Brand Awareness Month
January 12, 2015 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I recently had a navel gazing moment, and I realized that my, "Personal Brand," might need some work. I thought about asking people how they viewed me, but then quickly realized that I might not know the right questions to ask, and also might not get honest feedback. I assume there are people out there in marketing or advertising that help clients develop logos or their brand, and I was wondering what questions you would ask a client to help you/them determine how they want to present that brand to the public. Turning this onto myself is the ultimate goal, and I realize this is an AskMeFiAskMeFi - what questions should I be prepared to answer if I intend to change my personal brand?
posted by Chuffy to Work & Money (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Question 1: Why do you want to have a personal brand in the first place? How will commodifying your identity benefit you and/or your career? What kind of career do you have, and what kind do you want?
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:55 PM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

people who talk about this are either doing it tongue-in-cheek or they have a clear, foreseeable path to making money or achieving some end for being known for who they are. This could be anything from a comedian who tweets so that people will notice her and think she's funny and go see her show to a professional speaker (same thing, not as funny), to a web designer who is trying to build a reputation so that people will notice his work and maybe buy some of it. Bill Gates has more money than he knows what to do with; his "personal brand" concerns doing charitable stuff and making sure people know what he's doing, either just due to ego or out of concern that he can influence others to do similar things.

If there isn't really a public component to it, it's just reputation, which is a valuable thing, but doesn't require hiring someone or taking a course. Just - be yourself. If you want to write and be known for writing, write stuff and put it on a blog. Go nuts. But you don't really need to worry about it too much unless you're hoping to make money or achieve influence for some quantifiable thing. And if you have that going on, then your task is Marketing 101, and it's been going on since before there was social media. Who will buy your services/who will be influenced? That's your audience. What do they want? How can you give it to them, and promote the fact that you've got it?

That's the path you go down, but if you don't know what you're selling or who you're selling it to, that's your first step. If you just want to be well known for its own sake, I dunno, try reality TV. :-)
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:19 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh man. Here are my thoughts...brand management, brand awareness, personal brand...all of these are marketing speak. And yes, there are lots of marketing things you can do and plenty of resources out there to do it.

But they seem to leave out that you need something to brand. If your personal brand needs work what does that mean, exactly? Were you mean to people in public? Posted too many partying pictures? Or does it mean you're not the kind of person who has substance; that you are looking for others to help you without thinking about what you have to offer to others.

So the question I would ask is - what would you add to others' lives as an internet publisher/social media presence/professional. If you were at my networking brunch, what would people be coming to you for? If you can't answer that, then you don't have something to brand yet. All you can do is pre-damage control -- don't be a jerk.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:32 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

It is impossible to answer this question without know what "your brand" is for. What field do you work in? What are your goals WRT "brand"? Do you work in a public facing capacity? Are you a freelancer? How niche of a thing is it? (Like, are you a "writer", or are you a translator of Japanese needle-felting patterns? Know what I mean?) Are you looking to gain new clients? Springboard from amateur to professional? Build a resume?

If none of the above pertains to you/you don't see the relevance of your questions, my guess is that this is not really something you need to be concerned about at all.
posted by Sara C. at 3:05 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I suppose my question is too generic and people don't have a set of questions they'd ask a client or company to determine what type of design or logo or brand they would present...the point isn't "Why do you even want to have a brand?" it's "How do people who do this approach the subject to begin the process?"

I want to take a critical look at my online presence, my in-person presence and my professional presence. I'm brainstorming questions for myself like the following:

What do your clothes say about you?
What social media/online sites do you think you'd like to participate in professionally?
What skills do you have that others do not, and why do you think those skills differentiate you from others?
What's your favorite color?

You know, shit like that.
posted by Chuffy at 4:55 PM on January 12, 2015

I think this is a good thing to do.

Start with an objective.
"My personal brand will make believe that I fulfill ."

Without that, questions like, "am I wearing the right clothes?" or "am I involved in the right organizations?" don't really go anywhere.

posted by jander03 at 5:00 PM on January 12, 2015

I also think this is a good thing to do even if you aren't a media facing public figure. Building a personal brand can also be extremely helpful in navigating large organizations and institutions. You should ask yourself "what do I want to be known for?" And then go from there.
posted by seesom at 5:22 PM on January 12, 2015

Ask people - "what three words would you use to describe me?". This is less awkward than asking for more general feedback, and even if most people will feel comfortable sticking with positive words, WHAT those positive words are will tell you a lot about how you're perceived.
posted by ontheradio at 6:38 AM on January 13, 2015

Sorry if this is too obvious, but searching google for "personal brand consultant" gets you a bunch of results for people who help do this. Checking out a few of their websites might give you some ideas.
posted by MsMolly at 10:27 AM on January 13, 2015

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