The Brand Called You COM0011Blog Post #1

Personal Branding

I currently work for a retailer of wine and liquor in the province of Ontario as a Product Consultant.  My job is to be knowledgable about wine, spirits and beer.  In order to do this I attend tastings on a bi-monthly basis to evaluate our Vintage release products.  A list of my favourite wines is created and displayed in the store called Keith’s Keeper’s.  I am then required to interact with customers, who often walk into the store with absolutely no idea as to what they want.  I then, through  a series of open-ended questions, find a product that best suits their needs.

In order to understand what I can contribute to the topic area, Personal Branding, I have created my own personal Features (F) and Benefits (B) Model

(F)   Always willing to engage in Continuous Education.

(B)  Knowledgeable about current trends

(F)   Hard working

(B)  Projects are delivered on time and on budget

(F)   Reliable

(B)  Clients don’t have to worry about supervision or productivity

(F)  I believe in the Motto “Fix the problem not the Blame”

(B)  I don’t waste time on engaging in “gotcha”  I will proactively seek out solutions to problems

(F)  Will engage in extra curricular activities, teaching classes, giving presentations

(B)  Not afraid to research something to death

How Do I Create a Narrative “that will make me stand out”

” At the heart of social selling is “story”.  Story is the best way to communicate a message.  Story is the best way to connect with your audience emotionally and when that happens, you get them to act.”

http://smartblogs.com/social-media/2014/02/12/question-for-the-c-suite-whats-your-capacity-for-change/

The way that I can contribute and stand out is to

a)  come to understand what my strengths and weakness’ are

b)  create a concise profile/story

c)  create a focal point, set of guiding principles, or vision statement (i.e something that can be referenced everyday)

d)  live the Vision Statement with integrity

“Vision Statement: (Desired End-State) A one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from an organization or program’s work.”

http://topnonprofits.com/examples/vision-statements/

Following through with this will set me apart from my colleagues

This is my Vision Statement

To be an inquisitive, efficient, customer focused, knowledgeable, socially responsible sales person

First off in order to discuss what a Personal Brand is, it is helpful to define what a brand is

Brand is the name, term design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one sellers product distinct from those of other sellers”…”In accounting, a brand is defined as an intangible asset”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand

To my mind Personal Branding wouldn’t even exist without the introduction of Social Media.  Social Media’s ubiquitous nature and it’s use of computers as a platform and as a communicating tool has created a hurricane of change.  Literally, in theory, anyone in the world could communicate with anyone else who has a computer.  Each person becomes analogous to a grain of sand on a beach.  In the past, communication was point to point, and directed at one person, e.g. letters, or to a group of people, e.g. radio/T.V.  Mass communication was difficult, expensive and time-consuming.  People relied on opinion leaders or word of mouth and or gossip, and were relatively anonymous.  The advent of e-mail changed all of this.  What changed was the speed of the communication.  What used to take days now took seconds.  The increase in speed resulted in a faster turn around time.  Replys were instantaneous and people who were not involved in the original communication were quickly added to the list.  All of these changes were a result of the emergence of the computer and the World Wide Web.  Once such things as Modems, which changed analogue signals to a digital format, were made readily available then anyone who could afford it could communicate digitally.  With the introduction of the Web came the Web page and with that came the Blog.   With so much information floating around information overload sets in.  This flood of information becomes a blur, and people’s Perceptual Blindness sets in.

Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, is a psychological lack of attention and is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to recognize an unexpected stimulus that is in plain sight.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inattentional_blindness

Information becomes blurred or it all slips into the background,  just as grains of sand are indistinguishable from one another on a beach.  Hence the need for Personal Branding.  How do you get yourself noticed or stand out from the background, without falling prey to the next two (2) issues

The issues that concern me with this are:  Does it create a narcissistic Culture, and where does integrity fit into this?

“Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

The recurring, often with tragic results, problem is the practise of “young people” taking revealing “photos?” of themselves and posting it to the Internet.

“Study finds that thousands of teens going to extreme lengths for online attention”

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/11/12/study_finds_thousands_of_teens_going_to_extreme_lengths_for_online_attention.html

This entire practice is a direct result of the perceived need for “Personal Branding”

The other issue is one of integrity.  This is not a  new problem, the practice of lying on a resume (C.V.) is an old one.

“People present the version of themselves to the world that they would like to live with.  Most of us don’t wear caps , so we[‘re stuck with LinkedIn resumes and Twitter profiles which often contain self puffery and outright lies as easily detectable to colleagues as those on Gervais’s chest ribbon gallery”

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/11/16/remembrance_day_faker_was_just_like_us_mallick.html

What might be helpful, in a course like this, assuming that I am not jumping the gun, would be to explore the notion of boundaries and limits.

Joining communities in my area of specialization presents a problem.  My, The company has a set of “Employee guidelines on Social Media Activity”

“Employees are prohibited from engaging in any conduct on social media that is:…communication by, or on the behalf of…, or expressing the views of…”

Administration Manual, revised November 2012

Having said that if I was to have a presence on Social Media, the sites that I would attempt to join for the purposes of creating Web pages on would be as follows

The National Capital Sommelier Guild, Wine Align, and Natalie MacLean’s Wine Reviews and Ratings.

I would choose these sites because, they are specific to the Ottawa area, and admittance would be relatively easy, given my relative anonymity  Gaining access would involve the following steps.  Enroll/join the organizations, attend some meetings to get a sense of the organization and to attend tastings.  I would also concurrently set up a blog and or a Web Page ideally speaking about my selections for up coming releases.  I could obtain more fodder for my Blog by attending meetings and tastings, as well as make opinion leaders aware of my Blog/Web page through Person to Person contact.  Exposure on the sites would result in increased customer interaction which would result in building a reputation (Personal Brand), which would further increase traffic to my sites

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