Posts Tagged ‘Linkedin’

Personal Brands: You Texted Who?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

textingMy very good friend and client, who is a corporate team-building trainer, celebrated her birthday last weekend – really celebrated it. With a half-dozen equally hot, smart and funny women in a limo, cruising from club to club, she rang in her personal new year getting smashed. She was ripe for it, since she is almost always the designated driver.

What happens in text, doesn’t always stay only on your phone

Who knew this typically suited up, buttoned down professional could ride a mechanical bull that way? Who knew she was a former gymnast and could easily ace the can-you-pole-dance challenge?

She used her smart phone to help those of us who couldn’t make it, enjoy the show. She captured her hi-jinks in photos, and texted them with a hysterical running commentary of what she was doing – and what she was thinking.

Smart phones are not so smart

Unfortunately, it turned out she really wasn’t thinking. And, the phone? Turned out it isn’t so smart.

Guess who got the texts, along with her inner circle, the crowd of would-be revelers rooting her on? A client.

Enough said.

Did you have that sinking feeling in your stomach? Have you done it? Join the crowd.

Personal brands: the smart phone is a weapon of self-destruction.

So many of us have been DWT – drunk while texting, there’s a new website that’s becoming a Wikipedia of oops-by-text.

To contribute your personal favorites: Text TFLN

In a kind of drunken-texters anonymous, you may now report on yourself, or any one of your contacts. You’ll be contributing to a community that sinned in the same way or been on the receiving end of a sinful text.

There’s not yet a phone app to stop you from betraying yourself, but there is something for the nights when you are drunk with your laptop. It’s Webroot’s new Firefox plugin called “The Social Media Sobriety Test.” The service is aptly described by its tagline, “Nothing good happens online after 1 a.m.”

Before you can Facebook or Tumblr away your dignity, the service intervenes with a short test – like typing the alphabet backwards – to block or unblock your access to your reputation. Undoubtedly, we are just a short while away from a mobile app.

The reputation app

From my fiefdom of business communication, I hope the next killer app will scan our texts and emails for anger, stupidity and any other “quality” we’d like to keep from contaminating our personal brand images.  Won’t it be great to have a “suggest changes” function that proposes phrases that instantly transform rude into concerned, and dumb into curious? Way more valuable than spell check.

Until then, figure out a method – maybe the old sleep on it before you send it – to act as your thought police.

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Personal Brands: Did You Trick or Treat?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Lady-gaga-corsetInhibitions are gone when the costume is on.

Last Sunday night, you may have taken on a new identity in search of a pillowcase filled with candy. Or, perhaps like 52 million adults, you dressed up in search of a romantic partner in a bar filled with Lady Gagas and Jersey Shore’s Snooki. Those were number one and number two, among the most popular costumes this year.  Given that those two look like it’s Halloween every day of the year, and the endless celebration of their characters (not character) we endure, how could they not be top of mind as you exchange your identity for something bigger, better, or perhaps radically different than you are?

Getting into character

My parents took my sister and me to the theater often, starting way back when they were a young married couple in Manhattan. It was the Mad Men era, or more accurately the time of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit as author Sloan Wilson sketched the lives of discontented businessmen and their cinched-waist wives. As their children, we were dressed up in miniature versions of that era’s women, with tiny white gloves, small hats and shirtwaist dresses over crinoline slips.

Despite the fact that we were just barely getting by financially, or perhaps because of it: we literally dressed up for an evening of theater. Nothing about being poor then or its stepsister “broke,” ever, has undermined that legacy of a not minor amount of glamour being de rigueur on occasions.

Up until June this year when my mother died, there was never a meeting, presentation, seminar, brunch or evening out where we failed to have the “dress up” Q&A. She would ask, “What did you wear?” And, with all the hopefulness of a person who did everything she could when she was still in charge, came her follow-up query, “Did you put lipstick on?”

My DNA often shows itself when you see me during the occasions where I am on-purpose. I dress in “costume” for keynotes, seminars, and meetings and just about anytime it would serve my standing to look smart. Because it is smart to get into character – which shows your character – when you are creating and taking full advantage of opportunities that make the difference between your getting the gig or applause, or not. I put on a smart-looking suit or dress, and I put on make-up. Recently, I spurge on getting my hair done, since my audiences are increasing larger and so are their expectations, plus there are cameras that record my every word and wrinkle.

As a career coach, I am meeting way too many people who haven’t yet leveraged everything they have, to get everything they want. Now is the time to expand on your brand. Personal Brands: dress the part. That will help you “get over yourself.” That will get you beyond being self-conscious about promoting yourself, and doing it relentlessly.

Are you one of the amazing and worthy people who can’t stand talking about your own brand? With nearly every new coaching client I am compelled to say:

“Okay, if you can’t bear to promote yourself to people who are the gatekeepers to what you want: stop thinking this is about YOU. Think of YOU as a product, something you must package attractively, since you are the ‘product specialist.’ Deal with being a personal brand, because you are also the brand manager.”

Some people have an awfully debilitating “aw shucks” attitude, preventing themselves from presenting a highly polished image, gleaming with strengths and achievements. They don’t see themselves as a proud and hopeful inventor and investor, who birthed and reared this brand – and now deserve the riches that come from other people “buying it.”

Dress the part

Personal brands: if you do only one thing differently as Q4 2010 reels toward its end, dress up for the role you want to play in business. Get a jacket and tie on (it looks cute on women, too), get a good haircut, and gender appropriately wear lipstick or lip balm.

As my grandfather once said, “First they look, then they listen.”

Staging yourself to “look the part” may feel like a trick, but you will love the way you get treated.

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Personal Brands: Anti-Social Media

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Bad EmployeeApparently, it is impossible to police every member of your company when it comes to stopping rude, disgusting, or ridiculous behavior. I think it’s fair to say that no matter what policies your management establishes, there are some people who remain too depraved or too stupid, or simply have too much time on their hands.

And, I don’t mean entry-level employees, junior managers, the wacky creative people, or the account executives on the road. Those are the usual suspects when we think of poor social media behavior, or the dark elves who forward off-color jokes and send pornography from company owned computers. We constantly lecture low-level and mid-level employees about what you may email or post, since everything becomes public at some point in time.

Of course, pundits like me worry aloud that your personal brand is permanently corrupted because you’re tagged dancing with a bear in Cabo.

They walk among us

Well, stupid is an equal opportunity employer. Sometimes, it’s the guy at the very top that ruins it for everyone. Consider Randy Michaels, CEO of the Tribune Company – at least until last Friday.

Michaels created a “fraternity house” culture. Sounds like a fun big brand to link up with your personal brand, huh? No. At least not for women, and anyone with a sense of decency – much less the laws about creating a hostile work environment.

Just in case the Tribune Company, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection for two years and is crushed by a failed $8.2 billion buyout, doesn’t have enough real problems, we now have bad behavior at the very top, dripping down.

“A top lieutenant sent an internal memo with an Internet link featuring a racy video that included a bare-breasted woman pouring booze down her chest. The executive, Lee Abrams, resigned as Tribune Co.’s chief innovation officer,” per the Huffington Post, Friday, October 22, 2010.

With a title like “chief innovation officer,” you’d guess that social media and marketing and online distribution had to be part of Abrams’ assignment. Well, he clearly understands the concept of an email campaign. He just has no judgment when it came to the content of an email campaign.

The Tribune Co. publishes the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and owns more than 20 radio and television stations.

Reputation woes

Here’s why Michaels and Abrams ruin it for all o f us. Our news outlets are shrinking. Every major news operation has cut back and many have folded. That means we know less and less about what is going on around the world, in our own countries and in our communities.

Could there be a worse time to put the US on a news deprivation diet? No. In the face of the historic credit meltdown that we served up for the world and the evils we face: terrorism in Europe, genocide in the Congo, someone who claims she was a witch before running a neck and neck race in Nevada with the current Senate Majority Leader in the US Congress…..well, the list is pretty long when it comes to what we need to know that we can’t see with our own eyes. That would require news, real news.

I was hoping that Jon Stewart, tweets in Iran, and the Ashton Kutcher-Demi Moore family were not going to be the funnels through which I understood the world.

But with morons at the top of two major US newspapers sending pornography to each other rather than working on staying solvent, I’m now getting my news from Tweetdeck and the Daily Show.

Personal brands: you are often accused (sometimes by me) of forgetting how you hurt your reputation as well as the companies you work for, when you act imprudently.

That doesn’t mean your brand has to include prude. It just has to rise about emailing pornography, apparently. 

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Personal Brands: Time to LICK Q

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

cat-licking-his-lips-and-nose-photographic-print-19418381Last evening, I delivered my signature personal branding keynote to 300+ people. My signature topic is: The Ugly Truth About Your Reputation. Because this audience is so diverse in terms of careers and use of social media, I developed a simple four attribute model we all can use to measure, create and manage our personal brands.

Four attributes

I’m calling it the LICK Q model, because that is the perfect acronym to sum up the values of all the factors. Q stands for quotient – as in intelligence quotient (IQ).

So what is your LICK Q? Judge for yourself. The attributes are:

  • Like-ability
  • Intelligence
  • Communication
  • Kick in the Head

Let’s take one at a time.

LIKE: Do we like you? We might respect you, fear you or have to share a wall with you – but that doesn’t mean we like you. People who are likeable are accessible, sunny, interested in others, have a natural generosity, make sure there’s rarely a conversation that’s a one-way street, have charisma, are self-respecting, engage in work and play they find compelling, and make other people feel good.

       I have hundreds of FB friends. I really like 7 of them. You know who you are. Others are okay or just plain boring. Some whine. One is so self-congratulatory as to be insufferable. Before their appearances on FB, I kinda liked them all. Now, as our personal brands play out by our own hands, we’re finding out whom we would throw out of the lifeboat first.

INTELLIGENCE: Do we think you are smart? Intelligence in social media plays out as your ability share an original thought. At least find a new quotation source and stop beating us over the head with what Zig Ziglar said in 1955. My apologies, once again, to the Ziglar family.

       It’s not only your ability to pundit in your area of expertise. How often do you go to a different tribe and bring new perspective to the curly-haired or women over 40 looking for romance? Think about it. Do you apply what you know in a way that engages us in novel thinking?

COMMUNICATION: Is it easy for us to understand what you have to say? Do you use word pictures, metaphors, analogies, alliteration, and reasonably good grammar? Can you spell? Do you write with a degree of appreciation for the space and forum? Crisply making your case is not just for Twitter or any other limiting media. We all adore the people who let a photo and a caption speak for them.

       Are you over-communicating? One quarter of the people I know from social media, I know a little bit too well. No one needs to know what your baby came up with that landed on your shirt before you left for work.

KICK IN THE HEAD: That’s personal branding at work. Have you created a persona so clear, crisp, consistent, and compelling – and done it relentlessly as you move from social media to phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and presentations – that the moment I seek an answer, consultant, employee or supplier that’s anything close to what you do: I feel a kick in my head that has your name ramming into it?

       Everyone needs a kick in the head once in a while. It means we are shaking up the old solutions and searching for the new. That’s your opportunity in so many instances, if you’ve been all about personal branding.

Your LICK Q is in Your Hands

The ugly truth about your reputation is that you are now the architect of it. There is no one else to blame. If you are not demonstrating all four attributes, get on track and stay on track. The beauty of social media is with every post, blog, tweet, update, and comment you can restructure our opinion of you.

Personal Brands, succinctly put: do we want to lick, growl, howl or bite you?


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Personal Brands: Stop, Stop, Stop

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

1209407_stopAt the Personal Branding Bootcamp I ran at UCLA this last weekend, we focused more on crafting an authentic and compelling brand promise than we did on the tactics of social media and other ways you relentlessly go about letting the world know who you are.

Having given the inaugural camp six months ago, it occurred to me that we keep on you to blog, post, update your FB status, tweet, retweet and direct message, write a book, write an ebook, get subscribers, produce a slideshare presentation, get a blogtalkradio show going, get your video channel on YouTube and your photos on Flckr, take a head shot, and create a profile on 400 social media sites, plus make 4 million connections by the third degree of separation on LinkedIn. But we rarely talk about formulating your brand.

We presuppose you have a personal brand like we presume you have a belly button.

What is your brand?

But that’s simply not the case for the great majority of people who are being thrust into social media. I know there’s a school of thought that says to throw the baby in the pool and it will learn to swim by necessity, but we know that’s not true. Why are we immersing you in dangerous territory that writes your reputation with indelible ink on servers around the world that forever hold your worst moments?

We should be helping you reveal who you are: values wise, skills wise and otherwise.  We should help you identify your tribes and their unmet needs, and see your competition.

Instead you’re encouraged – actually threatened – that if you don’t get on now (or any one of the 4,000 new networking sites that will rear their content sucking monster heads soon), you’ll never be Chris Brogan who leapt onto Twitter really early on and now has 156,433 followers! Of course, he is forced to see the tweets of the 139,811 people he follows. And, he’s had to come up with 75,125 tweets.

75,000 thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve had 75,000 thoughts since Twitter debuted! And, I’m getting married soon, so how would I come up with enough appetizers for 140,000 people, even if I did the tacky thing of making it a cash bar? If you do a wedding tweet-up, undoubtedly people will expect refreshments!

All by way of saying: stop being afraid that all the good personal brands are taken, you’ll never have a dot com and be stuck with a dot biz, or no one will ever hire you if you don’t have a video resume streaming from a drupal site you designed and manage yourself.

Just slow down and start with the first big question you must answer before you can create your brand. This question stumped most of my bootcampers, so you don’t have hit the buzzer and shout out an answer. It may take time.

When I say to you:

“I have the perfect opportunity for you!”

What is it?

Then consider:

Who has it?

Who competes for it?

What makes you the ideal thought-leader and lucky person who gets to do exactly what you want because it suits you so perfectly?

What additional steps, skills and qualities do you need to embody so you are ready?

Or in a nutshell: You are getting a lifetime achievement award. What it’s for? That’s your personal brand.


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Personal Brands: Surprise! You Are What You Like

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

facebook-likeFacebook’s advertising model is astounding – not only because major brands actually buy those ugly little ads that stick on the right hand side of your wall. It is hard to believe the power of that little block photo and 160 characters.

What’s really astounding is how FB has engineered the trajectory and value of those mean little ads. They do it simply: by leveraging your reputation and your good name: your personal brand.

Facebook’s magical money machine is all in its signature “Like” button. Facebook isn’t selling advertisers on the likelihood you’ll buy something. Its click through rate is 1/10th of one percent versus Google’s nearly 10% of audience reached. The goal is getting your permission (without your realizing it) for the brand to announce to your Facebook friends that you endorse it. If your personal brand has taken off, you are in effect co-branding with no share of the profits.

For advertisers, this instant and free viral marketing they crave like vampires crave blood, winds up out of your hands and onto your wall. That’s how easily you become a brand evangelist.

It’s kind of like smoking or any of the other dumb things you did, which your parents credited to the other kids you hung out with. Peer pressure has a new name: it’s called “Like” on Facebook. In fact, all around the web you now find the familiar “Like” button showing up. You can give almost anything your endorsement, worth lots to advertisers and they get it as your gift.

You often do this unwittingly, changing the meaning of your personal brand by just a click or two or more.

An ad orchestrated around your profile gets more than your mere endorsement. Word of mouth or buzz from personal sources remains the number one predictor of purchasing. With the “like” feature, you create buzz with one button. No more emailing a funny ad around or sending people to YouTube. All the muss and fuss of your communicating what you think is funny, smart or otherwise likable, is now in Facebook’s hands.

All of that is free to the advertiser. As an endorser, you don’t get to sign an agreement with each brand and you don’t get paid.

If you’ve clicked on them, you know the ads are low on message and high on short engagement experiences. They are polls, contests, and other ways you can waste your time (at least 6 hours a month on average).

What’s bad for your time management is great for consumer behavior. We know involvement greatly increases the likelihood of your passing around a good word (or in this case, the most important element of your personal brand: your good name).

As you’ve seen on your wall, you can now “Like” an ad just like you like a friend’s post or photo. That’s why “Like” is so powerful – because it’s so incredibly effortless on your part. “Like” started out as a way to kind of back slap a friend, with just one click. That’s way faster than actually  composing a three word “Comment.”

Now you can “Like” ads, which lets your friends now you’re still alive, but not awake enough to actually post something.

This new “Like” function explodes the number of people who learn about a brand or ad offer, because your friends see your name attached to it on their walls, and they are then likely to “Like” it for their friends.

“Molly Jo likes Cheerios” is the big innovation. Via that caption Facebook turns a cheap, bad ad into a viral juggernaut for the advertiser. As your endorsement goes out on your friends’ walls, more join in because, after all, friends are very influenced by their friends.

Personal brands, remember you are not getting paid in any way for your becoming a spokesperson for all these other brands.

Facebook is the broker for your co-branding arrangement, every time you “Like” something. You are a powerhouse of persuasion because your name has cachet with your friends (and their friends). Advertisers exploit your personal brand, as your halo casts a gleam on their brand.

So, if you are not getting paid: why are you liking something “out loud” to your friends? For personal brands who relentlessly connect audiences to the stable and coherent meaning of who we are and what we represent: we dilute the power of our brands every time we “Like” something that obscures the message about ourselves.

Surprise! Personal brands: we will now become what we “Like” on Facebook and the web. This is fast, easy and dangerous.

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Personal Brands: Social Engineering by Social Media

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

ist2_3809540-blue-sky-handshakeFacebook is changing the way you can reject requests from prospective “friends.” You’ll click on “Not Now,” which replaces the “Ignore” button. That puts them in Facebook purgatory, under a category called “Hidden Requests.” The person requesting your friendship will see their status as, “Awaiting Friend Confirmation.”


Over time, they’ll think you are just too darn busy to get around to the one click that bridges them from Siberia to a place in your heart. I’m sure they’ll understand.


In addition, you can kick them to the curb by clicking on “Delete Request” and with one more click, you can rat them out by alerting Facebook that you don’t know the person. This blocks them from ever again requesting your friendship.


I can only imagine the havoc this is going to play with the high school set, where the new girl at school is awkward and unfriend-worthy this semester, but hot and popular next year. And, the weird guy who winds up the next Bill Gates is someone you blackballed when you were 15.


The goal is to limit people who aren’t your friends from reaching out to you. Truth is, most Facebook friends aren’t your real friends, if you have been using social media for your personal branding.


Facebook hi-jacked the word “friend” to mean something completely different now than what it has meant for centuries. You now are friends with people you want to influence, keep up to date on your goings-on, get gigs or referrals from, and occasionally amuse with photo of you at a rest stop along your ride across country.


You hopefully have some authors, thought-leaders, and other people whom you aspire to know – or like me, you’re often on the other side of that equation. You are building up a cadre of “friends” who can evangelize your personal brand.


Facebook re-engineered our society by calling anyone “friend.” Kind of like Mr. Rogers, may he rest in peace.


All social networks have in some way conducted social engineering we embrace. On Twitter you have “followers,” which assigns each of us to a pathetic, wannabe rock star or guru persona. Still having “followers” is better than other choices, like: “groupies,” “hangers on,” or “posse.” Although, given the chance I would be in Guy Kawasaki’s posse.


From the start, Facebook’s choice of “friend” was a catchy, clique-y moniker to assign to the abundance of near strangers who asked or responded to request for social media friendship. Prior to social media, the only longstanding group of friends I knew involved Jennifer Aniston and company. The friends never outgrew each other. They never said, “I just can’t bear having another cup of coffee exploring how tidy Monica is and how dim Joey is.” That’s what being paid a million dollars an episode will do for you.


Facebook also re-engineered our lives by assigning each of us a wall, plus access to almost anyone whom we could invite to read it or write on it.


Would we have signed up in legions if Facebook requests funneled someone into asking if they could make our “acquaintance?” Remember back in the day, when you shook someone’s hand and they said, “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance?”


Almost everyone we know is a de facto acquaintance. If you have one good friend in life, you are blessed. But enough reality.


Personal brands: Be careful whom you kick to the curb or condemn to “Awaiting Friend Confirmation” status. As your career and reputation grows, some hugely important people or up and coming experts may reach out to you. Even among strangers whose requests you field, be careful whom you put in the cooler. You don’t know whose brother or mother is your next investor, employer, publisher, producer and whatnot.


Keep your Facebook page filled with updates, images, stories, links and aphorisms that intentionally reflect your personal brand. And be wise with your newly awarded power to say: Not Now.

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Personal Brands: Your Amazing Race

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

hellokittyHave you joined the rat race? Are you spending your days chasing other people’s goals, working other people’s hours, living someone else’s life?

Do your credit card debts or student loans or both; now define what you do and how much you do it for? Or is it some other obligation, like simply earning a living to gain back some dignity after returning home to the parents you once left with hopeful abandon?

Have you stacked up a bunch of mindless diversions or substances or both to make your off time tick by in slow motion? Are you a fan of sleep? Is foggy an attribute of your personal brand? Or does irritable suit you better.

Behaving just like a rat

There’s a reason we call it the rat race. It’s when you feel locked in a maze, bumping up against walls, scratching your way toward a small reward.

For the rodents among us, I hope you get your cheese. Sorry if someone moved it. There’s a Spencer Johnson book that helps you stop caring where it is. I may be wrong because I read it a long time ago, but I think his advice is to just keep running.

Personal brands: consider a different track with a different trajectory and a different outcome.

Design your own amazing race.

Make a life list. Never stop adding to it.

Start off with a blank Word doc, the notes function on your phone or – my favorite – a spiral bound notebook with a cover that represents the best part of you. If you know me, you know that my notebook cover is Hello Kitty.  Her personal brand is uplifting, chic, funny, and sometimes dark. So is mine.

Write down everything your head or heart desires. Put in experiences, adventures, access to important people, travel, occupations, friendships, and if you must: stuff.  I’m not big on visioning boards filled with photos of yachts and big houses, because I’m not sure they represent the feelings you actually want. Dealing with broken pipes and watching the deck peel isn’t really the good life.

Want to write a book? Put that in. Want to end hunger or homelessness? Put that in. Want to speak at TED? Put that in. Want to meet a life partner who takes away all the pain and anxiety of the single life?  In. Want to remain single with the freedom and excitement to engage in new romances? Also in.

Your amazing race

Your amazing race will be different than anyone else’s – although you are sure to meet the right people if you put yourself in the right places. That’s whatever is right for you.

Personal brands: take it solo or find a run buddy. Get ready, set, and go.

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