few months back. You are always yourself. I look forward to your opinion. I feel terrible to hear that sometimes you get some backlash, but I’m glad you spoke about this subject. There has to be some change in the blogging world. We have to become true inflencers, not people who talk about the same things over and over again. I completely agree with every word you said in this post. Keep doing you xxx

    Melina | www.ivefoundwaldo.com

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      That is so lovely to say, thank you!

  9. May 24, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    You are amazing!
    I don’t really ‘get’ the bigger bloggers. For me, as soon as someone’s Instagram becomes themed, I’m off (although I deleted Instagram from my phone a month ago!). I want to see real people, I want to hear real opinions and ideas, I want to see different experiences, and different looks, hear different thoughts. If I wanted cookie cutter bs I’d watch TV and other mainstream stuff.
    Sure, I’d love for my blog to take off, but I’m not prepared to be something that I’m not just to get that to happen. I want to be proud of what I put out there, and right now I am.
    Fwiw, I adore you because you are honest, and real.
    p.s. those photos are gorgeous!

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      Thank you for the kind words as always!

  10. June 2, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    THIS. Quite possibly one of the best posts I’ve ever read and you’re absolutely one of my favourites bloggers due to being so raw, honest and totally different to everyone else. Keep doing what you’re doing <3
    Ellis x // www.elliswoolley.co.uk

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:04 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂

  11. June 3, 2017 / 11:38 am

    Really interesting read.

    Also on another more superficial note… I’ve got serious fringe envy right now… I’ve grown mine out and you’re giving me all of the doubts!!

    http://thatfestivallife.com/

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      Thank you so much!

  12. June 5, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    This is such an interesting post! I would love to be able to have the energy to brand myself, but I’m a lazy cow so is most definitely never going to happen. Unless laziness can be my brand? Haha.

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Haha that can totally be your brand, or aesthetic at least!

  13. Ashlie
    June 7, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    I found this post really interesting. Who we are as a person is constantly changing and evolving based on each experience. Also, people can form an opinion of us/our brand based on a flippant tweet, which can be misleading. I myself used to be a bit more open, both on Twitter and on a previous blog, but when that led to abuse regarding my mental health, I shut my blog down. It’s comforting to see authenticity on a blog/on my twitter feed though- so thank you 🙂

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 11:58 am

      That is very true! I think people have judged me on previous Twitter rants haha

  14. June 20, 2017 / 1:16 am

    Realistically I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing and I probably always will be. My blog has changed a lot in 6 months, writing wise and photograph wise. I just hope I’m not going to be one of the few smaller bloggers who are becoming disregarded. I hate seeing less visitors & comments, because I love engaging with my following x

    www.sheintheknow.co.uk

    • Tara | C&CO.
      July 18, 2017 / 11:49 am

      It’s hard, but you’ve just gotta keep doing what you’re doing. Focus on your readers + what they like 🙂

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