So, ‘Thing 3 – Personal Branding’. This is an important one. Personally, this has come at a very important time as both the service I manage and me personally are undergoing a sea-change to better show what we do.
I wrote a very long (and oddly formatted) blog post on last year’s ‘Thing 3’ and how I approached my ‘brand’. It showed an attempt to keep 2 ½ brands – the professional, the personal and the somewhere-in-between. In the past year – I have relaxed this approach somewhat to something discussed in the 23 Things Thing 3 post entitled ‘Profersonal’. I really like this – it is what I do, showing the ‘whole person’ rather than fragmented. A balanced profersonal approach shows the individual behind the professional which I believe is more honest than a purely professional approach. Without the personal, there is no professional so why hide it? A potential employer would find out that I have pictures of cats or my wife in my Instagram feed. Or I swear thanks to my Twitter profile. They will also find out I work hard. That I support folk including giving others opportunities. That I am knowledgeable about what I do. That I ‘platinumed’ Skyrim. All of these are true. Why hide them?
Now – before the activity – what is my brand? What are my brands ‘core values’ and are they actively represented? Here is what I believe (delude/aspire) my brand values or key points are:
- Health Library Sector worker
- Experientially based
These are my ‘true-life’ attributes, so it would make sense that these are my ‘brand’ attributes also. Whether I achieve these is a different matter. What do others think of when they think of me? It would be interesting to know. There are also negative attributes that come to light such as pessimism, a quicker than necessary temper (in a foot-stampy/sweary way), bitchiness and unwarranted jealously – those last two often merging.
I searched on 4 different search engines: Google, Bing, Ask & Yahoo. I searched different searches: ‘library_michael’ ‘Michael Cook Library’ ‘Michael Cook Bolton’ ‘library_michael Bolton’ and the results were not consistent throughout. There was nothing I would worry about an employer finding because what was related (A LOT of Michael Bolton stuff!) to me was mainly random tweets and links to blog posts. Dependant on the tweet, that could provide embarrassment but I do not tweet anything that could cause unpleasantness so to speak. The first profile to appear was LinkedIn, but on the whole a pretty even split between my personal blog and Twitter. This does point however to a need for a tightening of the brand.
So What/Now What?
Due to current circumstances – this has developed beyond ‘just’ branding and more into future developments – though obviously these two are heavily linked. I believe a rename is due – simply put I am more than a ‘librarian’ or a ‘Library Manager’. The traditional, overriding and like it or not stereotypical (negative) view is one of a public (and to a lesser extent academic) librarian and that is neither what I do nor what I want to be ‘branded’ as. Yes, I am still a ‘Health Librarian’ but I am a member of Public Health Intelligence also. A brand name that actively shows this beyond ‘library_michael’ is required. Moving forward – the name ‘Public Health Informationist’ more accurately reflects my professional role. I also need to look at developing the profersonal persona so that a balance is struck between both sides. This will allow peers, colleagues and potential employers to gain a more accurate picture of me allowing me to gain professionally from this endeavour. For this to happen I need to balance out the negative aspects of my personality, particularly my pessimism and my temper. I will try to reflect more on positive aspects and outcomes of events of all kinds. This will improve my reflective skills, thusly improving my professional practice. I also need lessen my temper. Simply put – I metaphorically need to count to ten before tweeting! So moving forward – rename, network, reflect and composure.
Branding is not about ‘apeing’ what others do. This is about me (or you) as an individual giving the best impression we can of our true (professional) self. I am not a born networker, or within any golden circle. I am however very good at what I do. This isn’t boastful, merely a statement of fact. By undertaking the above steps, this will begin to the process of my brand reflecting more of who I truly am. If anyone would like to do the ‘Optional Extra Activity’ for me, I would be happy to reciprocate!
Want to get to know me better? I am on: