Reading the description of branding I realise that I have massive misconceptions about it. I always thought of branding as anexercise I needed to go out and ‘do’, like marketing or promotional work, I suppose. Now I realise that it’s something I’m already doing – people construct an image of my brand according to my opinions, my CV, how I’m dressed, my mistakes and my successes. Scary stuff. Which makes me think about other people’s brands and how I perceive them. It’s easy to pre-judge someone based on their position or reputation and there have been times when I’ve got it wrong. Other people might be getting it wrong about me, quick, I need to do something!
I googled myself using my maiden name and my married name (I only got married in February this year). If people go looking for my online brand, they’ll find Twitter and LinkedIn profiles of people who aren’t me (I’m not yet using either). They’ll also find an art consultant and an architect with the same name. However, add ‘librarian’ to the search and you’ll find me! There’s links to a presentation I delivered at a CILIP event, library newsletters and our regional website. However, there’s no one central point of reference that describes me or what I do. I think a LinkedIn profile would be a really useful way to present my professional role (I use Facebook for friends/family and personal stuff). Jumping on the Twitter bandwagon would allow people to access my opinions / interests / values etc.
Reading Ned Potter’s presentation, You already have a brand! Here are 5 ways to influence it…, I realise that all of the professional activities I’m involved in have a useful by-product – my brand! The conferences I’ve presented at and the publications I’ve written have been sending a silent message to my peers (and prospective employers!) about the kind of librarian that I am. I’m happy in my current role and don’t think about moving on in the near future, but all this will come in handy if I ever want to move sectors and need to demonstrate that I’ve got transferable skills.
Last year I learned a hard lesson in how not to manage your brand. Whilst on maternity leave I was asked to contribute to an article that was being submitted to a journal about a project that I’d been involved in. Of course, I agreed. When the article draft was emailed to me, I was in the throes of new motherhood and didn’t read it as carefully as I should have. It was submitted to the journal in a less than perfect state and I cringe every time I read it because I know it could be improved. I regret that this might have a negative impact on my brand but I know that it was a one-off and I won’t make the same mistake again (by mistake I mean not proof-reading carefully enough, not having a baby ;-)).
So, my conclusions and next steps from this exercise are:
- Create a LinkedIn profile
- Set up a Twitter account
- Use the power of my brand to share a positive message about myself!