Mastering The Uncomfortable Art Of Personal Branding [Fast Company]

This article originally appears here on
BY Amber Mac | 03-09-2012 | 11:00 AM
Whether interviewing for a job or making a presentation, weaving a strong personal narrative could be the one thing that keeps you on top. Here are a few tips to turning on your personal branding story without turning off your audience.

I was recently chatting with an up-and-coming professional speaker about some of the best presenters I’ve seen on stage. I immediately launched into an unplanned sales pitch for Gary Vaynerchuk, or Gary Vee, as many of us know him online. Within minutes I was citing important milestones in Vaynerchuk’s life, such as his pre-school move to the United States from what is now known as Belarus, his experience operating a number of lemonade stands when he was just eight years old, and his college years working in his parents’ liquor store. After I walked away from the conversation, I tried desperately to recall when I had seen the bestselling author speak, or more importantly, if I had ever met him in person.

While I have chatted with Vaynerchuk a few times over Skype, I slowly realized that I have never been in the same room as him (but have watched quite a few of his keynotes on YouTube). Nonetheless, here I was, a thousand miles away from where the well-known entrepreneur lives, spouting off personal details about his life. Yes, Vaynerchuk has achieved a long string of professional milestones in his career, but what makes many of us feel as though we know him is the stories he regularly shares about his life, including moments like this passionate rant from his airplane seat 30,000 feet in the air.

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Personal Brand Workbook

Today, we begin Phase 2 of the class – this is where you’re forced to document those things you’re supposed to have been thinking about yourself. Last year’s class received the PWC Branding eBook, but your class will be one of the first to use the new PWC Personal Branding Workbook and Master Plan.

For class today, we will go through the Workbook, in detail, so you can spend this week (and next) working on it. Wednesday, I will give you the Master Plan – but you NEED to have completed your Workbook to even be able to fill out your eventual Master Plan.

I realize that Spring Break is next week. Coincidentally, this gives you a perfect chance to consider all of this before you do something stupid while on break.

Here’s a PDF of the Workbook. Download it and follow-along while documenting answers to each section separately, or print it out – if you need to – and simply write your answers to each section right on the Workbook itself.

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Want a Better Relationship With Consumers? First, Know Your Brand by Rance Crain [AdvertisingAge]

Why Most Companies Have Fallen Asleep at the Wheel

Rance CrainOver the holidays I got an email from a radio-marketing executive in India about one of my columns, headlined “Advertising is business, not a holy war.”
Rishikar Krishna, group manager-marketing at Radio Mirchi in Mumbai, agreed with my premise that advertisers seem to be going out of their way to avoid the grubby job of selling.

“Just look at the way awards are being given out at the various advertising festivals,” Mr. Krishna wrote. “Ogilvy’s concept of an advertisement that sells has been devoured by the so-called need of recognizing ‘creativity’ and originality of an idea.”

Mr. Krishna sent me a photo of a banner on a liquor store reading: “On account of New Year free liquor will be served between 8-9 p.m.” Such an ad, he said, “is bound to draw footfalls and in turn increase sales, but it will never be [honored] at any award forum. And hence the pursuit of a higher calling continues.”

The aesthetics of the banner ad Mr. Krishna sent me might not be out of the ordinary, but you must admit the proprietor has taken firm control of his brand.

Truth in marketing? Capital One’s past business practices speak louder than ads.
I agree with the premise of Bob Garfield’s Jan. 2 piece for Ad Age: The core value of a brand must be real and sustainable, and everyone in the company must believe it. The trouble with advertising philosophies like those of Lovemarks and Humankind is that they let consumers decide what a brand stands for. Bob’s thesis is that its stewards throughout the company must take control.
There’s nothing new about any of this: It’s believing in what you sell, and selling with conviction.

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Wall Street Journal: The Art of Online Portraiture

This article by CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN originally appears here on the Wall Street Journal Online

Social-media profiles are increasingly important in building your business identity. “It’s a hugely powerful branding tool—and you have to be very strategic about building it,” says Nicole Williams, connection director for LinkedIn.

A key component is the profile picture. The New York City-based Ms. Williams, who primarily splits her time among three social-media sites—Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn—says it is crucial to strike the right tone.

First, you should have a profile picture. LinkedIn research shows that a page with a profile picture is seven times as likely to be viewed as a page without one, she says.

Think of these pictures as the modern-day version of the oil paintings that estate owners once commissioned. The smallest details in them will convey volumes. It’s best, Ms. Williams says, to have your profile picture feature you alone, not your pet or significant other. “Being so strongly identified with your dog or your husband might not be appropriate unless you’re a vet or a marriage counselor and that’s part of your professional image.”

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