Sunday, March 10, 2013

Find Yourself Online

OK. You've Googled your name, which everyone will agree is step one. How about the steps beyond that? Here are some strategies to find yourself online.
  • Use quotes — Have you searched for your name in quotes ("Fred Stutzman")? You'll see a more targeted result set. This general strategy works by itself or with any of the following strategies. A search engine's results are only as good as the query being put in. Ask many times, many ways.
  • Search all of your name(s) — Say you have a nickname, maiden name, or a name under which you publish. Search these names as well ("Fred Stutzman", "Frederic Stutzman", "F Stutzman", "Stutzman, F"), both with and without quotes.
  • Try spelling variations — People are bad at spelling, and if you've got a complicated name, people might be writing about you and spelling your name wrong. Try a couple of different spelling variations ("Terrell", "Terrill", "Terrelle", "Terell", "Terrelll").
  • Use name association — Say you are affiliated with a project, and people talk about you in the context of this project. They won't always use your last name. Fred, for example, has been affiliated with claimID and ibiblio. Searches like Fred ibiblio and Fred claimID may bring back new results. Don't limit yourself with name associations; you can search your name with things like your church's name, your hometown, your school's name, and so on. However, as the institution or place you associate yourself with gets bigger, the chances of the results matching you get smaller, so try and throw additional terms in there that may help you. An example of a more targeted search term would be your name, your company and your department (Example: Fred ibiblio systems).
  • Search for things that don't mention you explicitly — There's more about you online than just the stuff that your name! For example, your various profiles in services like Ebay, Flickr, Amazon, MySpace and Epinions may not mention your name. These are part of your identity, and if you want people to see these pages, link to them with claimID. If you've spent a ton of time writing Amazon reviews, why not help people find them?
  • Don't forget things you've created — Say you've written an article or designed a Web page about someone else. Unless you've created a portfolio page, people won't know that you're the creative force behind these things. ClaimID is really good for creating a portfolio of the work you've done. Sure, these things aren't about you, but they speak to your online identity. So go ahead and add 'em!
  • Remember memberships, past and present — Your college's website may not mention you, but isn't it a part of your identity? You can add links to schools you've attended, places you've worked, and organizations you've been a member of. When people visit your claimID page, they will be able to easily browse through these things that can speak volumes about your identity. Don't limit yourself; claimID is about presenting your best face on the net, and anything that is online that speaks to your identity is absolutely fair game!
  • Try lots of search engines — Don't limit yourself to just one search engine. The internet is much, much bigger than the size of all the search engines' indexes combined. Google, Yahoo!, MSN Search, Teoma, MetaCrawler, Clusty, Alexa, A9, Dogpile and are just a few of the search engines out there. Find a huge list of search engines here.

William Arruda's Personal Branding Predictions

1. Video, Video, Video
Thanks to greater bandwidth, cheaper storage, and a proliferation of products and services that make shooting, storing, viewing, and sharing video easy (Flip video, iPhone 3GS, YouTube, vimeo,, vodpod, etc.), video will be king in 2010. Video is ideal because it allows careerists to deliver a complete communication and convey their personality—a critical component of branding.
2. Hiring Process
Companies will be hiring brands rather than employees. They will use social networks and Google to source talent, filter candidates, and validate credentials. "What's your brand?" will become as standard an interview question as "Tell me about yourself."
3. Branded Partners
Often more traditional in their approach to marketing and delivering their services, professional-services firms (accounting, law, consulting, etc.) are going to jump on the "brandwagon" with reckless abandon in 2010. In 2010, personal branding will be integrated into all levels in a firm—from hiring through becoming partner.
4. For-Credit Courses
Personal branding is a critical part of preparing students for successful careers.
5. Unified Search
We are already seeing many new services, such as, that combine search results from many different search engines.Those who are building their personal brands will need to use various tools to ensure their visibility is positive and pervasive.
6. Video Search
With the huge growth in video on the Web (see prediction No. 1), we will start to see more sophisticated search capabilities within videos.  Currently, most search tools use titles and meta-tags to evaluate the video content to include in search results. That will change—making video the most powerful tool for brand-building.
7. Increased Efficiency
New services are available to make the process of maintaining your brand online quicker, more efficient, and more integrated. Tools such as KnowEm, HelloTxt, and help you build your personal brand on the Web in less time and with less effort.
8. Personal SEO
SEO is just as important to people who are looking to build their brands. Of course, most of us cannot afford to have a full-time SEO expert on staff. That's why companies such as QAlias and PeoplePond have sprung up. Their services are great for career-minded professionals—especially those who have a common name or share their name with a celebrity. More such tools will become available and popular  in 2010.
9. Digital Dirt Elimination
As Google results affect more aspects of our lives (getting a job, a loan, a date, etc.), people will engage firms such as ReputationDefender, Defend My Name, and Online Reputation Manager to eliminate digital dirt.
10. Permanent Mindset Shift
The confluence of Web 2.0 technologies and today's economic climate due to the subprime mortgage meltdown has changed the way we think about our careers.As we start to think of ourselves as companies of one, we will be more likely and more comfortable outsourcing activities related to our personal brands—building a management team to help us achieve our professional goals.

Personal Branding is about Fashion

I recently presented my pitch on personal branding at two lunch time events in Sunnyvale.  On the first occasion I wore tan corduroy pants with the shirt you see above.  And more recently I wore black pants with the same shirt.   I didn't really think too much about it except that I know this is a good color on me.
I started a small buzz when people realized that the business cards I was handing out before the event matched my shirt.  I had several people remark about it to my surprise. I have been dressing up a bit lately since I shifted from being a software architect to being a business development social media evangelist who just happens to be an expert in personal branding.
We should never discount the impact color and style can make with other people.   Color and probably fashion can play an important factor in developing your personal brand.   I like a strong emotional color like orange - because if feels like me - articulate, personable, and warm.   Companies pay huge amounts of money to get their brand colors just right.  In my case my wife Jacquelyn paid a couple of hundred dollars to get my colors done so that she could shop for me.   I learned alot about how to use my eye extension colors in my tie - when going on an interview.   But to tell you the truth - I usually just select things I like - but more often than not it a good color for me too.  
When I want to make an impression about my personality I like wearing things with some color.  In contrast I love grey - but its not the best color to project my enthusiasm or my emotion. 
My wife by the way used to work for Oracle and we always remarked how many employees there wore black.   I always thought that made Oracle more intellectual than emotional.  So I guess if you dont make you living connecting with others - the neutral colors are fine.
Knowing about yourself and the colors you look good in helps promote your brand.  And in my case Ive noticed Im more confident when wearing comfortable but stylish clothing.  And you never want someone to think that your are "Out of Style" Just as its important to stay current in your profession - its important both to have a memorable style while not reminding people of the 70's.
Living at the nexus of Technology, Service, Marketing and Evangelism

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Brand Evangelist and Social Media

A Brand Evangelist is a person who promotes your brand without regard for compensation.  Their reward is the association with your brand.   Your brand becomes part of their identity.  The goal of any brand is to find and cultivate Brand Evangelists who can promote your brand everywhere without costing you a cent.  Social Media provides a great platform for you to grow some Brand Evangelists for yourself.
A Brand Evangelist:
  • Purchase and believe in your product or service
  • Passionately recommend you to friends, neighbours, colleagues
  • Purchase your products as gifts to others
  • Provide unsolicited feedback or praise
  • Forgive dips in service and quality
  • Are not bought; they extol your virtues freely
  • Feel part of something bigger than themselves
The place that Brand Evangelist congregate is online.  You can use Social Media to create a place where your Brand Evangelists can thrive by catering to their passions and needs.  Specifically Brand Evangelists:
  • Need to share experiences - Social Networks provide a place where they can publicly share their stories about your brand.  We all know the power a personal story can be to influence others to buy your brand.  The evangelists can become your ambassadors online.
  • Exhibit a high level of brand pride.  You can connect with your evangelists by providing images, logos, other branded paraphernalia that they can acquire, wear and share.
  • Want to know as much as there is to know about you.  You will need to provide intimate stories about your company online.  Share the CEO's personal blog.  Publish videos of how you get things done in house.   Your Brand Evangelists will be empowered by knowing all the minutia about your brand and company.
  • Are looking for a place to hang out with other evangelists.  You must provide online communities where they can congregate and share their stories.  Facebook has done a great job of providing a public space where brand fans can show themselves.  On the Fan Page you should take this opportunity to reward your evangelists in small ways and make them feel special.
Living at the nexus of Technology, Service, Marketing and Evangelism

The Well Branded Business Card


Ive seen many a business card in my day.  Mostly all forgetable.  When I meet someone interesting and get their card I usually invite them to join me on Linkedin as soon as I get home.  The card gets tossed into a stack of other business cards never to be retrieved again. Sometimes after a large event I have a card for someone who I cant remember.  Nothing on the card jogs my memory particularly if I havent made any notes.
Your business card needs to stand out just as your brand needs to stand out. It needs to be memorable so the reciever takes a look at it before slipping it into their pocket. Ive compiled a short list of branding business card tips.
  • Use a personal image if you feel comfortable with that.  This allows the person to remember you later.  We remember faces more than specific conversations.
  • Use a color on your card to make it pop.   A colored card will stand out in a sea of plain white cards.
  • Some cards are noticiable because they are a different size.  Im not crazy about the tiny or the larger cards because they dont fit into my stack of cards.  But I have to admit that its memorable.
  • Dont use glossy print that someone cant write on.  Often times I make notes on the card after the conversation.  A glossy card looks good but if you cant write on it - then its defeating the purpose. 
  • Dont use up every single bit of space on your card - front and back - since this will leave no room to take notes.
  • Use a tagline that summarizes your brand.  Mine is "simplify organize finish".  I cant tell you how many people have remarked about it.
  • Include your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin urls so that they can connect with you later.
  • Include the usually stuff - but think about keeping it sparse.  Name, email and phone are the basics.
  • I have seen the back of a card used to great effect - listing special skills like a mini resume.  This could be effective for a job hunter - but mostly I think its overkill.
  • There is nothing wrong with inexpensive business cards that you get from But pay to have their information not printed on the back.  Dont use a generic template - I can spot them a mile away.
  • My friend Scott Monfort prints high quality custom business cards for specific events. He includes his image and the name of the event.  Later a person will remember meeting Scott at the event - even months later.
  • I like to see a bit of personality in a business card - just like a good brand. My friend David Paktor has a wonderfully memorable card that uses a bug caught in a trap and the words "The Bug Stops Here" - he is a great software developer.
  • The design of your card should reflect what you do.  My friend Katherine Spencer is a visual designer and uses drafting-like drawings to help other connect with her and her brand.
  • If you print your cards yourself at home - make sure that everything is nicely formatted and that its not obvious that its homemade.  Sometimes its worth the money to just get some printed in order to protect your brand and the impression others have of you.
  • And lastly - never show up to a networking event without your cards. 

Your Personal Brand Can Change The World

I remember a comment Neil Young had about Live Aid and other similar events. He said "save yourself". I have always thought about that and realized that after I find my true self and act upon that fact - the world will change around me.

Personal Branding - Expertise vs Expert



I have found that when we talk about ourselves we might say that we have some particular expertise in something and only rarely do we say "I am an expert". This is a personal branding mistake. For example, I might say that I have expertise in Java Software Architecture. But it would be better expressed as saying "I am a Java Software Architecture Expert". 

And another thing, the more you repeat this phrase - the more people will believe it and refer to you as the "Expert".  Saying that you have "expertise" is a commodity statement that is cast away from consciousness faster than you can finish the sentence.  When branding yourself - you must refer to yourself directly - and you must create real impressions in the minds of your audience.