We have a newbie in our family – which is why it’s been quiet on the blog. Now that life has settled in a bit, I think it’s time to go back to basics.
Branding is not only relevant to businesses, personal brands have been expanded and monetised for a long time – think Jamie Oliver, the Beckhams or in a crude way, politicians vying for votes.
Brands help categorise not only products, but also personalities, and as a combination of both they make us belong to our own little (or large) tribe. We all naturally brand ourselves not just by the clothes we pick, the phone we buy and the car we drive, there are also professional differentiators, such as job titles – and which company we work for.
With business social media sites the likes of LinkedIn, personal and professional branding has become more and more connected to our status in the market place.
Previous jobs, references, titles and responsibilities shape an image for those researching ‘human resources’ or useful connections for their own venture. Taking care of your image online is now high on the agenda – and it’s not down to make-up and work wear.
We have become official representatives of the businesses we are connected with, be it employers or our own. And they in turn need us to complete their own brand image. It is one big branding soup served as the market dish of the day.
Have a go and google yourself! It’s quite insightful to see what the world sees when your name comes up.
There are lots of little helpers to create a personal brand image for yourself. Depending on how you value your privacy and perhaps how ‘delicate’ you everyday life is, Facebook is one of the most known platforms. But, for a more business related approach, here are some thoughts on what to look out for:
Personal profile websites
Other useful sites to build – or check – your online brand reputation
Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking.
Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.
Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.
Many more are available and it depends on your location, your situation and your intention.
There are however boundaries to even the best attempts to brand yourself professionally – at least when it comes to insurance quotes! We work so hard on differentiating ourselves with job titles and descriptions, yet the IT systems behind the insurance broker websites don’t recognise half of them.
I have specialised in brand consultancy for many years now, combining the analysis and development of a brand strategy and visual brand identity / implementation, being, if anything, more of an art/creative director – yet I will always end up being a ‘graphic designer’ in the field of ‘marketing’. :-) I don’t mind, because at the end of the day I work with people and not form fields.
Personal branding is not about pigeon holing and it’s not about being crazy (unless there is a strategy for that) – but at the end of the day we are all professionals and the titles will only matter if someone actually has a tick box for them in their system.