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Regardless of how we may feel about it, if we interact online, no matter in how small a way, we leave a digital footprint that could identify us and be used for some others purpose. So intentional or not, your personal brand is already under development.

What is your personal brand? Your personal brand represents the total experience somebody has when they interact or engage with you and what you represent. For many, their digital interactions are extensive involving many venues and media types. In short, personal brands should be considered holistic in nature.

Everyday life is becoming more digitized. There is an inevitability here; take charge of your digital footprint before somebody else does. Of course, we're not talking about your digital footprint being used to target you for consumer marketing purposes, that's something we are all going to have to learn to live with. We're referring to ensuring your digital footprint identifies you, your personal brand, in a positive way to potential clients or as a recognized personality in your industry and is cultivated and developed accordingly.

Most of us are already aware to some degree of how this information is being used right now; through legitimate or semi legitimate marketing and identity theft or fraud. That's the bad news. The good news is, those that know how, can take back a high degree of control.

Unfortunately, social media has rather lessened the original intent of a personal brand, cheapened and commoditised it. Many people have fallen in to the simple belief that social media is the answer to a great online personal brand. While social media certainly plays a part, it is just one piece of the strategy. In delivering quick results raising your personal profile, it distracts from the overall journey of personal brand development which is a much larger task than just social media alone. Put another way: Social media can, for some people, represent a station on the brand journey where they step off for tea and forget to get back on the train again.

Occam Digital's Personal Brand Development

As Personal Brand Consultants we take a holistic view of personal brand development; here's why.

As the world of digital media rapidly develops an inescapable conclusion arises: there's a fundamental interconnectedness of all things, digital and traditional - a 'holism.'

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Each time we engage online, we generate a 'digital ripple.' Often the ripple is limited and dies away. Other times though, as it propagates, it becomes a digital tsunami taking your identity and reputation with it; typified when something that is posted online goes 'viral.'

The holism exists because the ripples extend over a wide range of media, and time. What may have started as a simple email or Facebook post could end up as national news, highlighting the intertwined and seamlessness of today's hybrid online and offline worlds.

More often though, ripples are small and their impact limited save perhaps for time. Time is not just a great healer, it's often a great amplifier too. That can work for you or against you. If your objective then, is to become renowned for a specific skill or experience base, 'developing your personal brand is as much about the path you take getting there as it is about arriving. '

Ensuring the ripples your create online carry the information you want and help reinforce your positioning within your industry or peer group, is a central part to your personal brand strategy. Conversely, other people and companies can create ripples that relate to you and your personal brand.

As they impact your brand, just like ripples on a pond, they can either be constructive or destructive. In the right hands and with the right strategy and response, potentially negative ripples can be mitigated or canceled out through the way they are handled or the information used to counter the original source of the ripple. Equally, constructive ripples can be amplified to many times their original size, generating a mass of positive news and attention for your personal brand.

The world of today's digital personal brand then is all about leaving the right footprints in the digital sand and the kind of ripples you make when dropping your information pebbles in the digital pond.

Child's play?

 

Written By Robin Brown

 

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