In 10 Personal Branding Trends for 2013 (Part 1), I shared five important personal branding trends for the New Year. In this second installment, I present five more trends you should consider making use of in your personal branding strategy to help you stand out and achieve your career goals.
6. QR Codes
I was in a neighborhood of Buenos Aires called Palermo SoHo recently and I noticed that every storefront had a QR code on it. QR codes are popping up all over, and it's not just in the hip neighborhoods of major cities. You can see them on billboards, print ads, coffee mugs—and, most recently, on resumes, business cards, and in all kinds of correspondence. You can even get a custom QR code printed on a T-shirt or wristband to help direct people you meet to your personal website.
According James Alexander and the cool folks at Vizibility.com, personal QR codes and Microsoft Tag barcodes are essential; they let you instantly share your mobile business card, and they send real-time text or email alerts whenever someone scans your code, including organization name, type, and location.
Soon, QR codes will be on our name badges at networking functions, allowing people we meet to instantly add us to their contact list or link to our online profiles to learn more about who we are.
If you start now, you can be ahead of the curve; you can use your QR code as a conversation starter and a way to stand out from the crowd at that next AMA meeting.
When Facebook launched its Timeline about a year ago, it sparked a fury. Some loved it, and some thought it would mark the end Facebook's rule over the realm of social networking.
Facebook Timeline changed the default profile from a list of your most recent updates to a complete summary of your entire life since birth. We seem to have grown accustomed to that approach: Various resources are now using a similar technique to help you express your brand. ResumUp for example, takes your education and work experience, puts them in a timeline format, and adds other relevant information to create a compelling visual history of your work. Re.Vu allows you to import your LinkedIn profile and create an attractive timeline by incorporating images and infographics, augmenting the text-based content.
Thinking of your career in this way allows you to better communicate the value you delivered and the growth you achieved during your previous employment.
To build the ideal timeline, maintain a job journal so you have the content, images, and presentations that will best showcase your brand.
Personal branding has come a long way from when only five of us working in this field... but team branding is still relatively new. And it's hot. I am working with leaders who are interested in knowing how their team is perceived among their constituencies, and how each team member contributes to the overall perception. These leaders are using branding tools to find out where their organizations stand.
Thanks to advertising genius David Ogilvy, companies have been using branding to stand out and attract the attention of their ideal clients since the 1940s. Over the past decade, companies have been applying similar branding principles to their people, helping them unearth what makes them exceptional, and applying that knowledge to the company strategy.
In the world of branding, the team has been the missing link; it is the connective tissue between the personal brand and the company brand. Many of the Reach-certified Personal Branding Strategists are implementing team branding programs with their corporate clients, and they're sharing the results with me. Right now, the teams that seem most interested in understanding their brands are sales and consulting groups. In the future, team leaders in Accounting, IT, and Marketing will want to understand and manage their brand.
Are you aware of your marketing team's brand?
Unless you have completely gone off the grid, you have likely noticed a new feature of Linked In: Endorsements. In fact, you have likely received endorsements or you've been asked to provide them. Essentially, LinkedIn augmented its recommendations feature to allow others to identify the skills at which we excel.
LinkedIn knows that external feedback comes with credibility that is hard to build when the one talking about you is you. This recent change is part of a larger trend, in the form of feedback from others, that helps us validate and reinforce what we say about ourselves.
If you have used Yelp or TripAdvisor or other similar services, you understand the power of crowdsourcing, and you likely make decisions based on that collective feedback of others. Crowdsourcing, once the domain of products, hotels, and restaurants, is quickly coming to careerists.
Delivering on your brand promise every day helps others understand who you are and what makes you exceptional—and makes it easier for them to provide consistent, accurate feedback about you.
I have been touting the importance of video as a personal branding tool nonstop for the last three years, and its time has truly come. Creating, posting, sharing, and promoting your videos has become extremely easy.
For example, until just a few weeks ago, getting video into your LinkedIn profile using SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn) or Behance was a challenge. Now, you can just click on the video symbol while editing your profile, provide the URL of your video... and presto: embedded video.
Every aspect of creating and using video has become much easier! There was always some roadblock to using video—whether it was real-time, ad-hoc, or studio-produced. That's no longer the case. Virtually every computer and tablet comes with a video camera. Google+ Hangouts makes real-time group video conferences a snap. Services from videoBIO allow you to quickly create, edit, and post professional videos from your home or office. They also offer a service that enables you to produce videos and embed them into email, allowing you to deliver a branded and differentiated message.
Video provides the opportunity to deliver a complete communication. It is, therefore, among the most powerful tools you have for building your brand.
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I hope you have found some of these trends relevant to you, and I also hope you make plans to incorporate them into your personal branding strategy for 2013!