Personal Branding Is Not An Option – It’s Crucial To Success

More layoffs. Giving back bonuses. Fewer work days to save the company from firing people. Doing the job of the three people that were let go in your department. Not hiring the five people you were thinking about hiring. Trying to find a job in this climate…

Whether you are an employee in a big, medium or small business, or an entrepreneur, or about to enter the workforce, never has it been more important to understand the power of having, maintaining and developing a strong personal brand. Never before has there been more ways for you to connect and build your personal brand through digital channels.

Never has a simple search on Google been able to tell us more about a person, who they are, what they do, and why they matter.

What does Google say about you?

If brands matter more than ever (and they do, just ask Apple, Starbucks andTwitter), then the ability for individuals to build a personal brand has never been more important. Maybe the idea of "branding yourself" seems ridiculous. It’s not. It’s a subject that famed management guru and author of the best-selling business book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters, first tackled in 1997 for an article in Fast Company magazine titled, The Brand Called You.

"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. … You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike,Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop… To start thinking like your own favourite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times."

Peters gave us the beginning of an insight: like big corporate brands, all of the people we connect with have some kind of similar emotions and thoughts when they think about us as people. That mental tattoo that our personas and reputations create in their mind’s eye is the essence of our personal brand.

But Peters wrote this in a world where individuals were limited by how they could spread their personal brands Рthe Internet was just taking its commercial shape in 1997. Now, in a world of Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, our personal brands are resonating 24-hours-a-day, and the content we put in there and link to says more about who we are, as individuals than any one-page resum̩ ever could.

There’s a small caution.

People working on their personal brand sometimes seem a little snake-oil salesy-like. They would state that they were working on their personal brand in a way that made it look like they were trying too hard. They were the same kind of people who manoeuvred through the local chamber of commerce event dumping business cards in any available and open hand No need to be that person.

The amazing thing about developing your personal brand online in social networks and by blogging, is that you can hone in on connecting with those that have shared values and similar interests.

One of the best places to get started is a search engine. Start looking for blogs in your industry, and start following some of the more notable people on Twitter. After you get a feel for the type of content people are publishing, you can dip you toes into the personal branding waters by leaving comments on those blogs or spaces. You can even go neck deep and start your own blog to demonstrate your own, unique, perspective.

Personal branding and the new media space creates a unique and mutually beneficial relationship. Anyone can express who they are to the world. And, if you’re not sure what you have to say that is unique and different, just remember the immortal words of Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for the Montreal Gazette andVancouver Sun newspapers called, New Business – Six Pixels of Separation. I cross-post it here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:

Montreal Gazette – Personal branding is not merely an option – it’s crucial to success.

Vancouver Sun – The importance of your personal brand.

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The End Of Big Website Builds

If you thought fragmentation was changing the way a brand buys media, just wait until you see what it’s going to do to the Digital Marketing space.

Are the days of big websites and long website builds numbered? It could well be. If you think about how people find and connect to most brands, it’s not just through a search engine anymore. In fact, more and more people are having their first brand interaction on their mobile device. There are many people who are also connecting to brands for the first time in spaces like Twitter, Facebookand YouTube.

Does this mean that the website is going the way of the dodo bird?

Not exactly, but it does mean that the overall Digital Marketing strategy is going to change dramatically in the next little while. Instead of one, big and centralized website with many digital marketing outposts in the appropriate platforms, it is more than likely that we’re going to see more and more brands create multiple spaces and platforms to ensure that they’re connecting with the right people in the right communities.

Imagine a world…

Where a Digital Marketing strategy focuses less on one big website and more on creating engaging "things" like iPhone apps, a mobile website, a Facebook page along with a Blog (or whatever), and it’s all supported with a simple website that acts more like a hub for all of the other spokes. Yes, there are some (only a few) brands already playing with creating Facebook pages in lieu of micro-sites for promotions and experiential marketing initiatives, but it has not become a commonplace activity where you find a brand doing multiple things in multiple channels and focusing less on driving consumers to their marketing-riddled jargony websites.

It becomes a more complex Digital Marketing play.

The "game" used to be about always driving people back to your own, controlled, website, and the truth is that the more vibrant community for a brand may be happening more through a mobile app or online social network platform… or something else or something in addition to it. Does this mean we need to trim websites back to WordPress Blog-shaped platforms or micro-site sizes? Not really, but it does mean that if a brand’s vibrant community is happening in a place like Facebook, they won’t have much control or ownership over the content, but they might be able to do things (in terms of connecting and growing that community) that they could not scale to with a big, towering website of their own.

This is just further proof that the conversations are everywhere (and maybe not where we always want them to be).

The End Of Big Website Builds

If you thought fragmentation was changing the way a brand buys media, just wait until you see what it’s going to do to the Digital Marketing space.

Are the days of big websites and long website builds numbered? It could well be. If you think about how people find and connect to most brands, it’s not just through a search engine anymore. In fact, more and more people are having their first brand interaction on their mobile device. There are many people who are also connecting to brands for the first time in spaces like Twitter, Facebookand YouTube.

Does this mean that the website is going the way of the dodo bird?

Not exactly, but it does mean that the overall Digital Marketing strategy is going to change dramatically in the next little while. Instead of one, big and centralized website with many digital marketing outposts in the appropriate platforms, it is more than likely that we’re going to see more and more brands create multiple spaces and platforms to ensure that they’re connecting with the right people in the right communities.

Imagine a world…

Where a Digital Marketing strategy focuses less on one big website and more on creating engaging "things" like iPhone apps, a mobile website, a Facebook page along with a Blog (or whatever), and it’s all supported with a simple website that acts more like a hub for all of the other spokes. Yes, there are some (only a few) brands already playing with creating Facebook pages in lieu of micro-sites for promotions and experiential marketing initiatives, but it has not become a commonplace activity where you find a brand doing multiple things in multiple channels and focusing less on driving consumers to their marketing-riddled jargony websites.

It becomes a more complex Digital Marketing play.

The "game" used to be about always driving people back to your own, controlled, website, and the truth is that the more vibrant community for a brand may be happening more through a mobile app or online social network platform… or something else or something in addition to it. Does this mean we need to trim websites back to WordPress Blog-shaped platforms or micro-site sizes? Not really, but it does mean that if a brand’s vibrant community is happening in a place like Facebook, they won’t have much control or ownership over the content, but they might be able to do things (in terms of connecting and growing that community) that they could not scale to with a big, towering website of their own.

This is just further proof that the conversations are everywhere (and maybe not where we always want them to be).

How important is reassurance!

While travelling today in the morning local train plying between Chatrapati Shivagi Terminus and Panvel, seated cozyly in my seat of the First Class compartment, listening to my music collection playing on my ipod.
We were at one of the many stations and the announcement goes “…. aas paas ke jagah dekhke baitehn…” (All passengers are requested to check their surroundings and fellow passengers when they board the train…. bla bla…)
Just as usual I didnot pay much attention to it…. but, all off a sudden an involuntary action occurred.. and I bent down to have a look below my seat.. and images of the 2007 train blast hit my mind…. Its then that I understood that how reassurance make the difference to a general public…. just like me even if 10 people in a train population of 1000, have looked around or been cautious it make a lot of difference…. most of the time we do not pay heed but some one would be… and all this was done by mere repetation of the
announcement…
similarly when we look into most popular brands in India or on the global arena, we find a similar effect.
All brands that have been hammering their name and idea have done well in the market.
If you happen to disagree with my views please comment on the same.