By: Brandon T. Luong, @BrandonTLuong
I’m sure by now branding professionals have preached to the masses that they should have their own personal image if they want to land their dream job, increase their client portfolio or get their name out there. I wouldn't say it is necessary for every single person, but critical for those who need an extra push to get in the front of the line. Even if you’re the shy type, you have to think about the connotations when people say your name. After all, this is all about you, so take control of it.
Here’s my five tips:
Strategize Your Brand
Similar to Megan Marrs’ “The First Step in Building Your Personal Brand”, determine what [Insert Name] means to your viewers. This includes emotional appeal, profile description, services, and uniqueness. Remember, everyone is unique, so you better stand out more.
Searchable Name That Is Unique.
Not saying to legally change your name or create an alias, but have your name and appearance match each other online. You don’t want your potential employer, clients or viewers to search the ‘Wong Pearson’, and get a misguided impression. First thing would be to Google your name and its variations to see what is the least number of entries for it. Reason being is that once you take hold of the lowest number of entries, you will be able to capitalize that more than a saturated name. If you have a popular name, like Aman Patel, Juan Perez, Nana Aryee, or Bao Nguyen, then tweak it with either your full name, nickname, middle initial or whatever.
When I was developing my brand, I found multiple links under ‘Brandon Luong’, including users who curse on YouTube, duck face pictures and a Florida Sexual Offender. Although the last one was terrible, I decided to add my middle initial simply due to the overwhelming number of Brandon Luong. One thing I would add is to avoid stuff like !, airplane symbol, TOP LINKED, LION or anything along those lines in your name because it looks awful when you print it. And yes, this name should also be on your business cards to have a consistent brand. Once discovered, you should claim it.
Your voice, tone, appearance, and style should be the same both online and offline. It’s like you meet Gabriel Iglesias at the Starbucks on U. St. in DC, and he wasn't anything close to what you expected. That would ruin the image you had, and the same could go for you. Everything should be consistent: from your logo, color association, font family, mannerism, and tone. However, this doesn't mean all your profiles have to be the same pic. Change it up, but make sure people can tell it is still you.
Focus On Selected Networks
Choose social networks which are the most relevant to your career aspirations, and stick to those until they become developed. It’s hard to be have multiple great accounts, unless you make it your full time job. Choose your top 5 and make it amazing. If are a designer, then perhaps you might want to focus your attention solely on Twitter, Behance, Pinterest and Dripple as they pertain to your career. It doesn’t mean you can’t have accounts on Threadless, DeviantArt or Fontli, yet it might look bad for visitors to see these empty profiles, especially if you don’t know how to rank your pages. When many non-technical/marketing people start creating their accounts on social media, they don’t necessarily know about Search Engine Optimization nor how to properly manage it. The choice is up to you on the amount and importance of which website to be on. I would just stick to a few and make it good.
Erase Irrelevant Self
To my peers, who are either in college or an alumni, this is for you. Erase or privatize those pics of your historical "epicness", such as downing the Bacardi rum video, status about smoking grade-A MJ, or pics of you grabbing that girl’s watermelons. Or keep it. It’s up to you. Just remember that future customers or investors will be researching you. So maybe it would be best to hide those pictures from public view and keep them for your own eyes.