Are You Building Your Personal Brand?
Do you remember this news story? Authorities in Spain were on the lookout for a scofflaw who has proven pretty good at eluding his pursuers. While running with the bulls in Pamplona, he was caught taking a selfie on his phone as the half-ton beasts charged at him from behind, only inches away. That kind of stunt can land you a 3,000-euro fine.
Who is this bearded prankster? Just another adrenaline junkie? Probably. But what’s interesting about this guy is how he gets his fix. Does he really like outrunning a herd of raging bulls? Or does he like having his friends see him outrun a herd of raging bulls? At some point, the need to create this image seemed more pressing than the need to flee.
I’ve heard people say we’ve become our own paparazzi, but it’s more than that. We’re our own handlers too, and as such, we have to make judicious decisions.
If not for the threat of arrest, this guy probably would’ve tweeted his feat to his friends. And indeed, a photo of him IS now circulating on Twitter. Only this one’s under the hashtag, #eltonolmovil, the idiot with the mobile.
We all try to present a certain image of ourselves to the world, and (unless you’re this guy) we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. We craft our profiles on LinkedIn. We choose certain photos and comments to post on Facebook. And we Google ourselves. Years ago, TIME called that a guilty pleasure. Now it’s more of a personal and professional responsibility.
What’s your online image? It’s something you should know because you’re not the only one looking at it. At any moment, someone could Google you to find out more about you. It could be a client, a future boss, that nice-looking neighbor you met recently, or your mother. Are you presenting yourself the way you’d like?
If your vanity search turns up few hits, and they aren’t things you particularly want to be known for, you can change that.
Here are some ways to build your personal brand, and even reinvent yourself if you wish:
- Launch a personal website and use it to blog.
- Develop your profiles on Google and LinkedIn.
- Join professional clubs and serve on committees.
- Volunteer for groups that support your mission.
- Write a professional article or submit an editorial.
- Guest post. Read and respond to blogs and articles relating to your industry.
- Link those posts to your website, and build your reputation as an expert.
The Web puts us in a unique position to tell the world who we are. At the same time, it can also be pretty unforgiving as our bull runner found out. Some things appear that aren’t always in our power to remove. In that case, we just have to crowd them out with new and better information. Need some help with that? Call me and let’s make a plan!
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
– Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
photo courtesy of freedigitialphotos.net