I recently wrote a blog on creating a personal brand and its potential impact on generating business.
We discussed the need to view yourself as a brand–specifically, understand your personal vision, mission and what you stand for.
Additionally, I asked the following question:
Would you ever buy yourself?
The obvious answer is yes–however, the point of the question is to get you think beyond the obvious and think introspectively. In other words, what really makes you different from your peers and others in your competitive set? This is an important distinction as you’re pitching your business or yourself to potential clients and business partners.
In other words, it’s important to understand your value proposition and why others would purchase your products and/or services.
As I was reflecting recently on this topic, I found my thinking about another question:
Have you ever Googled yourself?
I recently asked this question to business executives and was surprised by the number of individuals who, in fact, have not.
However, one person volunteered and shared a story about what happened when they did. This executive was surprised by the amount of information on them–some favorable and some unfavorable–and was concerned with respect to overall perceptions and potential implications for them personally.
We discussed the importance of this. Why? Because fairly or unfairly, this technology now allows others to create an impression of you without even meeting you. In other words, this is how others view you.
Part of creating your brand is how others perceive you and a great place to start is to Google yourself. Technology is not only changing the way we communicate and do business, but it’s a critical tool when it comes to creating, changing and managing perceptions.
We’ve often heard first impressions are long-lasting and are generally created with the first few minutes of meeting someone.
Well, technology, in this case, Google makes it a long-lasting perception and, by doing so, you can see what others are seeing and reading when it comes to you. You’ll be surprised to learn that many experiences in your work and personal lives are somehow captured.
For example, when I Google’d myself, I found the following:
- Articles I have written for present and past publications,
- Speeches I have given across Detroit and the country,
- Videos of me in various, professional situations, and
- Information on my company and me, including my website, et. al.
I also discovered many other people have my name. Mark Lee is very common name and I was surprised when I saw what the other Mark’s were doing with their time–which is why, in my case, I now use my middle initial–S.
The point is consumers, potential and existing customers, have information at their fingertips which could make or break a potential business relationship. When they Google you or your business, they are able to create and develop perceptions of you–without ever meeting you.
With this in mind, here are tips for you to consider when trying to extend your brand:
- Be careful about what you post–personally or professionally–because many of these comments will come up when you Google yourself,
- Regarding photos and images, it’s incredible what images you can pull down from Google. Make sure you review images posted on Google to see what others are seeing when they see you.
- Google yourself periodically. It’s an inexpensive and efficient way to see what others are seeing and reading about you. In other words, what you see is how potential business partners may be viewing you and your brand. This could have a positive and/or negative impact on your brand.
So, as you’re looking to brand yourself and your busiess, take time to understand how others may already be perceiving you.
If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to Google yourself. If not, then ask, why not?