Fireside / May 2015

Creating “Brand YOU”: Personal Branding Tips for Millennials

Last week, Wireside attended a luncheon hosted by the American Marketing Association at the University of Richmond, where guest speaker Sima Dahl, International speaker/trainer/coach for Sway Factory gave a presentation on personal branding.  The interactive presentation was full of advice relevant to each and every audience member – because after all, we are all the directors behind our own personal brand. mkt2

“Who do you know who…?”

In the professional world, networking is key.  Often, we hear people ask, “Who do you know who specializes in xyz?” Sima says we should strive to become that resource. If you aren’t the person someone is looking to connect with, then make it a point to know someone who is.  Building up your professional network will enable you to become the go-to for your colleagues, peers, etc.

LOVE LinkedIn

This one may take time.  While it’s easy to utilize platforms where you can share what you’re eating and who you’re with (think: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), it may be a little more difficult to appreciate LinkedIn, a platform used for growing one’s professional network.  Take a minute at least once a week to update your status on LinkedIn – whether it be sharing an article or writing about a cool networking event you attended, these statuses will get you on the radar of other professionals in your network.

You… According to You

Speaking of LinkedIn, your headline and work experience should make what you do and what your skills are completely apparent. For example, if your headline says “Program Manager,” that’s too vague.  What field are you in? What exactly do you do? Additionally, your work experience needs to be flushed out (but keep it relatively brief). Don’t just copy and paste bullet points directly from your resume.

Headshot Help

Sima stressed the importance of having a headshot. A headshot, she says, must be a close-up picture, professionally done and current.  She also gives tips on Facebook profile pictures: Don’t wear sunglasses, leave the kids out, and don’t make your profile picture a logo or object – you are a person, after all.

Hopefully you can utilize some of the tips I’ve highlighted to grow as a professional. Do you have any tips for personal branding? If so, we’d love to hear them!





SDN Reality Check – and a Solid Webinar

Software-defined networking (SDN) remains a hot topic in the IT and telecom industries. A recent Capacity magazine webinar, sponsored by NTT Communications (Wireside client) offered a useful reality check on this technology and an occasion to think about webinars in general.Content-Rules1As for webinars, the challenge has always been how to deliver a credible message without becoming an infomercial. Excessive focus on lead generation, after all, is one of the main reasons that so many webinars have tended to underperform – or “suck” – as Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman bluntly put it in their 2011 digital marketing book Content Rules.

Of course, anyone doing a webinar – NTT Com included – is looking for leads. But the best way to achieve them is to focus on content. Service providers tend to have advantage an in this respect, being closer than vendors to the end user and motivated to communicate as clearly as possible. That was something I picked up on as a trade journal editor (and moderator of several dozen webinars) and clearly appeared to be the case with Shawn Morris, senior manager of IP development for the NTT Communications Global IP Network, and presenter in this event.

Morris simplified the complex topic, focusing on SDN’s “programmable control.” To explain the ongoing culture shift that SDN is driving, he pointed to 25-plus years of change in the manufacturing industry: “Today you can’t run a manufacturing plant without automation.” Modest about NTT Com’s own portfolio, Morris nonetheless explained how NTT Com is no Johnny-come-lately. “It took us about 10 years to get fully automated.” At the same time, he challenged the attendees: “In five years time, I don’t think you’ll be able to be competitive unless you’re operating in this manner.”

If you’re looking for more insight into SDN, check out the webinar in its entirety. Morris is really good. If you’re in marketing or PR and looking to improve your webinars, here’s my point: It’s easy to become overwhelmed by webinar production – Handley and Chapman list no fewer than 25 keys to success – but above it all, keep in mind the title of their book: Content Rules.