Archive | April, 2010

#PRAdvanced–It’s All About How You Brand Yourself

1 Apr

What is your brand? You all may think that you have developed your own personal brand but do you even know how to properly brand yourself? Many PRSSA members found out how to ensure that their brands set them apart from everyone else’s brand. On February 27, 2010 (sorry for the EXTREME delay), Boston University held a PRSSA Regional Activity about developing and personalizing your own brand. Students listened and learned from HR representatives from many companies and some that were in the communications departments of their companies.

To kick off what would turn out to be a very successful event thanks to Rachel Sprung and Chelsea Alexander (look up these amazing girls), Penelope Trunk talked about how exactly one would develop their own brand. For those that do not know, Penelope Trunk is the CEO of Brazen Careerist, a great website to share ideas with others and get feedback. Her talk centralized around five main points:

  1. Stick with it–Everyone is lost and scared in the job hunt. EMBRACE IT!
  2. Optimism is what makes YOU happy–Your career won’t make you happy; building relationships will.
  3. Nobody controls your experience–Create your own project and be a ROCKSTAR!
  4. Nobody knows their goals–What you want will change and you should just try different things.
  5. Be known for ideas–Use social media to let people see your ideas.

Penelope also talked about how there are no boundaries with social media, to get over your fears regarding copyright, and by investing time in your brand will create stability in your career. Her speech to open the conference was absolutely perfect on what we would all be learning throughout the day.

When I found out about #PRAdvanced and learned who the speakers were, one stood out right away because we had exchanged a few tweets. Heather Huhman, the founder of Come Recommended, was the speaker for one of the break out sessions, which really excited me. Ever since I became serious about my tweeting, I started following Heather and have always found her tweets very useful. Make sure you go follow her! During her presentation, Heather talked about “8 Steps for Creating & Maintaining Your Personal Brand,” which provided me with A LOT of useful information. Here is just a brief overview of what Heather talked about.

  1. Determine your differentiation–Write down every skill, characteristic and interest you have (what makes you unique)
  2. Create an online portfolio–Build and design with sites like Wix and Weebly (customize your domain)…There’s so much to be included but Heather gave us Sarah Tiambeng’s online portfolio as a good example.
  3. Create a professional blog–Really there’s four main points: select a topic, decide post frequency, admit you’re not an expert, and promote your blog
  4. Develop your core message/elevator pitch–State your name, what you seek, qualifications, and ask them something
  5. Evaluate your current online presence–Google yourself!!! (Mine sadly isn’t the best because of others with the same name that I probably can’t escape no matter how hard I try.)
  6. Get on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs etc.)–Remember your etiquette and give more than you get
  7. In-person networking–Attend networking events (not just in your industry)
  8. Create a plan–Set goals for yourself and manage your reputation.

Overall Heather’s presentation was one of my favorites of the day. All the information she gave us was noted and I even started my own online portfolio. Unfortunately like my blog, my online portfolio has been put on hold for a while due to school work.

My next breakout session was more for the whole sports aspect considering the presenter works for the Boston Red Sox. Yankee fan all the way right here people! Joe Januszewski, VP of Corporate Partnership, went over what each MLB teams looks out when promoting their brand image. He went over how there are the “Pillars of Success for a Baseball Team.”

Winning championships (winning drives fan interest)–>Fan satisfaction (drives revenue)–>Maximize revenue (payroll flexibility)–>Win championships

Pretty simple to understand the concept and a lot of work goes into making sure your team is able to take advantage of every opportunity. Joe explained that his job is to ensure that the Red Sox take every opportunity possible to interact with the fans and make sure their experiences are memorable. Some helpful branding tips Joe expressed to us were: you need to be intentional about what you do, be impactful and go for ever opportunity, and last think organically. Here are some other key points Joe presented when moving forward in your careers:

  • Make sure the brand is something you are proud of and want to be apart of
  • Go beyond your daily tasks to set you apart
  • Go where the opportunity is

Next we got the opportunity to ask a panel of HR representatives about what they like, don’t like, and look for in the candidates they come across on a daily basis. Kate DiChristopher (Marina Maher Communications), Christopher Gaturu (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston), Jason Glashow (Fleishman Hillard), and Maggie van der Leeuw (Burson-Marsteller) answered all the questions everyone was dying to know answers to in ways to help in both internship and career hunting. Some key points the panel pointed out were:

  • Build a relationship months in advanced
  • Be much more than just a resume & cover letter
  • Make your cover letter simple
  • Let them know what you’re looking for

One topic that I found beneficial was about thank you cards. I have always sent thank you emails but just recently started sending handwritten thank you notes. Although some may not see a handwritten notes as important, those who receive them have said it’s always nice to think someone took the time to sit down and write out a personalized note. If you don’t sent a handwritten thank you note, make sure you send one via email. It’s important to let someone know that you appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with you.

We also had the opportunity to have Brandi Boatner, Immediate Past PRSSA President, speak to us. I feel bad that I didn’t take notes, I think I was too into her story about the amazing journey she has experienced. It was great when I got the chance to meet her after and introduce myself. And to close out the day before a great Career Fair, Fiona Morrison, the Director of Brand and Marketing at JetBlue, went over how in their 10 year history, JetBlue was able to rebrand itself.

Overall the whole day (which started off with snow), was a HUGE success and I can’t express to Rachel and Chelsea how I loved how welcoming and helpful they were leading up to the event. It didn’t even surprise me when a few weeks later was elected to be PRSSA’s National Vice President of Regional Activities for 2010-2011. Thank you so much girls!