COM0014- Blog Post #5 – The Many Faces of Me

I am what some would call…a functional introvert. It sounds kind of funny when you think about it. Most people would describe me as Strong, Dominant, Confident, Personable, Easy Listener, Empathetic and comfortable in my own skin. These are all true. But I am also an introvert. I find being around people exhausting. Most people don’t know this. They see what I want them to see. This is what makes it easy to do my job. I am able to blend into any role. I am a Mother, Writer, Manager, Cat Lover, Gun enthusiast, Tough Mudder Runner, Scrapbooker, Sewer, and a whole bunch of other things. I like people, and parties and other things that require social interaction. I am most comfortable with small groups and enjoy intimate things like dinner and movies. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I hate people. It means I find social situations exhausting and when I need to recharge, I prefer to be alone. Writing is perfect for me. I love immersing myself in a story and letting it take me wherever the magic takes me. I am more comfortable with books than people.

What makes me different?

Writing is my passion. I write because I have a story to tell. I don’t write to make me rich. I also work very hard at whatever task I undertake. That is what makes me stand out in my field. I work in Corrections. It is a tough job. I am good at it. I have a very empathetic nature, but I am also very fair and tough. I am also a Classic Type A Overachiever Personality. I get bored easily. Which means I take on new roles all the time. This makes me versatile in my field. It has enabled me to learn and grow.

What have you done to make yourself stand out?

I am in the middle of completing my Social Media Certificate at Algonquin College. I am looking to make the next step in my career. I want to work in Ottawa. I am also taking French classes at St. Lawrence College. I am also working with an Editor on my latest book.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

My colleagues say I am Hardworking and Reliable. I can live with that. I have a strong work ethic and expect others to be the same.

What about you? What makes you different from others in your field? Any Personality Traits that stand out or Contrast?

COM0014 Digital Communication – Personal Branding

What sets me apart from my competitors?

Personal branding has become muddled with others trying to copy others style, personality traits and views. In this climate, differentiating yourself is more difficult than ever and that is why I believe I possess certain characteristics and qualities that set me apart from most. In general, I do not buy into designer clothing and often wear clothes with no logo. Too often we are seeing people wear the same logo as what is currently popular and this in turn makes them blend in instead of stand out. Another characteristics that sets me apart from my competitors is my authenticity. Whether it be expressing political views, stating my point of view on a project at work or having an argument with friends, my authenticity sets me apart and earns me respect ultimately. Further, I believe that one of my best qualities that enhances my personal branding and sets me apart from competitors is my ability to use humour online. On Twitter I often receive praise for my wittiness and ability to think on the spot using humour. This helps create your unique identity online and creates a sense of uniqueness when branding yourself on social media.

Stand Out at whatever cost

What have you done lately to stand out?

When reflecting on things I’ve done lately to stand out, what seems to resonate most is my confidence at work wearing a suit. Given I work in an executive office filled with senior managers, I tend to feel left out being a younger looking student. I decided to invest in a nice, reasonably priced navy suit and brown dress shoes to match. This earned me lots of compliments and made my confidence skyrocket. As many say, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want”. This was a bold move and quite a drastic shift in attire when compared with my usual sweaters and dress shirts, however it has warranted a better sense of personal branding and was well worth the money.

The Legend Himself

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

After contemplating this question for several minutes, I believe that what sets me apart from others and is valued by my colleagues is my ability to analyze effectively. My manager often runs presentations by me first as well as briefing notes, and I am able to quickly see errors whether it be typos, structure or anything that might be perceived negatively. Analytical skills and attention to detail are such valuable traits to possess in the workforce and for this reason I believe they would value this trait most about me.

Analytics

COM0014 Blog #5: Wait, how do you say that name again?

Growing up with an unusual name is tough. When I was a kid, I could see nothing good about my unique name (I’m Bronwyn, by the way. Nice to meet you!) No one could pronounce it properly upon first introduction (okay, most people still can’t), and it’s not the kind of name that immediately tells you if the person is male or female (I get emails to “Mr. Bronwyn” all the time). “Why couldn’t you have called me Sarah or Megan, or something normal?” I’d lament to my mother. Being just like everyone else was the thing to strive for, not standing out.

As I got older, though, I learned to appreciate the things about myself that made me unlike other people, including my name. And professionally, I have found that I have certain qualities that are of distinctive value.

Where I Stand Out

I am one of thousands of communications strategists in the federal government. So, what makes me a stand-out? Three things:

  1. Advice that meets and anticipates future client needs. I have a history of giving my clients sound communications advice, and developing strategies based on thorough assessments of the public environment, policy issues and risk management. My advice is also supported by my willingness to reach out to other government departments to learn from them and share best practices.
  2. Quality. I have to say, I’m pretty good at this writing thing. Over the course of my ten-year public service career, I have written in many formats – media lines, news releases, Tweets, web content, and speaking points – to meet the needs of diverse audiences. I pay a great deal of attention to detail in my writing, and I understand the importance of a unified approach to messaging.
  3. Responsive. I have a solid reputation for providing fast and high-quality client service. Not every request can be fulfilled right away, but I strongly believe that acknowledging requests quickly and providing dependable service is important for maintaining a strong client relationship.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done throughout my career. Very proud. But what might be the most personally satisfying is the work I do outside the office.  Things like:

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How about you? What do you do that makes you feel the most fulfilled?

COM0014 Blog #5: Life is About the Journey, Not the Destination!

I came across my personal brand through thinking about what I didn’t want it to be. Which was another blog that takes my diagnosis Asperger’s Syndrome and make it all about being a cause or how it’s challenged me. I wanted to focus more on what has helped me cope better; and use my experiences as a way to share what I’ve learned from them to help others.

Transitioning to this place from my original blog which was general and used a pseudo-name has been a big step and leap of faith but one I’m glad to take.  Doing so helped bring a greater focus to my writing and specify my niche, that has allowed me to bring forth my own personal awareness and how I’ve gained insights from those experiences that have added to what my blog may have been lacking before. It also has given me the courage to share and be more open with what I share.

kylie_header2

 

I strive for it to be as authentic and honest as possible, writing from a place of compassion towards myself and others, understanding and learning with perhaps a little educating. If it doesn’t feel right then I don’t write on it and work to change it because this is the only way I know how to write and be- authentically and honestly- me. Sharing what “Life on the Spectrum” is like for me has been a wonderful learning experience  and journey into embracing what makes me unique, how that’s growing into my personal brand and allowed me to share that with others, that’s just begun but I’m eager to see where everything goes from here.

Learning, sharing and growing as Kylie, blogger of  Life on the Spectrum- embracing Aspergers!

It’s My Life

Can we change who we are?

When commenting on someone’s discussion forum I was reminded of a privacy issue around personal information online.  Basically, there was a ruling in the European Court of Justice that determined that personal information must be deleted if it “appear[s] to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10827005/Google-must-delete-your-data-if-you-ask-EU-rules.html).  In a nutshell this means that if you had an affair 10 years ago that was revealed online, or had declared bankruptcy 15 years ago, or been caught doing drugs and had posted it on Facebook Google had an obligation to delete the link according to the above criteria.  BUT, it was not required to remove the information.  Therefore if someone looked hard enough, they would be bound to find it (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/10827005/Google-must-delete-your-data-if-you-ask-EU-rules.html).

This raises some very interesting issues for me especially in the interest I’ve developed in personal branding.  I’ve spoken before about honesty and the importance of truth with personal branding and therefore it might seem logical to think I have everyone has a right to know everything about you.  I also firmly believe though, that everyone deserves a second chance.  I think you’d be very hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t done something in the past that they regretted; luckily for me the majority of it was pre-internet.

Most recently here in Canada there was a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was decided that Google must remove search items globally when it has been decided in Canada that they are in breach of an injunction.  In this case, a company which manufactured something was suing a distribution company, claiming that the distribution company had stolen their technology, copied the product and was selling it as its own.  The manufacturing company argued that if the distribution company was only prevented from marketing in Canada then the theft would be ongoing and the Supreme Court agreed saying that it was not in breach of freedom of speech regulation (http://www.businessinsider.com/google-must-remove-worldwide-search-results-says-top-canada-court-2017-6).

There are far too many issues here to cover adequately within one blog, although I’m going to attempt to draw a conclusion here.  From right to privacy, to an internet without borders (who polices the internet???), to personal and corporate honesty there is the potential for great harm to come to both individuals and honest companies.  So perhaps we should try and keep it simple and although I’m not religious, I feel that this is perhaps the simplest and best conclusion I can arrive at: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

What do you think?  Should our mistakes from the past continue to haunt us?  Or should we get a second chance? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  To find out more about your rights with your personal history online, check out my blog by clicking here. #privacy #google

  To read more about personal privacy online click here to read my blog “It’s My Life” or check out @privacyforum.

The Expert

Are you listening to me?

One of the things I find most difficult when it comes to using social media is determining whether or not anyone is listening and is the main reason why I am participating in this course.  When doing my personal brand assignment I find I have no trouble in explaining why I am an expert in my field or what I have to contribute.  When I put things out on social media though, I genuinely feel as if I’m tweeting or posting into a black hole.  Looking for inspiration for this week’s blog I came across an article entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Online Branding and Building Authority Part 1 – Blogging” written by Kristi Hines.  It’s a great article and does an excellent job of laying out the reasons why blogging is so important in building up authority within a brand.

In my definition of social media creating community is essential.  All communities need leaders and therefore when trying to create a community and have others follow it seems logical that I would be the leader.  Blogging to establish my authority is an excellent way to do this in that it provides an opportunity to showcase my knowledge to others (and I can now see the emphasis on blogging within this course).
As with all things social media though, I do struggle to separate the personal from the professional and can’t help but wonder how much do people want to hear from me? This is where building brand authority comes in.  As Hines writes in the above mentioned blog “[I]f you’re sharing informative blog posts about your industry, you’re likely to get a lot of traffic and social shares.” (The Ultimate Guide to Online Branding and Building Authority Part 1 – Blogging by Kristi Hines). Hines actually recommends WordPress as the site to use for blogging within the above quoted article.

Looking further into building authority within a blog I came across a blog by Andrea ‘Dre’ Beltrami which gives great tips into how to build up your personal brand in her article entitled 7 Essential Ingredients for Branding a Blog.  Her tips include how to use good visuals but the first and most essential tip is to find your voice.

The key here seems to be believing your own voice is enough authority and of course putting in the hard work to make it so.  What do you think?  Do you have the confidence to put yourself out there as the expert in you or your industry?  Do you feel comfortable blogging as an authority in your field?

 Interested in knowing more about branding and authority?  Check out my blog here!

  More information about blogging, authority and finding your voice can found here – let me know what you think!

Do You Trust Me?

Trust and Personal Branding

I’m continuing on the theme of personal branding as it is something I find incredibly fascinating.  So we now know that personal branding is how we market ourselves in order to improve our image or career prospects (Mike Wood in Entrepreneur – Why Personal Branding Must be Your First Focus).  Within the definition though is an implicit understanding that we are only showing our best side and not the whole picture.  Logically this makes sense, and whether or in person or online we wouldn’t introduce ourselves as great at meeting new people but terrible at driving.  Or I’m a terrible cook but hey, I’m really great at designing websites!  We need to put our best selves forward otherwise it’s imaginable that no one would really get anywhere in life.

Within corporate branding we are asked to trust companies with every advertisement and purchase.  We need to believe that the product will do what it says as we always have options to go elsewhere.  Therefore corporations spend vast sums of money coming up with the slogans and advertisements which convince us to trust us.  The following commercial by Geico is a perfect example of this:

Within the commercial they even discuss how important trust is with a brand.  It is impossible to think of a brand that has not promised something whether it is safety, health, beauty, longevity or simply a better life.

With personal branding it is logical to think therefore that part of the image we must build is one of trust in ourselves.  If we admit that we are not being completely being honest though, how can anyone trust our personal branding?

I think I’m back to my conclusion from my first blog, that there is a middle ground, although I think this one has a pinch of salt on it.  Much in the same way we may buy in to the cereal that promises to help us lose weight we realise that this will only be successful as a part of a combination of factors including exercise and eating healthy otherwise.  Perhaps the formula for a healthy personal brand is one that is truth combined with a healthy pinch of believability.

  Click here to find out more about truth in personal branding.

   Not too sure how much you should reveal within your personal branding?  Click here to find out more about truth in personal branding.

Who Am I?

Personal Branding Within Social Media

Personal branding within social media is an essential yet confusing term.  It can be defined as “[t]he ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_branding.  It has become as ubiquitous as social media itself and some of the most famous celebrity for the sake of celebrity’s have mastered this – simply think of the Kardashians (@KimKardashian or @khloekardashian).  Others have used it so effectively it has created whole new careers for them.  A perfect example of this is Donald Trump.  Before social media hit its stride he used his name to develop a real estate brand that spoke of luxury and expense.  Trump’s personal twitter feed @realDonaldTrump is now used to further define his personal beliefs while simultaneously promoting them as the beliefs or aims of the entire United States of America as he frequently uses the same tweets from his official Twitter account @POTUS.   One could argue that without his Twitter feed he would not have gained the popularity he did in the two year run up the US election last November.

The confusion for me lies with where to separate the personal from the professional.  With so much choice for virtually everything now and with relying less and less on personal interaction it seems that personal branding has taken the place of customer service.  I am happy with that when I am shopping, but if I am trying to sell a service (recruitment) through a professional Facebook page how much personal information should I be using?  I know I’m certainly not comfortable with displaying too much of my personal appearance like the Kardashians, or the political like Donald Trump!  Surely though, there is a happy middle ground where I can show through social media that I am a real human but this is my workplace and therefore a dress code of privacy must apply.

Perhaps the answer to this middle ground of personal branding lies in the aim.  There are numerous individuals who have used personal branding to create a career that is essentially personal branding, or beauty vlogging to give it it’s official name.  The three most popular in the United States in 2015 according to Pixability were Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Carli Bybel who had followers standing at 8, 833, 779; 10, 339, 824; and 5, 303, 898 respectively (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_Youtubers). After developing huge followers that pre-social media would be unimaginable these individuals are using their own personal branding to contribute to the success of big companies while the big companies are able to adapt personal branding to their corporate branding.  This has become a completely symbiotic and hugely successful relationship.

          

I will continue to struggle with the issue of personal branding whenever I post on my work Facebook or Twitter accounts – I don’t worry about crossing any boundaries but rather being so impersonal so as to not have an impact!  Nonetheless it is clear that personal branding is essential and to be successful using social media one must adapt.

Continue reading

When I was a kid…

When people ask me how long I’ve been taking photos, they’re often surprised by my answer. I was in Grade 5 when my parents bought me a Kodak 110 point-and-shoot camera to capture memories of summer camp.

In Grade 8, my parents took me out of school one day to watch the launching of a new ship in Collingwood. It took two and a half swipes of the film advance to get to the next frame, and I did that as fast as I could. Swipe, swipe, swipe, click! Swipe, swipe, swipe, click! until the 24-exposure roll of film was finished. I got the processed pictures back days later and showed my classmates and teacher the near flipbook images. I became the unofficial class photographer that day.

notre-dame-stained-glass

I don’t have those pictures anymore, but I do have an album of my March Break trip to France with my Grade 13 French class. Looking back at those images, I see that I already understood how photography was the art of capturing light. Take for instance the photograph I scanned and posted here. I took this image of stained glass from inside Notre Dame Basilica in Paris. I remember being in awe of the coloured light shining into the dimly lit historic site.

Going to journalism school, I learned to use a 35mm camera, which gave me better control of the images I took. Unfortunately, working for more than a decade as a reporter/photographer took the joy out of photography for me. There were too many pictures to take of people nervously posing on days I wasn’t feeling inspired.

In recent years, no longer forced to take pictures every day as part of my job, I’ve rediscovered my passion for making art with my camera and I’m so glad I did. I hope you do too when you see my creations at FlashDesignsStudio.com.