Category Archives: Public Relations

when you think of garbage, think of akeem: why personal branding matters

If you’ve never seen Eddie Murphy’s cult classic, Coming to America, you have done yourself a disservice that needs to be corrected immediately. If you have seen it, though, you know that it’s one of the funniest movies OF ALL TIME. It’s about an African prince who slums it up in New York as he searches for his true love, and it’s full of quotables (two words for ya:  Sexual. Chocolate.). One of the most popular one-liners is delivered when Eddie’s character, Prince Akeem, is trying (too hard) to impress a coworker he has a crush on. After extolling his janitorial skills to her, he says, “When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!

And that, ladies and gentleman, is personal branding in a nutshell: When you think of ______, think of [Your Name Here].

"When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!"

When my friends think of anything related to communications, from writing and media to literature and storytelling, they think of me. As manager of my personal brand, it’s my job to make sure that colleagues, employers and potential collaborators are thinking the same thing.

Most folks agree that the idea of personal branding was introduced in Tom Peters’ 1997 Fast Company article “The Brand Called You.” According to Peters:

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.

Fast forward to today, where Dan Schawbel has taken the concept of personal branding and applied it to the Information age. His book Me 2.0 (which I’m currently reading) teaches you how to discover and market your personal brand. If you can’t drill it down to just one thing, I highly recommend checking out  this post on Puttylike, a website for “multipotentialites”, i.e. Renaissance men and women.

Once you’ve decided on what your brand is, you should definitely start using the Internet to grow it, because that’s where people will be looking for you (and don’t act like you’ve never Googled somebody to find out what they’re all about. Please believe your employers do it too.). Who you talk with, what you talk about, even the way you talk–it all paints a picture of who you are.

So what does this mean? Well–it means that when people Google you, whatever comes up should be exactly what you want them to find. At the very least, you need to have a fully completed, up-to-date LinkedIn account; if you want to be really good, you need to have an active blog or an updated website.

But to get started, take a lesson from Prince Akeem and decide what you want to represent. Then Google yourself and see if it lines up.


chamber notes: how chambers of commerce can use social media

A little more about me: In 2008 I began working for a city magazine that’s owned by a chamber of commerce. I spent 6 months working in the editorial department and another 6 working in the ad department. Around the end of that year my uber cool boss, our VP of communications, presented me with an exciting and challenging opportunity: he gave me the chance to run our social media efforts. Sort of a write-your-job-description-as-you-go-along deal.

Of course, my first step was RESEARCH. Finding social media tips for magazines was fairly easy; for chambers of commerce, not so much. That’s why I’ve started this category, Chamber Music. I’ll talk about some of the things I’ve learned as a community manager for a chamber, and hopefully others will share their knowledge, too. With that in mind, here are a few ways chambers of commerce can utilize social media.

  • Publicize Events
  • Promote Members
  • Solicit Input
  • Generate Buzz for New Initiatives
  • Share Jobs
  • Build Relationships
  • Be a Cheerleader for Your City

I’ll elaborate more on these in the future, including which platforms work best for which efforts. If you use social media for your chamber’s communications, what are some of the things you use it for?

5 reasons you need a facebook page (instead of a profile)

From time to time my friend E, who is not very interested in the nuances of life on the web, will ask me a social media related question. His latest: Why is there a limit to the number of followers you can have on Facebook?

A little about my friend: E is a super talented athlete. He was an instrumental player on our alma mater’s football team (Roll Tide!) during the years he played there, and his senior season, we won the national championship. E is also pretty stinkin’ gorgeous. When you combine Star Player + SEC Fanbase + Good Looks you get a person who can easily exceed Facebook’s 5,000 friend limit. Needless to say, I’m trying to convince E to start a Facebook fan page for E the Brand.

Although it’s a no-brainer to social media practitioners, I still see a surprising number of business and other organizations who use a profile for their Facebook presence instead of a fan page. So–here are 5 questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you need to set up a fan page. If you answer yes to any of these, go ahead and set up that page, buddy (I’m looking at you, E).

1. Do you have a brand to promote?

Facebook profiles were designed with people in mind; Facebook pages were designed to suit groups and brands. Pages let you put essential things–like newsletter signup and events–in a centralized location, making life easier for both you and your fans.

2. Are you a public or semi-public figure?

If you’re a public figure, a LOT of people are going to be interested in what’s going on with you. Still, everyone deserves a private life (or as private a life as you can get online). Your page is where you post pictures of your business events; your profile is where you post pictures of your

3. Will you be engaging more than 5,000 people?

Clearly illustrated by E’s dilemma, if you’ll be engaging more than 5,000 people, a Facebook profile won’t have the capacity to suit your needs.

4. Do you manage multiple brands?

This is another no-brainer. If you’re like me and you have to manage multiple brands, it’s crucial for your sanity to create pages instead of profiles. I can log in as myself, and from there click on a link to log in as the brands I’m an admin of. I couldn’t imagine having to log in and out every time I needed to navigate to a different brand.

5. Are you tired of approving each and every friend request you get?

Social media is time-consuming, and approving the people who want to engage with you does not have to be a necessary evil. Plus, it can hurt your consumers: a few months ago, I wanted to see what acts were playing at a venue that weekend, but they didn’t approve me until the following week. It was a loss for both of us.

Are you using a profile when you should be using a page? I’d be happy to help you set one up.

reintroducing myself…

Hi, I’m Tatiana.

You may be wondering what happened to all the literary posts that used to be here; don’t worry, they’re not gone. They’ve just been moved. You can find them here.

This space is going to be used to talk about things I have learned/am learning as a communications professional in this Web 2.0 world we now live in. Hopefully, other inhabitants of this brave new world will join me.

When I first entered the field in December 2005, people were trying to figure out how print and other old school media could compete with the web. The Facebook was just a new, fun thing on campus that you played with instead of doing your real work.

Now, a little more than five years later, traditional media understands that the web is a vital tool that HAS to be integrated into its day-to-day, not a competitor looking to gobble up its audience. And Facebook? It is my real work now.

And just what is my work? It’s hard to say. It’s equal parts journalism and PR along with a dash of marketing. It’s a lot of learning as I go. It’s storytelling. It’s media. It’s pretty damn cool.