Let’s talk about your personal bio. I recently read Switchblade Lemonades’ excellent e-book ‘Bio Like Beyoncè’. Those of you who have read this blog long enough knows that I am a sucker for musical analogies. I want to end every article I ever have written with “keep on Rockin in a free world” or something like that. I LOVE that somebody has built an e-book around Beyonce.
However, it made me write a document called ‘My Game of Life‘ – which is a very very personal bio, in addition to my ‘professional’ bio. I think sometimes we need to go a bit deeper than looks and actually explain our traits and where we come from.
What to add in your personal bio
It can be hard to figure out where to cut the personal bio, meaning what you leave out or what you put in. There are some things in my personal bio that makes me cringe a bit – and I don’t know if I will keep it in there (who cares about whether or not I get tipsy at tech conferences?) however, this bit of information I also believe makes me… well, human. And I do believe that it’s something that others would love to know too, because, it’s a part of my personality.
To me, I would rather work with somebody where I know a bit about their history, in addition, to know about their achievements – but how deep should you go? How many of these traits should you be adding, and still not expose yourself completely, but simply giving you some twists and some of that sassy ‘je ne sais quoi’.
So get on with it! Personal bios in addition to your professional bio can teach you a thing or two about how you want the world to see you – it was good considerations for me at least. =)
I think it’s sad that people are so in doubt about what kind of personal or corporate brand they can be. The kind of brand that is aligned with them. A brand is something that should be closely aligned with your identity or personality.
I totally get where you’re coming from. When I read some of my first stuff on branding I thought it was sky-high. I couldn’t put a finger on anything I could actually use it for. But then slowly I switched into action gear and started to create stuff around me. Stuff that I thought was aligned with my personality and personal brand. Suddenly, I didn’t only see a blank canvas(my blog). I saw a million creative ways that I could make a living out of: Being myself and giving my practical and curly inspiration to the world.
Listen, rockers! It starts out with one thing: Great ideas! If you’re thinking about your branding and you suddenly come up with something that you, yourself, think is a great idea then it’s something that’s worth considering. If you get the “I should totally build something around this idea” feeling. There’s probably an aspect of that idea that is aligned with you and what personal or even corporate brand you can have.
Years ago, I created my very own social media value chain mainly to guide me along with my work about branding, identity, and social networking initiatives. It was just a spur of the moment, a curly creative, seminal, scraggly map which I shared in a post here.
But you know what? Surprise, surprise…
I did not know at first that this map would be very useful. Ultimately, it guided me through my consultations with existing clients. It also helped me clinch projects with potential clients. It was more like a trial and error journey. There are some highs and a few lows. But I learned a lot through my interactions with business owners and my tweaks in social campaigns.
I even published an ebook, “Rock Your Identity”, to spread the good news. Rock Your Identity is sort of a mini-guide on how you can elevate your identity in social media to rock star status. No worries rockers, you can download a free copy here.
Here’s a quick model of my social media value chain, distilled through years of practice. This is what a social networking value chain look like:
Today, I won’t dwell too much on everything that I discussed in the ebook. I assumed that all those who have not read it yet would want to know what the hell I’m talking about. However, a value chain of social networks is something I deem extremely important in your social media process.
Well, I like to amplify more on that first step when you engage in social media. Learning the art of listening. Yeah, it may sound simple when all you listen to are five-star reviews and glowing feedback. But how will you react to those big, fat zero reviews and negative feedback? It’s too sad that a lot of business has failed miserably in their social media campaigns. They are just not prepared to handle social criticisms.
Sure, they have risk management teams and PRs to handle these situations. But generally, these efforts are superficial at best. In the intolerant and opinionated culture of social media, they only aggravate the brand’s image.
In any case, you have to know how to use those reviews to add up to the bottom line of your company. This has to be done regardless if the reviews are positive or negative.
Social Media Value Chain: Capitalize on user innovation
But that’s just one side of the coin. The other side is just as important. Most companies, after investing much time and effort in engaging their most dedicated consumers, fail to capitalize on user innovation when those consumers have improved the products to fit their needs. Really, it’s one thing to decorate those suggestion boxes with all the latest tools you can get your hands on but, if those suggestions go straight to the trash… Oh, what a waste.
The culprit? Most brands are just not ready to jump into concrete actions on what they are hearing on social platforms. It’s a needed individual flow, somewhat like dancing into the groove. How are you going to make those comments or those ratings a part of your brand?
Maybe they are too proud to acknowledge suggestions coming from the front thinking wrongly that their R&Ds, with all the glowing resumes and fat salaries, are more equipped to handle product improvements. Maybe they think that their risk management plans can gloss over their shortcomings and everything will be fine tomorrow.
Here’s the gauntlet, everything comes down to one essential question: How do you react to what you hear about your brand? Have you set up a system that gives you a hunch around what you’re supposed to hear?
Last week, I was at a conference in Copenhagen (at Better Place, and on a side note I urge you to choose a car with a purpose the next time you’re purchasing). The ever-awesome Chief Happiness Officer: Alex Kjerulf told a story about Zappos and how they found out that the reason one of their clients hadn’t returned the goods she said she would was because her husband died. Later that day, not only did they pick up the goods themselves, there was also a gigantic flower bucket standing on her porch with condolences from the whole Zappos team.
Do you have an organization that would do that? Do you have people in your employ that simply implements this because of the brand’s DNA ?
In my humble opinion, it is one of the top 5 Danish design companies with the coolest identity. I was so lucky that I got to see their colorful HeadQuarters in Odense.
I hi-jacked their founder and creative director, Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau, for an interview. I had a hidden agenda and wanted to talk to her about the RICE identity and the red thread in everything they do.
Here is what came out of it. (Warning: turn the sound up. It didn’t come out that well)
What’s so special about the RICE identity is that they built it from their own uncompromisable core.
And I am crazy about that. Their tagline is “People care. We care”. And they mean it (as you will also see in the video above). Their whole warehouse was filled with how RICE is making a difference for people, in the crazy world of design.
I know for a fact, through my work with my awesome cool clients, that building from the core is what you need to do. Especially if you want to build more and more digital branding around you using different platforms: social media, apps, community – you name it.
RICE stands out so strong because the company actually gives you something to believe in (instead of just doing awesome colorful products). It gives them a substance and a coolness that often is missed in the business world, and that’s why I adore them so. Are you inspired to do more about your identity? I am. Also, I have had the strangest urge to put colors everywhere after my visit. In addition to the video and me geeking around their identity
Can’t help but thinking of the Rolling Stones song ” she’s a rainbow”.
Charlotte for sure is putting colors everywhere, and if anybody would ever ask me if I had met a rainbow, I would say: Sure! she runs a colorful company called RICE in Odense Denmark and she’s taking over the world.
Go Return on Involvement! I’m so happy to write this! I hope you feel energized and ready to get going for 2013 because I sure do.
During my Christmas and New Year break, I suddenly saw that the traffic to henrietteweber.com started to skyrocket. It’s something that always gets a business avantgardist happy. It was because the term I coined made it to Mashable’s buzzword list of 2013! Wowza!
I have been writing and preaching about “return on involvement” since 2008. So even though I can’t say it, I have directly influenced them to put that term on their buzzword list. However, I felt like it’s somewhat of an approval of my work and my Danish book, Return On Involvement. At least I pretend that it’s directly influenced by my work, and it inspires me like mad to keep going. The first thing that sprung to mind was that I have to finish the 2nd edition (and first English edition) of my book.
So what is all this Return on Involvement fuzz about?
Return on Involvement, in its original Danish form, is a book that I decided to self-publish. It is about social media, old structures, being epic, branding, rockbandism, “sorry I don’t do the mainstream-ness”.
Written by yours truly in 2009 and now on its way to being published in English for its second version. I can safely say I am channeling my inner Naomi Klein, Eric Sclosser, Kalle Lasn, and Banksy in the English version of the book.
It has a positive business outlook for the future, but it also pinpoints some huge issues that the business world, as we know, today has. And it gives suggestions on how to deal with this as a CEO or a business owner.
I did a talk on tuesday for CSR professionals in Copenhagen through Tania Ellis and the social business club. I entitled it “Social media do’s and dont’s for CSR professionals” I recorded it and here it is:
One of my absolute horrors in business, is when people use capital words to emphasize how strongly they feel about something . How wild it makes them feel. How much they want you to do something for them.
I get a nervous fit everytime I see it. To me it’s like two people standard across from each other, having a conversation and then a really annoying person comes over and starts to SHOUT at them. Something not in context. Something really important to the person, but that the two other people don’t really care about. You wouldn’t do that at an event, but apperently some people feels like it’s ok to shout at other people on the internet. Please don’t be that person.
It isn’t ok to shout at people – especially if you don’t know them that well.
Because I feel so strong about this, I decided to do the “league against the use of capital words in communication”. Everybody who’s in say “Aye”!
ps. the answer to the question is a HUGE no! use your creative communication skills instead of pressing Caps Lock if there’s something you feel strongly about.
pps. I am thinking about doing a “only speak in caps lock” day as a part of this process – what do you think? good idea ?
Picture found on pinterest
When you talk about identity, marketing and branding, one thing that’s really important is to know what you have to give away. I have always been inspired to do one of those so I did. A Henriette Weber version with the stuff I want to give away: it looks like this:
I think it’s a great exercise and really important in order to prioritize and develop your identity.
If buzzwords end up being something you’re using as a value, you can really move mountains within your industry. You will finally be able to show that you practice as you preach. We have seen it various times with different businesses and startups that have dared to be <insert favorite buzzword here> as a part of their identity, marketing, and branding.
However, I get so tired of these huge words thrown at me as if it was something you could fix in 5 minutes and get on with your life. It makes them diluted, and it makes me cringe – because I’m left standing on some random streetcorner saying. “I’m sure that’s not what they meant when they started to talk about authentic businesses or involvement onsocial media”.
So even though you probably get a fair amount of buzzword bingo at your job every day, I can surely say – it’s not the ones that have fast buzzwords coming out of their mouth that really cracks the code for bringing in money through a digital sales funnel, it’s the one that works around it and implements it as a value. And not just on a strategic level – throughout the whole organization.
You need to take your buzzwords and create your own good sh*t around it – define what it means to you and to your colleagues. Practice as you preach, rockers.
One of the things I have worked with as an entrepreneur over the years is manifestos. I think they are dead important, both to the people who sees them because they stand strong, but also for me to get my head around what it is that I actually think and feel about a given subject. I went back in the blog archives and I have done a lot of manifestos during the years i’ve been running this blog… (8 years… cough).
A manifesto is a great way of figuring out what you think is important around a given subject – or even when you should be finding out what kind of company you are. I haven’t done a Henriette Weber or a Toothless Tiger manifesto yet – but they are up in my head – I know what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. What I stand for and what I don’t stand for. And that’s the great thing about manifestos because it becomes natural to you in the process and then you look back at them and think “hey that’s pretty cool”. A manifesto needs to be a natural process so you end out with something that everybody in the manifesto process believes in and acts out and stands for. It can be a lot of work (especially in large teams – but I guarantee you it’s worth it). in fact it often becomes something more than a manifesto
But here are my published manifestos over the years:
Anyway there was the silent revolution manifesto that became a large part of my book “return on involvement” because the silent revolution defines the changes that is happening inside of people. This was written before the paradigm shift in media and I still feel the “yep” coming from inside of me when I read it…
There was the creativity undefined manifesto that summed up my creativity work with Dannie Jost for our lift07 workshop – it’s still stands and is still the core of most of my thoughts around creativity. The surroundings has changed a bit though.
Then there was the creativity 100 manifesto – 100 pieces of advice for getting more creative… which is still one of my most read blogposts today =) I really digg that manifesto, and can’t really believe I did that…
And then – there is the involvement manifesto. A sum up of danish book (in english) which had the succes criteria that one person would print and put up on their wall in their office.(you can still make it). That’s why it’s designed and great looking and not just text=)
When I read through this my mind is going “I better get going on that creativity book” – 2 manifestos on creativity ? yes it is something I care deeply about =)