I feel like a cliché calling myself another "American in Paris," but it's an accurate label nonetheless. No matter the fact that I buy fresh bread from the boulangerie, shop at the marché when I can, and wear more black than ever before, I'm consistently reminded of the fact that I'm not French; if nothing else, then for my inability to completely embrace bad customer service ;). Because of this, too, I'm branded from the very start, whether it be by a Parisian or another expat. (For the record, I tend to clarify that I'm from New York.) It's had me thinking more and more about "my brand" then--both online and off.
In a 2009 New York Times article, Putting Yourself Out There on a Shelf to Buy, Alina Tugend wrote:
"But what if I don’t want to be a brand? What if I don’t want to build a public image and network? What if I like the security and camaraderie of being 'just' a worker in a company? Creating my own brand sounds as if it is potentially liberating. But that’s what we thought about managing our own retirements rather than relying on pensions and choosing a phone company rather than being stuck with Ma Bell. It turned out, though, that that kind of freedom comes with a lot more risks and responsibility."Today, unfortunately or not, it's pretty irrelevant whether you the feel the same way as she does. The truth is, "to be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You." And that's a direct quote from a 1997 Fast Company article. Stereotyping occurs anyway, now you can brand yours.
A recent Inc. article by Geoffrey James explains just how to Create your Personal Brand in 8 simple steps:
- Know yourself and what you're good at.
- Create a memorable brand name.
- Capture your online turf.
- Build a website for your domain name.
- Set up automatic updating.
- Share useful content on a regular basis.
- Get feedback from people you trust.
- Be authentic, even a bit risky.
In that case, (1) I think research, design, social media, (2) Does this count? (3-4) Check! (6-8) I promise I try.
It's a lot of pressure though, especially when you're so very aware of your brand as "an American in Paris." How could I possibly brand my multifaceted self--one who does actually "love art, food, wine, yoga, and travel" and wishes "to improve the ways in which the world communicates" in order to promote global understanding--in just 140 characters? I can hardly wrap my head around this identity of mine myself.the7eme, an online student publication. "Employers want to know what you can do... so go out and start doing things," advised the professor for this very class. To which Meg added, "don't be afraid to talk about what you've done. It can open a lot of unexpected doors." In the end, "people will search for you online, so it's important to take part in that conversation, and having your own website can be a great way to put your best foot forward." said Matt Cutts in a PBS' MediaShift article. Phew, at least that part's covered. Now for those business cards...
[Photos from Versailles, where my boy resides]