Archive for April, 2012

Visualize Your Personal Brand

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

PD*25072086In a world with too many choices, being the obvious one in your category really isn’t that hard. You just have to stand out from the pack. In a good way.

There are lots of people with your skill set, no doubt. But, there’s no one who has your combination of personality, abilities, qualities and look: your personal brand. Even identical twins aren’t identical in every way.

The fundamental qualities that form you, drive you, and make you attractive to us are extraordinary. In other words, there is no ordinary you. There is just you.

You are an advertisement

You are almost always advertising the assets that form your brand. Now, you might not think you are advertising – after all, you’re not buying ad-words or those mean little Facebook ads.

But you ARE advertising, all the time. Just by showing up. The way you look – by photo, skype, and in-person –  showcases your stuff.

So visually speaking, are you telegraphing what you want us to take in and judge?

Yes, we are judging you.

It’s the first thing we do according to the new neuroscience literature, and exactly what your mother told you at least a decade ago. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

So, no flip-flops or tan lines if you want us to think you are hardworking (even though you can make deadline with a Corona balanced on your knee).

No white shirt and Brooks Brothers tie if you want to be our creative director (even though they’re nearly vintage from the 80’s).

No crazy do, cut and color wise, if you want to represent our line of industrial wind turbines (even if you just helped out a stylist friend at a hair show).

Want an assessment of what you look like do you?

Send a photo (under 2 MB) to me. My team will send back an expert opinion of your visual brand – and some tips on how to show up as the brand you might want to be. Email: [email protected]

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Separation Of Personal And Brand

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

5358113148_4f7480a163_zLinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and social networking sites have given you a platform for creating and managing your reputation: your personal brand.

Perhaps that’s not working for your family.

Perhaps they don’t care to read your wonky blog about the political war being waged on contraception, or don’t know why you want them to know you “like” Troy Lee Designs (unless it’s a signal for birthday gift-giving time) or might even feel they raised you wrong if you won a Porky badge for eating more BBQ than anyone else checking in on Foursquare today.

Perhaps your family knows you TOO well to learn all about you again, or as you are doling out information in the context of 2,000 or so so-called friends. Not that they don’t love you. They just know you. Really know you.

Love, actually, may be the point and the problem of social networking sites. Some of us have widened our networks to virtual strangers who are now virtual friends or at least friendly looky-loos. Real family may still crave a family-style connection, with the ease that social sites provide.

Divide into two

So, you have some new choices to make about where you go and how you spend your time online.

If you have ever told your boss that you loved her more than life itself, chances are that text was meant for someone you actually do love more than life itself. It’s just that their names both start with the same letter, and your thumbs were … all thumbs. Never again!

The new Pair app creates a social network of two. Period. Two people. You and your pair bond partner. Even better (or weirder), you can “thumb kiss.” Press your thumbs on your respective screens: feel the vibe. Literally. Your phones vibrate.

Got more than just a significant other at a distance? FamilyLeaf was founded about two months ago solely for families – in part to make it easy for older people to enjoy photo sharing – or really: photo seeing. If old folks can pick up email, then new entries to your family photo album can be emailed to them from a central place. It does mean you have to elect one family member to be the gatekeeper. I expect sibling rivalries, and old who’s-not-talking-to-who-since-the-incident-at-Connie’s-wedding problems are going to rear their ugly heads.

The point is your personal branding efforts may finally have found a natural boundary: the people you are most naturally connected to may not have to suffer being a part of your larger audience.

You all can get more private, like you might be doing with Path now. Of course, Path originally limited you to 40 close friends and soon was compelled to lift the limit to 150 (the neuro-scientifically defined outer boundary of friends, by the way).

So, while some of us yearn for more people, some of us yearn for less. And, now some of us will be trying to do it all. Two more sites and no more time? As it often happens, you may hurt the ones you love the most. What will FamilyLeaf and Pair reveal about your priorities?

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Digital Fatigue And Refreshment

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

texting-1_20110419124245_320_240Just go to my website. I’ll text you. I posted it on my FB page. I tweeted it. I found it on LinkedIn. He sent me a Branchout request. It’s on my Pinterest. I saw your 4square check-in at the gym. Did you get my email?


I may have hit the wall this week.  It could be the pace or magnitude of my work for the last few weeks. It could be that the sunshine blazed in Los Angeles. Maybe it was walking the dogs on the beach.

Sunday was my first day where I dreaded turning on a device. Any device: laptop, iPad, iPhone, and so on. I would have cut the cord but I believe in the “battery up” rule (always be charging) so cords were superfluous.

Typically I have a digital reflex when I read something interesting (the Sunday NY Times newspaper is a treasure trove), go somewhere inspiring or have any experience worth sharing (good or bad). I also have a digital reflex when too much time has passed (about 20 minutes) and I haven’t gotten real time information from friends, bloggers, news or things you can find on the Internet.

That digital reflex is a kind of perimeter check. I look for texts, scroll through email, and hit FB, Tweetdeck, Huffpo and half a dozen other places.  Once my digital perimeter is secured – do I know everything that’s going on? – then I can go radio silent for a while.

The Internet isn’t a bad habit, it’s my business.

My personal brand depends on connectivity. Yours does too. And, building a personal brand really does take checking in during the day, seven days a week. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You can be very successful on social media, if you devote just twenty minutes a day it. That’s if you have a strategy that you’re executing, rather than an “as it moves you” approach.

Because I have global clients and my output is web-dependent, my involvement is much heavier. Hence, I am constantly connecting.

So when I took out a giant sketch pad and mind-mapped the keynote speech I’m giving at the American Marketing Association for their 75th annual celebration in LA, I was shocked. I betrayed all my devices by just using paper and pen, and opened some books (real books!).

I was pitching a shut out until I wanted a dictionary definition of persuasion. Yes, I have a real dictionary. But it’s so heavy with all the words that I didn’t want to look up. Pages of them. And, I wanted to see more than one source when it came to deciding on the definition I would use.

So my urgent desire for information overpowered my electronic hangover. I turned on my laptop and got what I needed: an affirmation of the power of words: spoken or typed.

Persuasion, says

the process by which a person’s attitude or behavior, without duress, are influenced by communication from other people.

In other words, a perfect endorsement of the web.

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A Televised Three Way

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

You can’t say personal brands don’t matter everywhere to everyone. In fact, the three largest broadcast networks are betting on nothing but a battle of three personal brands to win bragging rights – and big ad dollars – early in the AM this week.

Who is facing off, where and why?

On television, which we’ve all been told doesn’t matter anymore because real-time TV is just so last decade, personal brands will compete this week for the way in which tens of millions of people kick off their day: watching network TV morning shows.

Here are the three contenders:

Katie Couric on Good Morning America. Oprah on CBS Morning News Monday. Sarah Palin on Today. And who said you had to dance, sing, lose weight or try to spear a snake with an arrow to get a crowd?

It’s a bit shocking to learn that personal brands pack an enormous wallop on one big old media form that, by the way, still dwarfs the importance of those spartan little Facebook ads, and the ever moving Google algorithms that constitute so much of today’s measurable marketers’ nightmares and workload.

How old school. Or really: how get-the-kids-ready-before-school, or the-moment-I-wake-up-before-I-put-on-my-make-up.

It is worth noting that all these women are stars because of their persistent personal branding. They parlay their personas for a living, which drives millions of dollars to them and billions in ad revenue to shows they appear on. All this desirability is based solely on whom they project they are.

What makes their brand popular?

Consider that Couric, Oprah, and Palin aren’t selling acting, writing, crafting, judging or using any other amazing skill to wow us. They each sell only an ability to project a singular, signature being.

Their brands are each different and almost equally compelling.

Intelligent, engaging, and perky.

Soulful, worldly, and giving .

Nasty, opinionated, and smug.

What do these people do for a living? They leverage the force of their compelling, encapsulated, recognizable and relentless selves. What they project is why we tune them in.

They captivate and control audiences by activating their personal branding strategies. They appear like no other individual can even hope to imitate. That is the essence of great personal brands.

Couric, Oprah and Palin are among the biggest personal brands on mass media, plus each has a huge, orchestrated online presence. The three of them are enough to create the biggest ever morning show battle of people who just talk. And weirdly, they are all close to or over 50.

So, watch and learn.

There’s nothing like a competition-crushing ratings and revenue battle to prove you’re on the right track, if you’re building your own personal brand.

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