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Here’s a personal branding question worth considering:

  • How do you describe yourself to others?

Seems like there are three options. You can primarily describe yourself based on:

  • Who you are
  • Who you were
  • Who you’re going to become

This personal branding question struck me after looking at the Twitter profile of a writer formerly at a well-known business publication. She had been downsized along with many others as part of a cost cutting move. In her 19 word personal Twitter profile, 5 words described her interests, 5 stated where she’s working now, and 9 dealt with her former job.

Nothing’s wrong with that necessarily, but it makes it seem as if she’s a lot more invested in what she had been doing than what she’s doing now or where she’s headed in her future.

When I describe myself to others, it’s primarily about where I am, with a little bit of what I was, and really nothing of what I hope to become. In fact, using my “Brainzooming” Twitter profile to judge, only 4 words talk about where I am now, with the other 8 words pointed toward what can be found at this website.

That doesn’t really cut it.

My challenge is creating a new description that incorporates where I’m headed along with more personal sharing about who I am as a person, not just a business.

How about you? How do you describe yourself?Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, personal branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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  • http://cloverdew.com cloverdew

    What a great type of analysis for profiling and personal branding! I think this is a really interesting way to figure out how to present oneself and also how others might perceive you. If you focus all on what you have done, like a traditional resume or CV, then how can others know what you intend to do in the future? If you’re entirely future-focused, how can others know you can be counted on to deliver what you promise? And if you don’t include anything about who you are now, then, in a mindful zen sort-of way, you’re not really there at all, are you?

    • Mike Brown

      It’s all a lot to think about and act on to find the right balance of past, present, and future.

      It’s probably best to follow Jim’s approach above, focusing on a personal description that has a longer life than any current career stop is likely to have.

      Mike

  • http://facebook.com/personalbrandingexpert Dan Schawbel

    This is a very important question because if you can’t describe yourself to someone else, then you don’t have a firm message and brand.

    • Mike Brown

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Dan! As career changes happen, the remnants of descriptions left around the internet (even on your own Twitter page) need to be caught up to the present. I’m drafting a post on how easy it is for these descriptions to become the old wallpaper that we don’t notice anymore, yet is obviously out of date to anyone else looking at it. Mike

  • http://www.blossomingbrands.com Alexia Leachman

    You’ve raised a great question that is becoming more important for many as we become forced into describing and defining ourselves as we develop our online presences.

    The “Who you are” part of describing yourself hides a multitude or options and unfortunately most people fall into the trap of defining themselves by using a job description. The problem with job descriptions is that everyone else has one too, so you don’t really stand out. Worse still, you’ve lost the opportunity to be memorable and give away the essence of WHO you are and what you’re about. You’re answer to this should be a well-crafted story that tells people all about the great stuff you’ve achieved, what you’re known for, what you can be relied upon for, your strengths and values, and who you do stuff for. I say “story”, because people love a good story and this is more likely to enage, rather than a series of dry facts. But, I do admit, stories are tricky to write in the 160 characters that you have in twitter!

    • Mike Brown

      You’ve provided a great structure Alexia to explore WHO you are. Those story elements will be helpful to anyone (present company included) in crafting the right 160 character story! Mike

  • http://www.obsessedwithconformity.com Jim Mitchem

    I really like how I describe myself on Twitter:

    Lover. Writer. Communications tactician. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. EFNJ

    It says everything I want people to know about me in a short introduction. Everything else that’s important about me is in the content I provide.

    • Mike Brown

      I like it Jim. Especially “Raised by wolves.” If that doesn’t get someone’s interest to find out more, I’m not sure what will!

  • http://www.myjoyofliving.com Karen

    Funny, I’m planning to add some “stuff” to my repertoire this year. I was asked this morning based on the adds how I was going to present myself.

    Don’t plan to dwell on what I was but rather what I am today……and plan to be in the next year. I’m trying on the “pet blogger, pet advocate and educator” title and kinda liking the way it fits.

    As part of new year planning, seems it would be a good idea to review any online profiles and update accordingly. Just thought of that reading your post………..

    • Mike Brown

      Karen – You’re definitely right about updating profiles. It’s the challenge of remembering where all of them are! An add-on to your idea would be to make sure to capture the links for everywhere you find a description of yourself that you can update.

      Mike

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  • http://twitter.com/JimJosephExp Jim Joseph

    This is the topic of my next book. Personal branding is a fun, but really difficult part of marketing. It’s hard to market yourself … and as you point out very difficult to describe where you are heading as a brand. Great thought provoking post. Jim.