5 steps to launch your personal brand.

Well, we’ve already talked about the importance of developing and exercising a great personal brand and how it has to be totally aligned with our values, principle, ideologies and priorities in life, mirroring these in everything we do, but how exactly can we generate awareness of our personal brand, once we’ve gone through the exercise of first establishing it?
It really is much simpler that it seems. As simple as counting to five, 5 steps to launch your personal brand.

  1. Join the conversation and listen: this is, without a doubt the most important step to launch your personal brand. So before you start talking and preaching that you are an expert in whatever area you specialize, stop and listen to the conversation that already existed about your subject of interest. Listen closely, absorb and learn as much as you can. Take the time to know the trends and understand the general opinions in your niche, identify who the thought leaders are and define your position. And please remember, God gave us a pair of ears, a pair of eyes and just one mouth to use them accordingly.
    Now, how to start listening to the conversation? You can use different resources to find your subject’s thought leaders, like Blogcatalog.com, Bloglog.com, Technorati.com, etc, or you can just Google “Blogs about (ad your theme here) and you’ll most likely find so many people you can start learning from and collaborating with.
  2. Define your differentiator: Once you’ve really listened to the conversation, analyzed it and were able to take a first look at what us going on, its time to define your position and the value that you are going to add to this dialog, which will, more likely than not, be tied to your values, principles and vision of life.
  3. Make yourself tangible: create your space, your base if you will. This can be your blog, your personal website, a profile in one or many social networks, etc. The main object here it to have a point of contact from which you can reach out to your audience to share your thoughts, opinions, knowledge, experience, insights, networks or anything positive you can think of. By the way, two very important practices I recommend are:
    A) Get your own domain, that is yournamehere.com. It might sound exaggerated but if your name belongs to you and that is how people reach out to you off-line, why not do the same on-line? Getting your domain is easy, fast and relatively cheap, you can get it at resources like Nic.com or Godaddy.com
    B) Remember, once you share something, anything and I do mean anything on line it will be accessible to a whole lot of people and recorded for posterity, so if you want to exercise and good personal brand, be very mindful of the content you generate and share.
  4. And to continue on the subject of content, make sure yours is relevant, interesting and provocative for your audience. Give them a clear benefit in return for the minutes they are giving you. Of course your content has to be authentic, original and a reflection of your interests, knowledge, etc. but unless you are generating content just for yourself (in which case I’d recommend another very good practice: writing a journal) pay attention on the interests and need of your audience and respond the them accordingly.
  5. Open yourself to feedback and keep listening: keep in mind that exercising a personal brand has the objective of being represented in today’s worldwide conversation and the keyword here is CONVERSATION and in order for there to be one we need to listen and have good feedback. Fortunately there are different resources we can use to help us deal with this crucial task:
    A) First of all you need to keep track of all the comments and opinions your audience leave for you. Every social media platform (blogs, networks, podcasts, video sharing, etc) have the functionality of allowing users to write comments about the content you share with them. On the other hand, some of your followers might want to share their thoughts in a more private fashion so be sure to have a special email address they can contact you through. Then, open yourself to the feedback, listen to it, understand it, cherish it and respond to it. Establish a healthy interaction.
    B) Sometimes you might not get any comments in your comments section and you might get to think that no one has seen, read or listen to your stuff. Luckily for us, technology comes to the rescue and provide us with resources with which we can not only track how many visitors we got but what piece of our content is more relevant to them and which is the most popular. A tool you can use to track visits and behavior in your site is Google Analytics, its free and relatively easy to use in its basic functionality. Plus there are also some sites where you can keep track of how you rank versus other and how popular have you become, like technorati.com
Definitely, exercising and managing a great personal brand is no easy task and it is not something you can do in a flash or instantaneously. Seth Godin said it better when he said “It took me 6 years to have an overnight ".

Exercising a great personal brand requires work, time and focus plus honesty and authenticity; but like everything in life, those things that take really hard work from our part are the things that bring us more benefits in return.


Mekate Friday: Erasing Lines.

Authors note: This is a translation of the new entry I just posted on Mekate.com

Erasing lines.

It’s funny you know? It is said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, yet it is precisely a line which has created the longest distance between what brands want to do to communicate with consumers and what these want to see and experiment from brands.

I mean, after working for 14 years in the advertising and communication industry and having worked with traditional advertising, direct marketing, promotions, interactive marketing; above the line, below the line, through the line, on its side and even in the middle of it, I have never found someone who could tell me who was the arrogant genius who decided that communication could be divided and even classified in to above and below.

I can almost imagine a character worthy of the biggest villain in a James Bond movie, Siamese cat on lap and all, locked behind the crystals of the highest floor in his corporate tower, which event though has hosted his throne for years, now has been transformed into his very own cell.

Why? Let me elaborate. According to the ATL/BTL division, a medium is considered above the line when it has a massive reach and below the line when it establishes a one on one contact with consumers, right?

 Then what happens when we have a platform like the Internet where we can reach 27.4 million people in Mexico alone and 1.172 billion worldwide? Should we consider it Above the Line then? But what about its ability of helping us reach those 27.4 mm users on a one to one basis? Should we then call it Below the Line?

And what about all the other marketing communication disciplines like P.R, Shopper Marketing or Direct Marketing with which we can also reach millions of people with one single campaign? (Just ask the postal service who their biggest clients are, I’m sure you’ll find some big brands among them).

You see, from my personal and professional perspective, the strategies, tactics, actions and even media cannot be divided into above or below the line anymore, in fact they never should have! The efforts that a very few people are still doing to keep this kind of division alive so they can still try to keep the thinning budgets on their hands are facing and big and inevitable change.

Today any marketing communications professional, be it a strategic planner, media planners, marketing director, brand manager, creative director, copy writers on an accoutn executive, must understand that fortunately for our industry, our client’s and specially for consumers, there are very diverse disciplines and media that allow us to connect with consumers in many different ways, thus letting brands acomplish their ever growing objectives while making themselves available for consumers whenever, wherever and however they want to contact us.

So put this into practice: erase the line once and for all and stop preaching that you do “integrated campaigns” and really start doing so. Do this and I’m sure you’ll have loyal customers for a long time.


The power of deciding.

We all do it every day, its something that comes naturally. So natural in fact, that sometimes we don’t even realize the importance of doing it and we do it carelessly, without thinking about it, as if it was something automatic and without consequence. What am I talking about? Making decisions.

Of course there are some decisions we do take the time to think of and reflect before doing, we might even ask for advice or pray that someone else decides for us; but this type of life changing decisions are the least we have to make.

However there is another type of decisions, the daily ones that we make without care, thinking that since they are about daily stuff they will not affect our life; and that’s the mistake.

See, each and every decision we make, be it a life altering one or a daily one, will impact our life in one way or another. And thing about decisions is that, it doesn’t matter whether it was the right or wrong one; we all have to live with the consequences of it.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: a few days ago I was hospitalized for almost a full week due to a couple of blood clots that formed in my right leg. Today, at home, stable, healthy and still recovering I’ve done a recount of all the decisions, right ones and wrong ones, that took me all the way to today:

Wrong decision number 1:  Being careless about my weight and allowing me to gain so much overweight that it turned out to be the main factor to put me in this situation.

Right decision number 1: Quit smoking 8 years ago and not drinking alcohol and sodas, which helped to not complicate the thrombosis. My veins and organs are quite healthy!

Wrong decision number 2: Not having done the same with deserts and candy and thinking that every meal, no matter if it was breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, they all had to come with desert. That’s how I gained all the extra pounds!

Right decision number 2: Started dieting a few months ago and having lost 18 pounds already. There’s still a lot of ground to cover, but I don’t want to think how things could have gone had I still had those 18 pounds.

Right decision number 3: Started practicing TaiChi a month and a half ago and started exercising again.

Wrong decision number 3: Not having taken the pain in my leg seriously enough on the first day, thinking that it was just a sore muscle from TaiChi class; and having flown Mexico-Miami-Mexico within a 48 hours period. The Blood clots formed during that time!

Right decision number 4: chose to go straight to the hospital to check on my leg instead of going to the sports doctor I usually go to. According to the doctors in the hospital “this was the best decision I’ve made in the last few months” Had I not decided to go to the hospital right there and then, the problem could have been a whole lot worse.

Now, how exactly did I make this last decision? Call it instinct, fear, casualty, luck, previous experiences or a combination of these all, I don’t exactly know.

What I do know though, is that all of this reminded me of how important it is to be completely conscious  and aware of the decisions we make every day.
It doesn’t matter if it is a life altering decision or a day to day one, like the route we’ll take today to drive to work, every decision can have huge consequences in our life.

Fortunately we can also decide how to take the results from our decisions: negatively or positively, with anger and sadness or with a smile and good will; plus we can also decide to change the way things are, change our mind, correct our way, take new decisive actions and keep on going. And the best of all is that we can decide for ourselves!

So next time you have to make a decision, no matter how simple it is, don’t forget to:

1- Be fully aware of your context and weight in the consequences of the decisions. The more aware we are the better decision we make. I sure will!.

2-  Do not let anyone decide for you. It maybe that your decisions will affect others, but in the end the only one who will have to live 24/5 with your decisions or lack of it, will be you. So be responsible and make your own choice. I sure will too!

3- Don’t be afraid to decide. Remember you can always changeyour mind, although that will be your decision too.

An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.