Personal and Firm Branding In The Age of Social Media

Personal Branding In The Age of Social & Digital Media

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Branding, Personal Branding 9 Comments

To discuss branding in the age of social and digital media, one must first understand what branding is.

What Is A Personal Brand?

Let’s start with the concept of a brand, which makes the concept of branding intuitive.

A personal brand is a set of characteristics, along with your personality and your way of doing business that is evident to anyone who does business with you, or who observes you.

  • It tells people who you are.
  • It tells people what you will be like to do business with.
  • It tells people what your personality is.
  • It tells people what you know…or don’t know.
  • It tells people what they can expect from you.
  • It evokes a feeling based on all of the above.

Next, let’s look at a few examples.

Starbucks

What comes to mind when you hear or see the name Starbucks? It’s different for different people.

  • Expensive?
  • Quality drinks?
  • Trendy?
  • Choice?
  • The go-to place for coffee lovers?
  • Quality plastic cups?
  • A little too cool for school?

Whether you’re a Starbucks fan or not, certain words and feelings come to mind when you hear or see their name. This is their brand in your mind.

Southwest Airlines

  • Inexpensive, or less expensive than most?
  • No frills?
  • No fees?
  • Happy-go-lucky flight attendants?
  • Purchase directly from the source?
  • No resellers?
  • No markup?
  • Inconvenient?
  • Cattle call?

Again, certain words and feelings come to mind when you hear or see the Southwest Airlines name. These words, feelings, and characteristics are their brand.

The Difference Between A Brand and Branding

Branding is the act, or actions, that communicate the brand that we discussed above.

You have the thoughts and feelings I discussed in the last section because of the branding process that Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, and, these days, their customers, supporters, and detractors have undertaken to communicate what they are like to do business with.

Who Has Control Of Defining Our Brand?

Branding is often in our control because of a strategic process we have undertaken that helps us identify what our firms, companies, and individuals stand for, and how they would like to be perceived. It is sometimes out of our control because of the reactions others have to our brand, and their attempts to alter that perception in peoples’ minds via any chosen method of communication.

How Do You Undertake The Branding Process?

If branding is the process of communicating what we know we stand for, our brand, and which we’d like to make sure others understand about us, then what should that process include?

It should include just about everything we and our colleagues say and do because our clients, potential clients, influencers, media, and others we have defined as our perfect audiences are watching today in a way they never have before.

Because we are communicating so publicly today via social media, we need to remember that our presence in these media, just as in traditional media, helps to communicate to others what our brand is.

For example, if I stand for…

  • Marketing
  • Knowledge of social media
  • Being a strategic thinker
  • Understanding business
  • Professionalism
  • Quality thinking
  • Informed opinions
  • The importance of self-education
  • Caring for other professionals
  • Advancing my craft
  • A well-rounded marketing perspective
  • Interactive
  • Conversational
  • Advice born from years of study, observation, and immersion
  • An early adopter of technology
  • Being easy to do business with, and
  • Caring for my clients

…then it is important that what and how I communicate via social, digital, and all other media is consistent with those characteristics.

Critical Note: Branding Is Not Your Wish List

Branding is not communicating that which I, and you, are not.  If I am none of the above, then I shouldn’t try to create a persona that is a wish list, and neither should you. In fact, the process of branding becomes quite easy because it is very simply that which I already stand for, and which I am working on daily.

Branding Never Ends

You and I, and every firm, company, and brand, have the responsibility to never stop branding. It is part of our responsibility as business owners, partners, associates, directors, managers, and employees to help our target audiences understand what we are like to do business with and to help them understand what makes us unique.

Remember, no two entities are identical.  As long as there are human beings involved, there will always be unique brand characteristics to show others whom we would like to know, and those with whom we would like to do business.

Others Will Define Your Brand For You

It is also important to know that branding takes place whether you want it to or not. Because of the rise and growth of social and digital media, conversations are taking place today in unprecedented numbers. It becomes even more important to step up, be deliberate about your branding process, take part in social and digital media, interact, listen to the conversation, and react accordingly in order to support and protect your brand.

If you don’t, who will?

Additional Personal Branding Posts That Might Interest You

Personal Branding For Lawyers: What Do You Want To Be Known For?

You Damage More Than Your Own Personal Brand With Bad Online Behavior 

Branding vs. Positioning: What Is The Difference and Do You Need Both?

In Business, Personal Branding Is Important

Lawyers & Law Firms, Are You Paying Attention To Your Brand?

Personal Branding In The Age of Social & Digital Media (this post)

Can Your Personal Brand Hurt Your Firm’s Brand?

Nancy Myrland, Legal Marketing and Business Development Advisor to Lawyers

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Advisor, specializing in Content, Social & Digital Media. She helps lawyers grow their practices by integrating the right marketing practices in order to build their reputations and their relationships, which leads to building their practices.

Also known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, Nancy is a frequent LinkedIn trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement content, social, and digital media strategies that cut through the clutter and are more relevant to their current and potential clients.

She is also a personal branding speaker, trainer, and advisor, helping legal and business professionals in firms understand the importance and the impact of defining and reinforcing their personal brand. 

Nancy is also the founder of the hybrid self-study and live online course, LinkedIn Course For Lawyers, where she personally guides lawyers through the sequential creation of their LinkedIn profile and presence. 

As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasting, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. Nancy also works with many firms and lawyers on Zoom and virtual presentation training and coaching to be the best they can be when presenting online.

She also helps lead select law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.

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