Your personal brand
On LinkedIn the other day I wondered this:
“Matt wonders…what is your view of your personal business brand, and how does it fit with how other people see it?”
My friend Scott replied:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
I’m with him so far. I’ve told interns that they need to own the first organic result for their name (or buy it using a PPC campaign and add a note on the resume or cover letter that says: See my ad when you Google me).
He then goes on to give the web credit for branding:
“Here’s what the Web says: Anyone can have a Web site. And today, because anyone can … anyone does! So how do you know which sites are worth visiting, which sites to bookmark, which sites are worth going to more than once? The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust. They’re the sites where the brand name tells you that the visit will be worth your time — again and again. The brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive.”
But like all branding, the web is only one part of it.
Yes, the web allows you to extend a brand so people in Australia are exposed to it. But what’s the value?
“You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves:”
But I think that’s missing the point. You’re not Nike, Coke or Pepsi. True, he’s suggesting you think big, but I think you should think small. Think locally and optimize locally. Going back to owning Google results, consider owning “Name”, “City” in Google, and let people know that you don’t want to be the first search for “Name” for people in Australia (unless of course, you live in Australia).
Set goals for your brand. If your goal is to find work, then what is it that makes you stand out locally? Can you give an elevator speech about you?
What do people see you as? A good way to find out is to ask for recommendations from people on LinkedIn. It’s a simple way to gather intelligence from people about your brand.
Your brand is how you work. The clothes you wear, the articles you forward (or save to Delicious and share in a different way).
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