Posts tagged personal brand

Personal Branding. Brought to you by American Idol

They each have a distinct brand.

Idol contestants. They each have a distinct brand.

Guilty pleasure admission – I watch American Idol. There, I’ve got that out in the open. I feel better (with flashes of shame). But I’ve learned a few things by watching that show, other than how to hit that high C. American Idol gives us a couple of important lessons on personal branding.

The One Who…

When talking about American Idol contestants, we typically don’t remember their names, so we describe them in other ways: She’s the hippie girl; he’s the one that sounds like Sinatra; she’s the homeless girl; she’s the cute single mother; he’s the funny one. We’re defining the contestants by a certain set of characteristics – some physical, some behavioral. But, we are defining their brand. They are capturing a distinct position in our minds and hearts. This is a brand. How do people describe you when they talk about you? “He’s the one who is really focused on ROI, with a super-fun approach.” “She’s the mobile phone expert.” “She’s an over-bearing know-it-all.” 

And, you can’t have two cute, young, country singers. We only want one. You can’t have three hippie dudes. Our minds only want one brand to occupy that position. So it is with your personal brand. For example, you simply can’t be that guy who knows a lot about websites. Too many other people can occupy that same brand. Specialize the hell out of it. Be the guy who knows everything about SEO. Or even more, be the guy that knows everything about linking strategy for SEO. Or even better, be the guy who knows everything about SEO, and does instructional podcasts weekly, and always incorporates images of 80s TV stars. I don’t know – that’s a goofy example – but you occupy a clear brand position, at least. Be unique. Stand out. Just know that you will be described as something – what will it be? How will you be described?

Embracing Your Brand…

The other major lesson learned from American Idol is embracing your own brand. Ultimately, the contestants that succeed are the ones who decide who they are, and embrace it, whole-heartedly, in everything they do. You must embrace your brand. You simply cannot occupy more than one brand position. So, embrace what you are and pump it up. If you are the nerdy one – embrace that. If you are a bleeding heart, embrace that. Being true to your brand will ultimately be more powerful than trying to occupy a brand position that you could never own. Again – stand out and be unique. But don’t deny your brand – embrace it. 

And I’ll accept that the only place I’m a star singer is in my shower.

American Idol Cheerleaders


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Measuring Your Online Personal Brand

Ever Googled yourself? If you haven’t, don’t get all high and mighty, thinking that only narcissistic people would do such a thing. Today, you need to be aware of your online presence, and your ability to be found. I strongly suggest that everybody be highly aware of their personal brand, but things rings especially true if you have any interest in being a thought leader in your industry. When somebody searches for your name, what kind of information do they find first? That helps dictate your personal brand. When somebody searches for the kind of things you know about, will they find you? You should want them to.

Google is the best search engine to use when evaluating your ability to be found online. Why? They dominate the world of search. According to Hitwise, Google occupies approximately 72% of searches in the United States (although most stats I see put them in the 60-70% range). Yahoo is second with about 17%. There isn’t much else to go around after that. Google gets several hundred million searches each day. You need to have a presence.

We can talk a little bit more in another post/conversation about how to increase the chances you have of showing up on these Google search engine results (SERs), but it should be clear that your personal brand is affected by how you fare in Google SERs. 

Today, I was turned on to another evaluation tool (I know there are some people who abhor evaluation tools, but I see value in them, so deal with it). Phil Barrett wrote a post about the Online Identity Calculator – a tool that asks you a few questions (really only takes a few minutes) and then leverages Google to evaluate your online identity and measure it by placing you in one of four quadrants.

You know I like these kinds of evaluation tools – anything that you use to track/measure/evaluate your personal brand?

Here are the results of my Online Identity Calendar:

Mike McDowell's results - Digitally Distinct

Mike McDowell's results - Digitally Distinct

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