There’s a lot being said about personal branding, and brand management. Turning your name and your message into a brand and an identity are key to recognition, respect, status and possibly even fame, and dare I say it, the path to fortune? And those kings & queens of personal branding would be?
Well porn stars, of course! But before we get all personal, we need to get, well .. personal, actually.
We’ve all heard people describe themselves as “rock stars”, “experts” and “pros”. But the fact of the matter is, they don’t get to ascribe such notable attributes — we do, assuming those people even deserve such epithets.
Details aside, the goal is to make your name synonymous with what you do. It’s about finding the right person. It’s about the ‘S’ word. We’re talkin’ specificity, baby!
So if you were looking for Wayne Smallman, then the chances are, I’d be at the top of that list. Or at least I hope so, anyway.
Personal Branding & Brand Management by ‘blogging
The goal of personal branding and brand management is to make your name synonymous with a certain phrase, usually the very thing you think you’re good at, or what you do.
For a porn star, that’s easy. If you’re Jenna Jameson, or some other sex star .. not that I know all that many (ahem!) then she’s going to be pretty happy if she gets Joe Blogs (no pun intended) finding her website on Google with the phrase: “nekkid female pornstar” or something similar.
For thee & me, the correlation needs to be similar to that, though for topics much more mundane, but maybe not any less colourful.
For me specifically, it might be a little more intangible, since I have an angle; over on the Blah, Blah! Technology blog, I take an irreverent sideways glance at technology. I rarely concern myself with the minutia of the technology, because there’s usually a ton of people out there doing that.
Wayne Smallman is all about technology trends and technology news. I look for the story behind the news. I look for the human angle to the technology. Or, I prognosticate with oft contrived predications about where technology is leading us.
While here on the Octane blog, I impart practical business advice in the guise of a story or an allegory.
If you’re a ‘blogger and you’re keen to build your own personal brand, then you’re going in the right direction, and Darren Rowse has some ideas on personal branding from a ‘blog:
“My own philosophy on personal branding is that it needs to be approached on two fronts – a big picture and a little picture one. On a big picture front one needs to think about the larger ‘picture’ that you’re wanting to paint of yourself. You might do this by thinking about the words that you want associated with your name for example. So someone like Guy Kawasaki you might associate the word ‘entrepreneur’ or Michael Arrington it might be ‘Web 2.0’”
That’s the bigger picture, which links in nicely with what I was harpin’ on about. But then it’s the smaller scale where the wheels can come off:
“On a smaller picture / micro level I think bloggers need to consider that every action that they take has the ability to add to or subtract from their personal brand: Every Blog Post, Every Comment, Every Instant Message, Every Email…”
Which could easily read: every indiscretion, every moment of weakness, every angry tirade, every snipe, criticism and moment of pretense.
So this is a question of managing your personal brand, which is about manipulating people’s perceptions of you, nudging their ideas of you towards something akin to your own view and opinion of yourself.
You’re basically looking to create your very own Reality Distortion Field, just like Mr. Steven P. Jobs.
Always remember that the search engines don’t lie, or at least not knowingly. So those indiscretions, moments of weakness and angry tirades will be squirreled away somewhere in the dark, dank, cold recesses of some cache store, waiting to be discovered.
Sometimes, the perception people have of you is so shot through, it’s just too tempting to walk away and leave well alone. Start afresh, maybe?
Even in times such as these, it’s a chance to attack the negativity surrounding your personal brand head-on and turn that sudden infamous notoriety into an opportunity, which Neil Patel over at QuickSpout explains:
“When people start slandering your name your gut reaction is probably to ignore it and hope it dies down. The problem with this approach is that it can lead to people that don’t even know you looking at you in a negative way. Instead of just ignoring the problem you should respond to them in an apologetic fashion and let them know you are listening to them and trying to fix the problem or issue that they have brought up. By doing this you are letting people know that you are listening which might start changing their perception.
If you have had people slandering your name in the past and you ignored it, go back and respond. It is never too late to try and fix your name.”
You cannot control what people think of you, but you can influence the variables a little, influencing their perception. Be hands-on and tweak, so to speak.
Want to build brand? Give them something to remember you by!
The porn stars are usually a generous lot .. again, not speaking from any personal experience. This is all accumulated knowledge gleaned from my more broadly-travelled nephews. No, honest!
The porn stars want your money. It’s that simple. And to get your credit card details flung over the electronic ether into their merchant bank accounts, they usually flash their white bits through the odd short video clip, or in a small selection of images. It’s the old Loss Leader trick. Very much tried & tested.
So the question is: what are your white bits? Where are they? And what is their value? Well, that’s for you to decide.
Two examples in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & SEM (Search Engine Marketing) biz immediately spring to mind, those being SEO Book and SEO Egghead. They both give away oodles of knowledge, insights and tricks of their trade on a near daily basis, as well as offering books (of the electronic and dead tree variety).
For my part, I flash my white bits in the form of my own ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media, which has enjoyed a healthy number of downloads.
Why do we do this? Because we’re building brand and then managing that brand even further by way of driving the visitor towards our books, which reinforce our attempts to build a sense of authority.
The successful guys get to stand up in front of strangers and talk, stuff like that. That too is an aspect of personal branding and self promotion. It’s actually one of the best ways to promote your brand. People get to see you and interact with you personally.
And finally, if ever there was any doubt that sex sells, let me widen your cultural orifice with a brisk exchange of social fluids, and watch the following video clip for the, err .. lowdown, so to speak.
This article was first published on Octane’s sister blog, Blah, Blah! Technology, in an article entitled: “Manage personal brand like a porn star“