There are numerous guides and tips out there to help public relations professionals, entrepreneurs, and organizations with personal branding. Most of them are almost identical because there are only so many ways in which you can write about one thing. As I was searching one of my new favorite sites, Social Media Today, for an interesting article, I came across Anna Rydne’s titled The Gollum Guide to Personal Branding. She quickly changed my view on that and brought an entirely new light to the topic.
Maybe it’s because I am a fan of the completed movie series Lord of the Rings, but her creativity in tying together Sméagol- the infamously creepy gollum in the film- and his personality traits with how one should approach personal branding was refreshing. Rydne’s six step guide perfect for any scenario: whether you are starting fresh or brainstorming new campaign ideas. To any fellow bloggers or classmates that aim to pursue any career in public relations- lets face it, any career period- you might want to take note.
(Image courtesy of Anna Rydne’s article.)
Now, the first step might sound odd at first, but it’s easily interpreted: be human. “Gollum is a real character. He does not only evoke a single emotional response such as annoyance, pity, disgust, fear, suspicion or hate; he evokes a full-spectrum response that involves all those feelings and more” (Rydne). One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is appearing as the perfect one. It is sensible to own up to any mistakes or miscommunications (i.e. where the PR professional comes in) to your clients or consumers immediately and professionally before they find out. If you don’t take responsibility to do so, you may lose them along the way and your brand can suffer.
How this can help your brand is by you simply being human. Share your own stories, experiences, and struggles you have had along the way; this will make you more relatable to your clients or consumers. To stand out and be heard, especially online and through social media, you have to realize perfect doesn’t exist. To be credible online, you must show your unique personality: your story, your quirks and your thoughts. Everything that makes you the one you are” (Rydne).
The second step, and most infamous for Sméagol, is identifying your precious. Just as a writer has to have a focus in a story, there must be a focus or a goal you strive for as well. By doing this ensures you never lose the purpose of your personal brand. Did Sméagol ever stray away from his precious? Absolutely not; he always had his eye on the prize. You could be promoting yourself through a unique video resume or interviewing with a company you long to work for the old fashion way; no matter which way, you need to have a focus. It gives you a stronger appeal and shows the company you have passion.
Step three is finding your own way: “By finding your own way of doing something that sets you apart from other people in your field of expertise, you’ll stand out and make yourself known for being highly creative” (Rydner). Mentors, professors, and even my parents have always passed on this piece of knowledge to me. Find what sets you apart from all the rest, and embrace it. Companies go through thousands of applications, and they can all be filled with impressive GPA’s and community service hours; that’s all great to have, but you don’t want to blend in. Even within those criteria’s, find a unique twist and go with it.
The fourth step confused me at first glance: be curious. However, it goes directly hand in hand with curiosity. To be creative one must be curious. When you have curiosity, you have an interest to explore and learn. If you show this quality to a potential organization or company you wish to work for, or maybe that you currently work for, it will only be seen as positive. Taking it a step further, be curious outside of your job limitations. Get a feel for your boss and if they seem to admire it, show curiosity to new tasks that you may not have to do, but want to do. It can only better the organization to have well rounded employees that know multiple trades. Show that you’re active, and looking for creative ways to contribute.
The fifth step is sticking to your objectives. Remaining consistent is direly important. You don’t want to come into a project with enthusiasm and creative ideas, then start it and not include any of them. That’s confusing. “Consequence is very important when it comes to personal branding. People need to be able to label you and to understand what you stand for” (Rydner).
Alas, the sixth and final step. Writing your bio in third person is highly recommended. As Dr. McArthur helps mold us as writers through our blogging here, he, too recommends using third person automatically- then thinking of if it would sound better in second or first. Hearing “I” repeatedly doesn’t look the best. Embrace your own, genuine voice. That has been our main goal in this course: finding and molding our voice. That’s what keeps the readers coming back for more, and that is what will stand out to companies.
Rydne, Anna. “The Gollum Guide to Personal Branding.” Social Media Today. N.p., 8 Jun 2013. Web. 9 Jun 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/coskills/1520496/guide-to-personal-branding-gollum>.