Year in Review – Brand Baseline

Brand HealthYear in Review: Performance & Branding Health

Every December, I partake in my annual “Year in Review” process. It is based on something I hooked into previously when I got tired of waiting for Managers at the places I worked determine the fate of my future. (Chris Guillebeau, “The Art of Non Conformity” even posted a review template for everyone to use, based on his own version).  Through the process, I looked at the accomplishments and challenges of the previous year, and created Power Stories for the accomplishments (things that were uniquely attributed to me and my skills) and a Lessons learned (for course correction or elimination).

One of the key activities I do as part of that process is a yearly branding baseline blueprint. I do this to:

  1. measure changes,
  2. ensure brand & message consistency,
  3. understand my influence,
  4. understand who my power connections are and what they interact with, and finally,
  5. what has been my popular content & in which platform.

I am looking for inconsistencies, lessons learned, and power stories.  I identify what I need to adjust or take on to reach my goals.

  • More influence? (engage more on a personal level)
  • More followers? (partner with someone, expand my reach)
  • Sell my book? (create more engaging content, get more followers and build influence through some offline activities).

Bullseye Branding

To build your brand health, hit your targets (goals), and bring in more income, you first have to baseline and assess where you are, pure and simple. Be honest.

Want to build your own brand baseline, and ‘kick it old school’?

Take an 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Fold in half (top to bottom), then in half (left to right, like a little card), then in half again from top to bottom. Then unfold.  You should have 8 ‘rectangles’ to write in, 8 on each side, with 4 down the left, and 4 down the right.

Now bear with me….

The left side of your paper is the BEFORE, or your Baseline.  You will always refer back to this. The right side will be for your AFTER.  The timing to be determined by you.  If you are looking for a job or growing your business, this should be weekly.  But Monthly is good also.  Quarterly, then Yearly. The complete worksheet and excel template is coming, but I want you to focus just on completing the baseline and to make this as easy as possible, with a simple sheet of paper.

You are going to label each block going down, as LI for Linkedin (this is for the prospecting part of your brand), FB / G+ for Facebook & Google + (for the people and passion, respectively), Tw/Pin for Twitter and Pinterest (for the perspective), and finally, Youtube / Vimeo (for the promotion). On the back side, in the first block, list all the other places you are: Toastmasters directories, this website, e Harmony, Referral Networks, Business directory’s, etc.  Make sure to include your direct url for each of your profiles.

You are going to rate your PACK-Ms for each block:

Picture, Activity, Connection, Keywords, and Message.  You will score yourself for each, 1-5, 1 being the lowest 5 the highest.  I know this is all starting to sound complicated but it really isn’t.  A video will help, and I will attach it to this post in a week.

Picture: is it presentable & show personality? Rate 1-5 (1 being lowest), on the presentability of you, and if it’s appropriate for the platform. Multiply by 2 if this pic is a good one, and matches or is in a similar vein for at least 1 other outlet. You are looking for a picture that captures the essence of you and what you are about. It doesn’t have to be a suit and tie.  It should be a real picture so others can relate better to you.

Activity – How often do you post content, original content vs shared content; How often do you engage or respond to someone else; How often do you participate in group discussions or provide ‘solutions/answers’? 1 for never, 5 for more than 1x daily. Multiply your score by 2 if you consistently post original content.

Connections – look at how many connections you have: connections, likes, followers (reach), then how many interactions you have per month with those people (engagement). Divide interactions by connections and come up with a percentage. 1 = <11% 2 = 11-20 3 = 21-30 4 = 31-40 5 =>40%.

KeywordsPosts: look at & id top keywords & topics used in profile, bio, posts – are they consistent with messaging and goals? 1=no focus, 5=consistent and used throughout.

Messaging – is clear: someone can tell in 4-8 seconds what you’re about, what you stand for, what sets you apart. 1 = not clear or inconsistent, 5 = says and conveys exactly what I want about myself.

Tally the scores.

Also make sure to id / note key posts that people used, shared, commented to the most, and who your most active users / connections are.


This is your baseline for the beginning of this year, or period of measurement. Yes, most of it is subjective for the moment, but we’ll get to the harder, more accurate stuff later. And yes, there are influence measurement tools such as Klout, Brandify, etc. but they have issues, and are based on someone else’s access to part of your information and their algorithms for score calculation.

More on what to do with your baseline in the next post.

Make sure to get your baseline done.  You will be looking at/for inconsistencies, gaps, mixed messages, and ways to take advantage of your network to build a better brand. It’s obviously important to have goals and direction with this, but you need a baseline assessment first.

Take control of your brand and messaging before someone else does and stop leaving your social currency on the table.

Call me or email me – I’ll help you! This is the year all SB members make some significant progress! I am in the process of creating a workbook, class, and templates for this.  If you would be interested in a free version of it, in exchange for your review, opinion, and endorsement, shoot me an email.

To your success! Now go Raevolutionize!

All the best,



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2 Responses to “Year in Review – Brand Baseline”

  1. Domingo Rodriguez
    December 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Thanks for the great article Rae-Ann! I just happened to re-read it today and it came at a perfect time for me. I’m in the middle of creating my online presence. I’ve been busy aligning my various profiles and my website to include a clear & consistent message of who I am and what services I offer. I’ll be using your recommendations to help me in taking the next steps in my journey to being a business owner.

    • Rae-Ann Ruszkowski
      December 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks Domingo. I’m glad you happened upon it. I am in the process of doing this now again for myself, for 2014. Aligning your profiles and website to support your presence, your message, and your brand, serves a key function that often gets overlooked: when you take the time to hone your message, AND know the audience / target demographic you want to reach, you can now make sure you include keywords and key phrases that you want to be found for, and that identify you. This helps with your brand SEO. I’m going to connect with you via Linkedin shortly, so you can ask me any questions as you take steps in being a business owner. I’d be happy to help in any way.

      Congrats on taking these next steps! Thanks for leaving the comment.