COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

Born and raised in the Anglican Church, it is no surprise I ended up working for the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa just a few years after graduating University.  As soon as I started working there, I quickly began making a name for myself. A few years into my work there, I became the Diocesan Conference & Events Coordinator. Not long after that, I added Communications to my role as well. Now I plan, execute, and evaluate over 50 diocesan events per year, manage our social media, and teach our parishes how to leverage social media to their advantage. 

When I think of my Personal Brand, some qualities and characteristics I have that set me apart from competitors are that I am outgoing, upbeat, collaborative, approachable, a professional event planner and social media consultant, with a heart for philanthropy, and a great storyteller.  

To make myself stand out, I volunteer with a youth program and use my event planning and social media skills to better the program. I have also led a Lunch & Learn on using social media in churches to help our churches grow, become visible online, and use technology to reach a younger demographic. 

In speaking with my colleagues, they believe my best trait is my level of creativity. When the pandemic hit, I was the first one figuring out how to convert events, workshops, and annual meetings into online events. In November 2020 we hosted our first virtual fundraiser, and in May of 2021 we will be hosting our second one – this time with home delivered goodie bags!   

While I have accomplished many great things in my life that I am proud of, right now, what I am most proud of, is that I have successfully grown our corporate social media followings by 90% since taking them over. I have turned them from dull pages to interactive, engaging, and follow-worthy with interesting stories, theological information, and even a few humorous posts! It reiterates the hard work of my schooling and reminds me that I am on the right track! 

It is hard to write about your own Personal Brand, but it so important to do! What are you most proud of? What is your greatest trait? Tell me about your Personal Brand in the comments below! 

Personal Reflection – Digital Communication

Personal Reflection – Digital Communication

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels.com)

What I learnt in this course is, that we need great storytelling for compelling content marketing that will grasp the attention of the consumer. Especially in the fast-paced world of social media in that, we live today.

I also learnt that we should not be afraid to make mistakes and not to over-edit our work. We learn and grow from our mistakes – as writers and marketers. In the past, I was always too scared to make mistakes or thought I should not write about a certain subject, but after this course, I will change that.

We also need to remember to be transparent in the relationship with our customers. So, I will try and find a piece of myself in every story that I will write from now on.

I was also too afraid to be too personal in the content that I post online, but now I will start to embrace that and be more transparent and share more personal stories.
Thank you!

COM0015 Blog 3 Professional Networking

COM0015 Blog 3 Professional Networking

Desperately Seeking Support for Network Building

The idea of ‘networking’ makes extroverts gleam and introverts scream.  Schmoozing and ‘working the room’ may be natural behaviours for some, but for others it can often be an overwhelming and underproductive experience.  However, if done effectively, networking can expand your sphere of influence and build your personal brand.  For those desperately seeking support, here’s some tips that I have learned over the years:

Know Yourself

Professional networking is more about giving than receiving, so determine your strengths and be prepared to share this knowledge and experience with others.  Think about your brand and what makes you a superstar. If you talk about something that you are passionate about, you will come across sincerely and naturally. 

Do Your Research

Whether it’s a virtual or in-person networking event, research the participants ahead of time.  Make a list of who you may like to connect with and think about how your strengths, knowledge and experiences may be of assistance to them.

The Meet and Greet

Some can dive right in and start a conversation with strangers, while others may need a bit of coaching.  Scan nametags for people on your research list or look for businesses or organizations that you feel comfortable conversing about.  If a large event sounds too daunting, invite a networking buddy, but be sure to branch off and meet new people.   Think quality connections, not quantity.

Network Everywhere

Don’t just save your networking skills for formal business events, look for opportunities at team meetings and social functions.  Make a pact with yourself to share and offer your skills and experiences with a co-worker and/or meet someone new.  

Keep in Touch

Professional networking is more than just meeting people, it’s about making meaningful connections. You might keep in touch over coffee or at other business functions, but with COVID-19 restrictions, we’ll all need to rely on phone calls, email, and social media for the next 6 – 12 months.  If you are uncomfortable chatting on the phone or writing emails, you can easily re-connect by commenting on one of their posts or send them a link to an article that you think would interest them.  Again, quality connections, not quantity.

By giving your time, offering your insight, and sharing knowledge, your network will naturally reciprocate by preaching your value to others thus increasing your brand reputation.  Keep the faith.

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My Personal Brand

As a freelance model, I had to think quite often what kind of qualities or characteristics set me apart from models in my area.
One might be obvious. My red hair and my fair skin.

But the reason why some photographers keep booking me again or recommend me to their colleagues is that I am very professional, reliable, friendly, kind, confident and disciplined.

If need be, I can also plan and organize a hole photoshoot with a few days or offer an idea to a photographer. All of this I learned in the past 6 years of working as a model.

I have a Facebook business page and Instagram page for my modeling where I post about every two weeks. I also joined modeling and photography groups on Facebook to network and find new contacts for photoshoots (since I am still fairly new in town). Even when I do not post new content in those groups often, I do comment and/or engage on posts of other photographers and models.

After Covid-19 I plan to start meeting with photographers again. This time with photographers I have not made any photos yet to expand my network.

Any tips and tricks you can share with me? Then please, leave me a comment! Thank you.

COMM0014 – Blog #5 – Experience is what sets me apart.

I am an artist that likes to wear a tie, the quiet gentlemen that listen to metal music. I am the pacific guy that trains to fight every week and a couch-potato that runs ultra marathons. I am patient and easily gets excited with new projects. When you hire me, you are not only getting a photographer, you get a partner that will help you realize your project and document it in a way that will write history, your story.

My experience is what sets me apart. I had the honour of working as the official photographer to the Governor General for 4 years (2007 to 2010) and, now, I continue to work as a photographer, documenting our Mounties.

I have photographed countless of historical events, including a number of state visits, the Olympics in Vancouver, the aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti and our troops in Afghanistan. I got to bring my camera to over 26 countries and most of our own country and to photograph many known and unknown personalities.

One thing that I am the most proud of is the exhibit that I had the pleasure of putting together for Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada. Click here to see it. 

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This panel explains what the exhibit is about and a little more about me.

Considering that I continue to be staff photographer for our federal police, I am fortunate that I do not need to promote myself very aggressively. It fits well with my brand, to be discreet and make noise with my megapixels.

COM0014 – Blog 5: Personal Brand

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Credit: Brad Whitehorn

I consider myself a Career Development Professional, despite the fact that I do not work with end-user clients, nor am I in management.  I specialize in resources for the career development industry, but I am not an agency information officer.  Within the industry I am kind of an anomaly; many of the jobs in Career Development have pretty clear-cut descriptions, but there are very few companies that offer the same things as the company that I work for that distributes, publishes, and conducts independent research.  My number one goal in my position is to find the most appropriate resources for Career Development Professionals to use with their clients.

What are some personal qualities or characteristics that set you apart from your competitors?

I like to have conversations; be it in person, over the phone, an email, or even in a blog post, I like to feel as though I am sitting down and talking over a coffee.  Personally I hate it when people start into a sales pitch without me actually saying what, if anything I am interested in.  When I write blog posts, I like to write very casually, and leave lots of room for feedback.  I’ve developed a lot of great business relationships this way, because my clients know that when they talk to me, I’m not going to push a product on them, and move on.  I have a competitor that is big into self-promotion, and comes across as a sales person.  I know that this attitude has just sent more people my way.

What have you done lately to make yourself stand out?

I have spent a lot of time listening on a couple of industry-specific social media pages, but now I am starting to get my name out there.  As well, up until fairly recently I have been using my company’s social media fairly anonymously.  However I have now started putting my name on things.  I have been blogging about areas and materials that I consider myself an expert at under my name.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

I work for a small company, so my clients are my colleagues.  I would say that they appreciate my honesty, and my willingness to follow through.  I will not sell them something because it makes me a more money, I will recommend what works best for them.  As well, when I they ask me something I don’t have an answer to, I will do some research.  Sometimes this means that I don’t make a sale, but it does mean that my customer will return in the future.

What do you do that you are most proud of?

Recently I wrote a couple of blogs on career assessments, and shared them on the Facebook group of a national organization; the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it gained some new customers.  The posts were also picked up by yet another national industry group, and was included in their recommended blog posts.

COMM0014-Blog#5 Personal Brand

So much importance is wrapped up in making that first impression.  How others perceive us will have a huge impact on how they relate to us as well as who they believe we are.  Corporations recognized the truth of these statements decades ago and began creating an image for themselves that we know as branding.  When referring to branding I don’t just mean what Nabisco calls its various cereals.  Branding today includes the notion of the various lines within a company’s offerings as part of the overall Brand of the company.  The” who we are and the what we do” is the branding that I’m referring to in this piece.

With the advent of the internet and social media, branding has now become an essential element in the lives of individuals.  What we once knew as our reputation is now measured and witnessed by others in a diverse number of platforms known as social media.  Its no longer just what you do in the meeting room or at a client’s office.  Today, your reputation, your brand is the culmination of your Facebook posts, your twitter posts, Instagram. blogs, vlogs and emails.  All of this social information, this permanent digital footprint is now a part of your perceived character whether at work or at play.

Coming from my demographic background and being a somewhat reluctant student of the digital world, I’ve struggled to deal with this concept that so much information now makes up what image the world has of me.  I’m never really sure, or for that matter comfortable with where my personal brand ends and where my professional brand begins.  If you were to search around you would find a couple of half started attempts at professional pages and abandoned blogs.  These fossils are the remnants of past efforts to forge a new brand or perhaps better define what actually I am doing right now.

As a Field Sales consultant to Healthcare Practitioners I prefer to be known for my relationship and consultative approach.  I deal with clients as a resource provider and a coach who is there to support and help them build their practice and business.  In both my personal life and my business life I’m known for reliability, knowledge and common sense.  At work I utilize the knowledge gained from 20 years of industry experience, training and education to support my colleagues and clients.  I know I’m not a strong speaker or lecturer so I don’t strive for that role but I am a person that people come to when they need advice. My time in the field and knowledge of the business allow me to play the role of trusted adviser and mentor, guiding others to success while allowing me to advance as well.  Colleagues would tell you that I’m a wealth of information with a great sense of humor. After all, we can’t be serious all of the time!

My down to earth approach to life and my desire to learn more and share what I know are what make me a go to guy.  That’s why I’m taking this certificate program.  I want expand my knowledge and my skills so that I can help others achieve as well. Although I don’t share many views or political thoughts with the well known activist Malcom X, I do believe in one phrase he is known for …”Each one teach one.”

COMM15 – Blog Post #3 / Networking Your Social Networks

Everything you put on social media is part of a brand.

Whether it is your business’s profile or it’s your own personal account, everything that is tweeted, posted, commented and favourited is a contribution to the overall development of a brand identity. Who and what you choose to engage with constitutes your social network – the schoolyard playground, so to speak, within which your brand develops and is actualized.

I have had plenty of experience in developing and maintaining various networks across several different brands – both personal and professional.

I’ve had the exciting opportunity to become quite invested in digital content in the sport industry, specifically in tennis, as a result of the networking I did on Twitter – all while using a completely different account from my personal one. I created a “tennis account” where I could follow and engage with tennis journalists, high-profile bloggers, players, and other key stakeholders in the industry. This engagement landed me a volunteer position at Rogers Cup in Montreal, which in turn landed me an internship at Tennis Canada in Toronto, which in turn has allowed me to explore various freelance opportunities within digital media across multiple sports.

On my personal accounts, I take a different approach. The network I’ve developed for myself on Facebook and Instagram, for example, constitutes largely friendships I’ve developed in person prior to engaging with them on social media. My brand of humour is at its best on Facebook, Instagram, and my other Twitter account – and I use that for my personal networking (and who knows, sometimes personal networking can become professional!)

Professional networking is best done in person – there’s no doubt about that. With the amount of options and images and words and people and profiles and everything on the internet, networking “irl” is the job interview you wouldn’t have got online – but that’s not to say there’s not something to be gained professionally in the digital space. In fact, there’s plenty to be gained.

LinkedIn is the number one social networking service for professionals. While I would hesitate to look up a prospective employer or employee (from a recruiter’s perspective) on their Facebook (which should be private and inaccessible anyway), I wouldn’t hesitate to research them on LinkedIn. The networking services that LinkedIn provides are paramount, giving you suggested connections on both real-life connections as well as connections that are aligned with your professional experiences and skills.

My personal commitment to the next several months of networking is to engage more with these platforms at a more frequent rate. It’s easy to let go of your digital presence when real life takes the wheel – and that can’t always be helped. But when it can, maintenance of your social networks is paramount. While I haven’t always been consistent in my posting across all my channels, particularly on LinkedIn, the more engaged I have been the more results I’ve seen in terms of growing my networks and getting myself out there – everywhere.

Virginia St-Denis: The evolving brand

While a brand helps ensure a consistent image of a person or corporation, it is important that the brand evolve to keep up with the times.

For 25 years, my personal brand has been as a publishing professional — writing, editing, photographing, desktop publishing and (in the past 12 years) managing newspapers, magazines and journals. While some may say I’m a Jill of all trades and master of none, I prefer to think of it as having a broad overview of the entire publishing process and being able to understand and plan all of the elements. This makes me unique; this makes me an invaluable member of a team of one or more people on most any print serial publication.

However, with electronic publishing and social media weakening traditional publications, I am taking steps to keep up with the times and expand my horizons and my brand. Along with my print publications, I focus more on the three websites I maintained and the monthly e-newsletter I launched than I used to focus on years ago. To help me standout in electronic publishing, I am in the fourth of five courses in Algonquin College’s Social Media certificate program and expect to graduate in February 2017.

More and more people are developing social media skills, so I plan to build on these skills by taking the Social Media Compliance Management certificate program next. Being able to create and implement policies that will not only help build a social media brand, but also address privacy and security issues and manage risks should continue to set me apart from others in this growing field.

The combination of these courses and others I’m taking illustrate that I have an interest in learning and I’m able to acquire new skills. That’s one of my best traits, and it can’t be taught.