4 questions that will make your personal branding project go down the drain.

E-Mail-Ratgeber und Personal-Branding-Canvas gehen in die falsche Richtung.

After we have briefly clarified the essential principle of personal branding in the last article, many are probably already in the starting blocks, scratching their hooves and finally want to get started. Yay, there’s the Internet. If you surf for a while, you’ll come across a few email guides or personal branding canvases relatively quickly. Of course, these offerings are free, but in my opinion they lead you in the wrong direction from the start.

Before I solve the puzzle, briefly on the questions in the canvas or email guides that I personally find problematic:

  1. How do others perceive you? You are supposed to answer this question with friends and acquaintances. Hand on heart, who do you ask? But not the one with whom you don’t get along or with whom you fell out years ago. And this brings us to the first trap. A key insight from social psychology is that people prefer to surround themselves with people who have similar attitudes, views and values to their own. The potential for discovering serious opportunities for improvement and deficits is marginal. In this case, a comparison with product development is allowed, because you get much more interesting input from non-customers than from long-term, loyal customers. I sometimes see the latter as very generous in overlooking certain bugs, while this is not the case with the former. This was one of the most interesting learning effects during my time at Siemens.
  2. In combination with the question just discussed, you then find the hint that you don’t have to take every opinion to heart. What a wonderful invitation to pick out only what fits into one’s own world view. Or, to put it very harshly: a guide to deceiving oneself.
  3. then it usually goes into a self-analysis of one’s strengths, weaknesses, reason whys, benefits, etc. If you have a canvas in front of you, then you can delightfully write something in each column. And when the blackness level of the sheet increases, you eventually put the pen aside and are quite proud of having accomplished a lot. Yuppidu, your own personal brand is almost in place. Let’s move on to the final spurt of self-analysis.
  4. What image do you have at the moment and what image would you like to have in the future? This question may make sense for artists who can position themselves autonomously. But if you are a self-employed person looking for customers or a future employee, your image must not only match your job profile, but also your customers. Just as the strengths, benefits, etc. must fit the customer’s requirements profile and not just exist in the customer’s own imagination.

Navel gazing as a personal branding tool? Does that work?

The catch in all of these questions is the navel-gazing itself. If you are completely honest with yourself, this approach can lead you in the right direction, but I have my doubts about that. Therefore, respect to anyone who can objectively assess themselves with these questions. Nevertheless, these approaches are very popular because they don’t hurt. You look at your personal branding canvas and decide: I’m great, and I have to change a little bit, too. But in doing so, you give away a great opportunity to seriously do something for your own competitiveness. To stay with my metaphor of the journey: DomRep-all-inclusive or couch surfing in Africa? Am I leaving my comfort zone or do I really want to get significantly (!) better?

Is there another way? Yes, of course, in marketing there are so many tools with which you can gradually – even without a consultant – approach a authentic, credible and competitive core of your own personal brand. And, which tools are these?

As always, you should stop just when it’s most exciting and that brings us to today’s cliffhanger. The next post is about reference points that you should definitely consider so that you’re running in the right direction right from the start.

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

More about Personal Branding…

Personal Branding, a journey?

Personal branding is one of the topics that are becoming increasingly important and interesting in the age of information overload and endless opportunities for self-expression on social networks. This article is about the core of personal branding, the creation of uniqueness

E-Mail-Ratgeber und Personal-Branding-Canvas gehen in die falsche Richtung.

Why one-size-fits-all? Isn’t everyone unique?

During my two management positions at Siemens – a long time ago – I had to read quite a few applications. After the HR department had already sorted out those who didn’t fit the picture at all, the following picture emerged: all applicants had good grades, had completed their studies on the fast track. In addition, they were highly motivated, goal-oriented, team players and, of course, ideally suited for the position. All of them were convinced that they were unique. All of them were convinced that they were clearly different from the masses. The candidates also demonstrated this eloquently in the interviews. And yet, each offered something similar and thus they were all interchangeable.

And that brings us to the topic: how can you escape this interchangeability through personal branding? Through big mouths and great internet presences?

The easiest way with the least effort is to optimize one’s social media accounts and launch a one-pager with meaningful content. Doesn’t hurt and is done with a manageable effort. With this short-term oriented approach, you definitely reach your goal, and may be invited to an interview (customer/employer). At the latest then you have to “let your pants down” and this can – depending on the competence of the partner – go in the pants or also work. Then, however, the probationary period or the first project approaches and, at the latest during this period, the “Moments of Truth” are already on the mat in the morning and accompany the test person throughout the day. Nevertheless – as examples such as Thomas Middelhoff and Billy McFarland show – you can hold your own for quite a long time even as a “Potemkin village”. But at some point, the charade comes to an end. The only thing that remains is long-term orientation.

In the long term, genuine uniqueness based on clearly recognizable results is the more promising strategy.

What can this look like? In the case of a musician, this would be a distinctive musical style; in the case of a professional, the ability to deliver better results in less time; in the case of a manager, a superior leadership style that combines increased efficiency, employee motivation and superior performance. Easy to say, but how do you create such uniqueness? Acquire knowledge, build competencies, acquire/deepen skills and get a grip on your own hubris. Sounds like a lot of work, blood, sweat and tears? Well, that’s the catch.

But now the good news, the journey to your own competitiveness is fun. Each milestone is another step toward true competence and competitive uniqueness. And it’s amazing what you learn about yourself in the process and how you successively become more efficient, better and more focused. As a side effect, so to speak, you achieve your goals much more effortlessly and easily.

What are we waiting for? Let’s pack our bags and get going.

Stop. What are we packing in our suitcases? We’ll talk about that next time. Stay tuned.

More about Personal Branding…

4 years with a Surface Book. 4 months with its successor, the MacBook.

Finally, 4 months ago, the new MacBook was on my desk. To conclude my experience with the Surface Book, a small comparison of the two systems. It should be said in advance that there is no such thing as the perfect laptop. Perhaps the last 3 posts gave the impression that a MacBook is the measure of all things and has an almost sacrosanct status with me. Far from it, but it is clearly the better compromise compared to its Microsoft predecessor. Let’s jump in.

One of the last Intel-MacBook-Mohicans

I deliberately ordered another of probably the last MacBooks with Intel processors, because I obviously didn’t want to miss the benefits of the Windows world. Locked up in Parallels, Windows 10 – disconnected from the rest of the MacBook – is allowed to lead a merry existence on the computer. This crutch became necessary because my declared favorite program, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, doesn’t run on the Mac.

I also didn’t feel like porting all my Access databases to an OS X solution. The virtual machine worked great, but was a big resource hog. Until the week before last, in 2 consecutive lecture blocks (3 hours, mostly PowerPoint presentations), a 100% charged battery was completely drained.

After some analysis, I had identified the culprit and since then I have had enough battery life for a full day of lectures. Another solution that is good for even better battery life: I present my lectures outside the virtual machine using Keynote. Now I have almost the excellent battery runtime of the Surface.

Summary MacBook vs. Surface Book

The quality of the MacBook is undeniably excellent, and the dimensions and weight are much more portable compared to the clunky Surface Book.

So far there have been no unpleasant surprises, I’ll hold off updating to Monterey for a few more months. We’ll see how the device performs in the next few years. Probably my last work notebook. All in all the better compromise.

Personal Branding for musicians.

Personal Branding für Musiker. Ein Artikel auf Delamar.

Already in August this year I wrote an article together with Thorsten Sprengel from delamar on the topic of self-marketing for musicians. Shortly after my vacation – end of September – the article was published. Since I already have my own opinion on the topic of Unique Selling Points of musicians, the actual topic was no problem thanks to my study (https://christianzich.com/category/personal-branding/).

A challenge, however, was the search for good examples. Mr. Sprengel gave me this task right at the beginning of our cooperation. O. k., I thought to myself, it won’t be easy; but I’ll do it. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find a few highlights in the vastness of the social networks. Far from it, I was really surprised how boring musicians are positioning and marketing themselves most of the time.

There’s particularly little to learn from the superstars. Their accounts are perfect, mostly without surprises, corners and edges and thus somehow stainless steel brushed, but boring. The superstars have so many followers because they were already famous in the pre-Instagram era. They are interesting not because of their content, but simply because they have a very high profile. Nevertheless, I found some examples. More about them on the following page:

Selbstvermarktung auf Instagram, Erfolgsgarant für Musiker? https://www.delamar.de/musikbusiness/selbstvermarktung-auf-instagram-61098/

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

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Personal Branding for Artists – the entire study.

Personal Branding, die Ergebnisse der Umfrage/Personal branding, the results of the survey

After publishing all the results of the Personal Branding Study for Artists last month, it’s time to summarize all the posts in one place, or comment on the links.

The 9 parts of the entire study:

  1. Personal branding survey, the results of the survey. Part 1.
  2. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 2.
  3. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 3
  4. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 4.
  5. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 5
  6. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 6.
  7. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 7.
  8. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.
  9. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

More about Personal Branding…

anding…

Personal branding for DJs.

Ein Artikel im DJ Magazin über Personal Branding für DJs; An article in the DJ Magazine about personal branding for DJs

Last week on Saturday came a very special gift from the professional association Discjockey e.V. (https://www.dj-magazin.de/) A few copies of the current DJ magazine, packed with interesting articles. Of course, I was especially pleased to see the publication of my article on personal branding for DJs.

Based on my study (Personal Branding for Artists – the entire study.), I worked out many tips and suggestions during the summer on how to market yourself better as a DJ. More will not be revealed, reading it yourself is fun.

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.

Why unfollow an artist on Instagram? The eighth and final part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

What are the reasons for unfollowing an artist?

We are entering the final spurt. An empirical study on social networks would definitely be incomplete without asking why people unfollow. Let’s jump in.

No surprise to me personally, the main reason for unfollowing is that the artist simply posts too much advertising. Number 2 is also obvious – if you review the previous results. Apparently, fans and followers on Instagram expect a permanent stream of new, creative ideas from an artist. If he/she no longer delivers that, he/she is almost certainly uninteresting.

Diagram What are the reasons for unfollowing an artist?

A little surprise for me is number 3, but understandable. Numbers 4,6,8 also indicate that loss of authenticity and closeness to fans and followers will lead to termination and virtual friendship. The logical conclusion from this is that artists – especially if you are successful – should remain genuine and continue to interact with their fans and followers at eye level and without artificial distance.

Surprising for me also that the loss of the “certain something” of an artist lands relatively far behind in the ranking. Personally, I had expected this to be a more significant reason for unfollowing.

This brings us to the end of this series on personal branding for artists. But an end is also a beginning. A beginning for every artist who can now critically scrutinize their own Instagram account and optimize his or her own unique external image. Good luck with that, I personally will now start to actively distribute the results of this study in the social networks and dedicate myself to the exciting possibilities of artist marketing.

English translation of the questions:

01 too much advertising or sponsored posts.
02 the content of the artist bores me, because he posts the same thing over and over again.
03 the artist has a strongly differing opinion from me and expresses it constantly
04 the artist does not seem authentic anymore
05 he/she posts too much
06 the artist is too arrogant
07 the artist simply gets on my nerves
08 the artist is too aloof
09 the artist becomes increasingly uninteresting for me
10 the artist has lost his/her “certain something”.
11 she/he posts too little
12 there is too little interaction between the artist and his/her followers
13 the artist is too distant
14 other reasons

Stay tuned, now it’s really getting started.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 7.

What character traits make an artist attractive? The seventh part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. What are the right character traits for an artist.

Last week I was so busy with personal branding on my own behalf that I didn’t even get around to publishing the next results of my empirical study. In the last two article we were focusing on imagery.

But now we’re back in the loop. Let’s take a look at what character traits an artist needs to show in order to be attractive to fans and followers.

As you can see in the chart, there is one front-runner: artists should be humorous. This means, of course, that candidates who take themselves and their art too seriously cannot appear so attractive. English translation of the questions below.

Personal Branding for Artists. What are the right character traits for an artist.

Behind this front runner, there is a plateau with 3 rather heterogeneous character traits. Unsurprisingly, if you look at the other results, in 2nd place is creativity. Has a lot to do with the work of the artists, boredom should not arise. A surprising 3rd place was taken by the characteristic of an artist to make fans and followers think. An exciting challenge, which can be seen in the actual work (music, painting, etc.), as well as in the self-presentation of the person (private life, travel, hobbies, etc.). The 4th place is also a surprise for me personally, because the fans and followers expect a person with weaknesses, a normal person. Here you can excellently show the stony path to being an artist yourself, as well as the ups and downs of your private side (if you want to).

The perfect character: approachable, humorous, positive thinking, and being more normal than excentric

Rank 5 is an excellent complement to rank 1. What could be better than the combination of humor with a positive world view? Conversely, this means that artists who enthusiastically whine, lament and are too serious tend to have a harder time.

Number 6 also complements number 4 excellently. An approachable artist who also shows weaknesses puts him at eye level with his fans and followers, combined with the subliminal statement “look, I’ve remained a completely normal person”. This is a great way to communicate credibility and authenticity.

The next surprise is 7th place. I would have expected the participants to prioritize these qualities of an artist significantly more. Now this does not mean that the activity itself is devalued, only other character traits are prioritized higher.

Places 8, 9 and 11 also landed surprisingly far down the list. This means nothing other than that the fans and followers what of the artists do not expect a mental striptease and that also the interaction with the fans and followers is not valued as highly as one would assume in view of the character of Instagram.

Also a surprise is the second to last place. If you look at a lot of artists’ Instagram accounts, you realize that they might take their art far too seriously and thus could have a lower level of attractiveness.

English translation of the questions:

  1. I like humorous artists
  2. I like creative artists
  3. I like artists who make me think
  4. I like artists who also show weaknesses sometimes
  5. I like artists with a positive way of looking at the world
  6. I like approachable artists
  7. I like artists who show what they can do
  8. I like artists who openly show their feelings
  9. I like artists who engage with their fans
  10. I like artists who always surprise me in a positive way
  11. I like artists who are attractive
  12. I like spontaneous, impulsive artists
  13. I like artists who like to party
  14. I like serious artists
  15. Miscellaneous

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

More about Personal Branding…

Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 6.

Which photo makes fans and followers curious? The sixth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study. How to create curiosity with a photo?

Last week we looked at the question which categories of photos the participants in the survey like the most. But this is only one aspect of visual communication, because an artist should not only entertain fans and followers, but also actively promote the artist’s activities or events. Therefore, it is only logical to also ask which visual content arouses curiosity/interest. For this reason, two photos were explicitly selected from the portfolio of the artist Federika Rubartelli: number 6 and number 13 (many thanks again to Federica Rubartelli [https://www.instagram.com/federikamusic/] for the permission to use the photos).

The results were partly sobering, partly positively surprising. Let’s start with the sobering results. Picture number 13 unfortunately only moved from last to second to last place, picture number 6 from seventh to fifth place. However, these results have to be put into perspective a bit, because I think that the artist’s fans will react differently to both the announcement of the podcast (picture number 13) and the announcement of a series of events (Number 6, Kicks by Federika) compared to the survey participants, to whom the artist was more or less unknown.

How to create curiosity with a photo?

Now to the surprising results: image 16, which shows the artist in a club while djing, has once again landed at number 1, number 9 has moved up one place and – surprisingly – image 8 has made up a lot of ground and landed in third place. However, the gap to number 2 is quite clear and the distance to 4 and 5 is relatively small.

Also surprising to me is the performance of image number 10 in this second round. It slipped from second to fourth place. Image number 15 even slipped from a middle position to last place.

The conclusions in a nutshell: as long as it is obvious that the artist is concerned with his/her art, a picture triggers not only liking but also interest (e.g. image 16).

On the other hand, beautiful photos that are not recognizably related to the artist’s activity trigger less curiosity than those in which the artist is shown “in action.”

To sum it up in one sentence: fans and followers want the 100% perfect, they should be beautiful, appealing, and at the same time include the artist’s activity.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study. How to create curiosity with a photo?

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

More about Personal Branding…