Why Personal Brand?
Personal branding is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years building a personal brand has become increasingly more accessible and with that more important to professional success and the Agile community is no exception. Have you ever wondered how some of the people at Agile conferences know everyone? Or how someone got so many Twitter followers? A lot of it is about being savvy in social media and building your brand. In a series of posts I will detail some of my ideas around personal branding and get some contributions from others in the Agile community who are doing it right.
Wikipedia defines personal branding as “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” It’s really promoting knowledge and yourself with the goal of gaining exposure, establishing credibility, and potentially growing your business to make money.
What are some reasons to build your personal brand within the Agile community or otherwise? It makes you a more attractive candidate to hire for consulting/coaching opportunities. It will help you to land speaking engagements at conferences and get requests to collaborate in blogs, articles, and other forms of media. It can help you to get the support of a sponsor if becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer is an aspiration. If your goal is to write a book or start your own consulting or coaching business, your personal brand can build credibility and a base of followers to help with promotion and fulfillment of either of these goals.
In this series I am going to focus on personal branding within the Agile community. While these tips can certainly be reused in other industries, Agile will be the main focus as that is my niche. These learnings are coming from my personal experience and collaboration with others within the industry. The topics I plan on covering in this series over the next month include but are not limited to:
- Personal Branding 101 – the basic first steps
- LinkedIn and Google+
- Conference Proposal Submissions
- Article Submissions
- Building and Retaining Professional Networks
Remember, your personal brand is a direct reflection on yourself. When deciding to start building your personal brand, you’re not actually just starting. People and online search engines already have impressions of you regardless of whether you’ve been actively managing your personal brand. Everything you do in the setting where you’re looking to build a brand is taken into consideration: how you conduct yourself in professional settings, less than professional settings, language you use, spelling mistakes, attitude and etiquette, you name it. Thankfully if some of these perceptions are negative you can change them but it takes time, a conscious effort, and calculated steps.
As an initial step, Google your name. If you have a common name maybe include the state or country you’re from or Agile or Scrum after it in the search. It is good to Google or search on yourself every so often because many times employers and people within the community that have met you or are interested will do the same. I’d suggest doing the same on images to make sure nothing potentially embarrassing from Facebook or the like has made it out there. If that is the case then you can adjust some privacy settings and work on promoting other things so those items move further down the list. It also can be a good measure to compare after you’ve been actively building your personal brand to see how far you’ve come in page rankings. Don’t forget, Google is not the only search engine and different algorithms mean things will rank differently in other site search results (e.g. Bing, Ask.com).
If your reputation and personal brand is less than you’d like or fairly non-existent, don’t stress too much. It will take patience, something I’m readily lacking at times, time, and effort, but it is likely very salvageable and soon the potentially shippable increment (PSI) will be YOU! I hope my series can assist in building a brand for you or if you already have an established brand you can glean a few tips too.
Here are some other blogs to get some context on the business of personal branding that I like:
agile agile branding google yourself personal brand personal branding scrum
The “patience” part is quite hard, but I think this is ultimately a feature. I like the fact that there are no (or few) shortcuts: Everyone (I know of) who was an “overnight success” in our industry has worked hard for a very long time to become one. They deserve it.
I, personally, am only at the beginning in building a personal brand. Even though I have been trying for some years now. Maybe it will just take more time and effort. Maybe I have not yet found a strategy that *really* works for me. Probably both. Time will tell…
These are two more very good blog posts about this topic:
Thanks for the comment, David. I agree completely, it is a process and quite a bit of effort, but it has to be a strategy that works for you is tailored to you. Thanks for the links – I have read the second post before and enjoyed it.
This came before blogs and social media, but my favorite book on this subject is:
Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand on the Business Battlefield
[…] been alluding to a series on personal branding and following my last post regarding why to personal brand, here is the next in the series. Consider this Personal Branding 101 – the introductory […]
This a fascinating article! I will act on the suggestions, immediately.