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Building Blocks for Personal Brands

Building Blocks for Personal Brands

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Published by lisacarlucci
Thomas, Lisa Carlucci. "Building Blocks for Personal Brands." Social Eyes. Journal of Web Librarianship 5.2 (2011).
Thomas, Lisa Carlucci. "Building Blocks for Personal Brands." Social Eyes. Journal of Web Librarianship 5.2 (2011).

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Published by: lisacarlucci on Apr 15, 2011
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Building Blocks for Personal BrandsSocial Eyes, Journal of Web LibrarianshipLisa Carlucci ThomasDigital Services LibrarianSouthern Connecticut State University
At the 2011 ALA Midwinter Conference, the ACRL New Members Discussion Group presented a panel on ³Personal Branding for New Librarians.´ Moderated by Bohyun Kim(Florida International University), the panel featured four librarians speaking about their individual experiences and approaches to personal branding: Brett Bonfield (CollingswoodPublic Library, NJ), Kiyomi Deards (University of Nebraska Lincoln), Lisa Carlucci Thomas(Southern Connecticut State University) and Andromeda Yelton (recent graduate, SimmonsCollege).The ALA New Members Round Table published an excellent summary of the presentation written by Andromeda Yelton in their newsletter,
In it, Yelton coveredthe panel discussion and more, highlighting three ³common themes´ of the discussion:³relationships, reputation, and responsibility´ (2011). Steven Bell (Temple University), acolumnist for 
 Library Journal 
, provided an overview in his article ³The WHY of Your Brand.´When it comes to personal branding, Bell writes, ³all your actions and messages must emergefrom [those] core beliefs and they must be consistent´ (2011). In these articles, Yelton and Belleach draw attention to remarks I made regarding a core aspect of personal branding: establishing professional relationships. This action is one of four critical building blocks necessary to supportyour personal brand and develop it into a credible, recognizable, representation of you and your 
Building Blocks for Personal Brands Lisa Carlucci Thomas / 2
work. The four essential building blocks for personal brands are: name, message, channels, and bridges.
Building Block 1: What¶s My Name?
Start by deciding on a brand name: will you use your given name or invent a businessname? Will you abbreviate the name or perhaps use initials? Select a version of your brand namethat is easy to read and spell phonetically; and ideally, isn¶t too long. Longer names take up prime real estate in text-limited environments, such as Twitter and SMS, and can also be moredifficult for your connections to remember and spell correctly. Once a brand name has beenchosen, be sure to Google it to determine originality and to eliminate any inadvertentassociations with unlikely affiliates of the same name. And don¶t forget to search it on leadingsocial networks. Utilities namechk (http://namechk.com) and knowem (http://knowem.com)search across numerous social networks and allow you to view name availability results at aglance.
Building Block 2: Refine the Message
A brand represents a particular service, product, or experience to those who engage withit. It¶s imperative to develop a definitive understanding of the brand for yourself before you go public and revisit it regularly after the brand is launched. This doesn¶t mean that your messagewon¶t expand or evolve; on the contrary, it should evolve. However, you must be able to clearlyarticulate the value and purpose of your brand. What separates your brand from others? What arethe skills and knowledge that make you unique? What will you bring to the table? Social business expert Chris Brogan advises that you should build your brand around ³whatever matters
Building Blocks for Personal Brands Lisa Carlucci Thomas / 3
most to you, and also
at you are capable of sustaining 
´ (2008). Write down your message.Can you sustain it? Brogan¶s website offers a wealth of down to earth, practical advice for  personal branding suitable for beginners and beyond. Check it out athttp://www.chrisbrogan.com.
Building Block 3: Channel Surf 
Information consumers receive content from multiple information streams, blendingsocial and online media with television, radio, and print sources. Invest effort in building brand presence on channels that have the greatest market for the audience you want to reach. Learn the platforms and options, investigate the benefits and opportunities of providing varying types of content across multiple channels, and become familiar with how those tuned in are interactingwith content providers. A little advance research will help you determine the right channel(s) for your brand. If you¶re new to personal branding, devote your energy to fully developing a presence on one or two platforms. Do what you do well and do it consistently. Yelton¶s articlemakes this point well: ³If you¶re a social media wizard, get out there on Twitter and Facebook. If you present, do SlideShare. If you schmooze, go to all the conferences you can. You won¶t beable to be active everywhere, and your initial choices might not be right, but you¶ll learn whatworks for you´ (Yelton 2011).
Building Block 4: Build Bridges
Personal brand models will vary based on an individual¶s own style and objectives. Yet,the ultimate purpose remains the same. Establishing a brand of any kind fosters the developmentof reciprocal relationships of value. Brand-to-brand connections enjoy the mutual benefit of 

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