Hey pBranders, thursday next week (17.12.2020) at 6:00 pm there will be an early Christmas present for executives. I’ll be chatting with Christa Wilhelm, Tom Mühlmann and Daniel Frystacki about my favorite topic, personal branding. An interactive online event about personal branding as a success factor for executives.
Many many years ago, I worked intensively with Christa Wilhelm – at that time in her function as Head of Marketing at Microsoft Deutschland GmbH – on marketing dashboards, optimization of operational advertising campaigns and on defining value propositions. Then we lost sight of each other, because Christa started her own business how2change and I turned to other topics; still marketing, but other customers.
But you know the saying: you always meet twice in life. Not too long ago, I met Christa again and we talked about our areas of work without any obligation. We talked about personal branding and a few weeks ago I was invited to participate in the next interactive online event. There was not much to think about, I spontaneously said yes, because I personally like the format very much. Not much is revealed about the content, just a few keywords:
Why is personal branding more than nice homepage, a fancy LinkedIn account and a little bit kling kling around your person?
What exactly can be understood by a journey into one’s own competitiveness?
What are the first steps in implementing a personal brand?
The rest is a surprise. I’m looking forward to the date next week and of course I’m also looking forward to a lively participation. Stay tuned.
The German Ministry of Health apparently has its own idea about the situation of the artists: they lie at home dreaming and lazy on the carpet, fantasizing and enjoying the lavish lockdown compensation.
Funny, all the musicians, DJs, singers, etc. I’ve talked to tell me something different. Also in the newspapers you could read reports about artists who harvested cucumbers in the summer or other people had to clean other people’s apartments so that they could buy anything to eat. Against this background, the (perhaps well-intentioned) advertisement of the Federal Ministry of Health seems like a sheer mockery.
The picture shows a musician, who is obviously in great shape and is dreamily composing the next song. But maybe he’s just lying there listening to his growling stomach, because he doesn’t earn anything at the moment and therefore can’t buy himself anything to eat. Only the employees of the Ministry of Health or the responsible advertising agency can reveal this secret.
Do artists really work? The MoH might have a different perspective…
Is that the idea of the responsible employees in the ministry: artists are not relevant to the system, do not work properly anyway and are therefore not worth protecting? In my opinion, artists are very much relevant to the system, art is an expression of civilization. Even if perhaps the expression of some art forms does not necessarily correspond to the ideas of elderly ladies and gentlemen. This is always made abundantly clear to me when I discuss my musical hobbies with colleagues. Especially the keyword “Techno” evokes reactions between pitiful devaluation and obvious horror.
But perhaps the explanation is much simpler, the responsible employees have not taken into account my often expressed advice: “it is not the question whether an advertisement can be misunderstood, but how it can be misunderstood”. If I have no idea about a subject or want to address a target group that I do not know, then I ask at least one member of this target group. But obviously the decision makers don’t have much to do with artists, otherwise such a faux pas wouldn’t have happened.
What is particularly sad about this advertisement is that many musicians would support the central statement, but please do not use it in combination with this picture. In Corona times this does not really correspond to the self-image of all artists.
I’m waiting for the next Saturday, let’s see which advertising firecracker is in the newspaper again.
Today I am introducing a very special tool, the Personal Branding Edition of the Ishikawa Diagram. You will be surprised how easy it is to successfully initiate changes. The key is to realize that you get a grip on the causes of your behavior. How? Enjoy reading.
In the last article I presented a simple tool to analyze the use (or waste) of your time. A very simple categorization should help you to think a little bit more consciously about this whole topic and find some areas for improvement. Today we will go one step further.
In today’s video, I would like to introduce a tool that is no longer dewy, but still up-to-date and very helpful: the Ishikawa diagram. You often find the term fishbone diagram or cause-effect diagram. This tool is used in quality management especially for the identification of quality problems and the elimination of their causes.
The Japanese Kaoru Ishikawa realized relatively quickly that there is no point in putting off problems and thinking up all kinds of tricks to live with them. No, it makes more sense to get to the bottom of the problems, identify their causes and then get them under control. And what has long been a standard for quality management should only be fair for personal branding. In the video I present the first part of the Personal Branding Edition of the Ishikawa Diagram. Have fun with the video.
On Saturday Amazon gave me a push to write another article about advertisements. Before you continue reading, please take a look at the photo and read the text more carefully. Doesn’t this automatically make you wonder and critically question whether this portrayal of the company as a highly social enterprise is really credible? Overall, this ad is not badly made, but it does leave a slightly irritating impression. Why?
In my opinion, the company has exaggerated a bit too much or has sent the whole issue through a rather pink filter. In my opinion, a very important clue is missing. The cornerstone of almost all careers is an employee’s ability to perform and work as part of a team. Those who produce results and integrate themselves positively into a social environment, rise up. But this is not what this advertisement is about, only the willingness of the employee to improve. This willingness in all honour, but it is only the prerequisite for a career, not the guarantor. Probably the harsh reality would not have fitted the positive presentation of the employee’s personality. But it would have been more honest, because in the perception of the population, American companies tend to stand for a practiced, sometimes hard performance principle.
In addition, the reporting on the company and on Jeff Bezos in recent years has led to Amazon’s rather negative image: monopolist, opponents of trade unions, harsh working conditions, etc. In my opinion, it is precisely this contrast that is responsible for the irritating impression. Therefore it would have been more credible and honest if Amazon had added here that everybody can become something if they really perform.
In this article I would like to introduce a new lecture format. I had nothing else in mind but to develop the perfect marketing lessen. It should combine marketing know-how, SEO knowledge, the professional handling of social networks, and a lot of fun. Did I succeed? More on this in the article.
The basic idea behind the marketing lecture:
Attentive readers of my blog know that I like experiments. During the shutdown in the summer term I started to develop innovative electives based on a new version my personal branding concept. The students should learn to market themselves authentically and credibly. Not just theoretically, but very practically. In addition, the students should not only improve their concepts slowly and coached by me in learning loops, but also transfer this into practice. It was clear to me from the very beginning that the core of the whole subject would be a WordPress blog run by a student team. The students should be completely free to choose their thematic focus, so that the fun of the whole thing is not neglected.
The concrete learning outcomes or how to acquire blogging and marketing know how.
Acquire basic marketing know-how about blogging. Since many companies are looking for ways to present themselves optimally, this is an investment for the student’s professional future. They can also prove that they have really gained practical know-how and have not only heard about blogging in theory. Of course it was obvious to use the secret worldwide standard – WordPress – as a basis for the activities. Especially because there are a lot of interesting, free plugins for optimizing a blog.
Acquire basic SEO know-how. It’s much easier to teach students the SEO-tricks by analyzing and optimizing their blog posts and with the help of the excellent MathRank plugin, rather than spend a long lecture session rambling on this topic.
Professional use of social networks. Most students have social media accounts, but few have thought about how to use them professionally. Especially WordPress is perfectly suited to act as an efficient spider in your own communication network. There are also some plugins (some free of charge, some with a 30-day trial period) that can be used to automatically connect social networks to your own blog in order to efficiently distribute your messages in many different channels. This is also a form of marketing know-how that every student can use in one way or another in his or her professional future.
Through teamwork, students learn to coordinate, develop a communication plan and thus act professionally.
The results of the marketing lecture:
I was really enthusiastic about the results. The students threw themselves into the work with excitement and drive. And produced really interesting and great content. Here are a few notes about the teams and their activities:
During my time at Siemens I learned a a lot about concepts and their implementation. In too many cases my colleagues spent too much time developing an exciting and more or less perfect concept. But they completely forgot the implementation and continuous improvement process. Having these situations in mind I developed a simple but effective continuous improvement process for your personal brand. In the video you will find the short overview. Enjoy the video.
In the second part of my approach to the nature of a personal brand, I briefly dealt with the topic of performance and result orientation. In the third and last part, the focus is on personality. It is the core of the brand identity of a personal brand, similar to the brand identity of product brands. Here, it is primarily a matter of communicating an authentic and trustworthy image based on one’s own psychological profile. The highlights are presented in the video. Have fun watching.
Anyone who has rummaged around in my blog will soon realize that, unlike many other personal branding experts, I don’t focus on personality, but on the performance of a person. Why? If you are a nice guy, but your performance is interchangeable, there is a good chance that your customer will still take the better-priced competitor. Your competitive advantages are limited.
If you are a nice guy and your service is unique and competitive, then a customer will accept a higher price or your future employer is willing to pay a higher salary. However, building a unique offering involves a lot of effort, unlike the little bit of klinkling around presenting yourself. More about this in the video.