I love being a contrarian. Some might see my contrarian positions as more akin to ignorant, stubborn, or even laughable … but the rebel in me to do things differently, stand out from the crowd, or trail blaze just won’t be quelled.
At times I’m quite skeptical of the career advice put out by Harvard Review. I hold a -contrarian- view about some of the advice targeted to the corporate world issued by those immersed in academia. But occasionally, they surprise me. The post by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, “Five Tips for Smarter Social Networking” was one of those surprises!
What I love about branding is that it frees a person to be who they really are. No masks, no facade, no pretending and yes, you can even choose to be contrarian. Rather than being a “yes man” who blends in with the majority – whether that is reflective of your view or not – branding allows you to take a bold, principled stand based on your values, passions, and beliefs. And you can choose to broadcast that branded positioning via social media. Will you offend some people? Of course you will. Will you attract like-minded people and companies? Absolutely. Can that be scary? No question!
Two quick stories. No surprise to those who know me that I love politics … and I am not shy about stating my views. The result of taking a bold, vocal stand is that many of the clients I attract share my values and positions. Can I work with people who don’t share those views? Of course. But do I attract my ideal clients? Almost always!
One of my CFO clients from a few years ago came back to me, deciding to do branding work this time in anticipation of using his very strong, personal brand to secure his next opportunity. Part of his communication plan includes social media. What’s utterly delightful for him is that since embracing and living his brand, his interviews are with companies that are a perfect fit for who he is. He hasn’t accepted a new opportunity yet … he is employed and has the luxury of choosing the “right” next move, not “just” the next move. But his strong, branded digital footprint will no doubt deliver that … and relatively soon.