Rules for Communicating Your Personal Brand

BrandBox 01
Image by daveelf via Flickr

I was at a spectacular Personal Branding panel recently at NYU‘s Kauffman Center, hosted by Step Up Women’s Network — which I’m a member of. The panel was moderated by Beth Schoenfeldt of Collective-E. The panelists were: Hope Hughes of Deloitte, Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley, Christine Beauchamp of Ann Taylor and Juliette Powell, Media Entrepreneur.

In case you missed it, I was tweeting real-time through the whole event. You can see the tweets if you search “personal branding” on Twitter, or go to my profile It was incredibly inspirational, and right on point. Here’s a summary of the most important nuggets:

Personal Branding:

  • According to Christine Beauchamp, your personal brand must have an “emotional differentiator” in addition to having the technical and functional expertise. All 3 of these elements must resonate with who you are and who you want to be.
  • It’s a must to align what you believe in with what you do. In other words, your values, and brand, should match your personal and company’s goals. Your personal brand needs not only to be consistent with your work, but also your life.
  • You need to continuously network to in order to develop your personal brand.
  • Carla Harris emphasized that perception equals your reality — which I’m a strong believer in as well.
  • In terms of how your position yourself, you should think of 3 adjectives of how you’d like to be described — and then make that the center of your brand. Carla also talks about how most of the decisions made about your career, are made when you’re not in the room such as: Compensation, Promotions, Hiring and Firing.
  • Being authentic in your persona, according to Juliette Powell, is really key. I agree — employers and/or clients can smell when you’re not. It’s important to be yourself — and you enhance your personal brand with every tweet.


  • Carla Harris, a real powerhouse from Morgan Stanley, and gospel singer, says that Women, specifically, don’t exercise their network enough — and to make sure you network with those who are not only senior to you, but also with those that are junior to you as well. You also should not be afraid to “ask” for what you need, or for what you want to learn. People are usually more than happy to provide you with information.
  • It’s really important to find a common interest when networking with someone. Networking equals learning to grow your personal brand.
  • Or, if the word “networking” makes you uncomfortable, you can think of it as Connecting. For those of you who are on the shy side, set a small goal to connect with one or two people each day — a few days a week. Make sure to also ask for introductions appropriately from those you meet. Before you know it, you’ll have an extensive network.
  • Christine Beauchamp, from Ann Tayor, made it a point to say that you should always add value to your networking opportunities — and have the insight to know where and when you can do so. And, if you can’t, then don’t force it.

Today’s Career Landscape:

  • Several questions were asked regarding being laid off, and becoming an entrepreneur during this time. Carla said that even if you fail at what you’re attempting to accomplish during these trying times, that you will get a “buy”. She emphasized that the courage, motivation and the willingness to take risks are what employers are looking for.
  • If you’re choosing to be an entrepreneur, like Savvy, then it’s about your marketing pitch and your product — and to make sure that both are aligned. Hope Hughes says that as a talent consultant she looks for people who “took a left when they could have gone straight.”
  • If you’re currently employed, it’s actually important to keep your head UP, not down! Don’t be afraid to share those innovative ideas at work — it actually could be hugely beneficial.
  • Hope also points out that as you grow in your career, and your values and position change, don’t be afraid to tweak your brand. It’s actually critical to your success.

And lastly, and I think one of the most important points — you must believe in and be passionate about your brand, and your work. It’s a vital part of your life and your livelihood. Life is too short to come up short in your career.

At Savvy, we offer online personal branding and professional social media coaching where we provide guidance on:

  • Positioning (The Who & the Why = your professional message)
  • A “How To” Manual teaching you how to set up a blog, use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
  • Goal Setting — helping you focus on what you want to achieve
  • Personal online social networking implementation strategy (What you will say, When you will say it and Where).

We advocate that your career should be an enjoyable process, and not just a paycheck — but a mission in your life. Savvy provides the insight, tools and the process to build and sustain your brand online — successfully. For more information, go to our Professional Social Media Coaching page, email Sheryl at or call 917.747.5920.

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Cable Show Wrap Up

Yours truly with Robert Verdi

Yours truly with Robert Verdi

It’s been just about 10 years since I went to my last NCTA/Cable Show. Apparently the last time I went to the show which was in Dallas, it was still in its hay day. Unfortunately, the Cable Show just didn’t feel the same to me this year, for a few reasons:

The money just isn’t being spent like it used to. The show was lacking the incredible energy it used to have. Last time I ran the trade show promotion at the Cable Show for VH1, we had an American Bandstand stage and dancers dancing in our 60′ x 90′ booth promoting the re-launch of the classic TV show. I borrowed the actual neon sign from the show from Dick Clark Productions, our booth was filled with Clients and there were lines around the corner to enter our contest. Flashbulbs were flashing and the VH1 booth (as a part of MTV Networks) was all the buzz. My counterpart at MTV was running a make-your-own-video booth, with people lined up around the corner to dance their hearts out. That type of promotion, in my eyes, has nearly become extinct at the show (If you saw something really engaging, please comment). Networks like CNBC, Logo, MTV and Outdoor Channel were definitely in promotion mode of their shows like CNBC’s Street Signs and Logo’s Robert Verdi, but the buzz wasn’t nearly as intense or exciting. In my mind, Programmers are just not spending the money they used to.


CNBC's Street Signs

Attendance is down. My guess is, and I don’t know the official numbers, the attendance seems to be declining year after year for the show. One of the complaints I heard from a long-time attendee is that the MSOs (Multiple Systems Operators) are just not showing up en mass and with the economy the way it is, they are sending less and less people. The challenge there for my Programmer friends (the Networks), is that they are there to work with the Providers/MSOs (The Comcasts, Time Warners, and DirecTVs of the world) and some of them are sending very few people, if at all. So, if you’re a Programmer, who are you exhibiting for then? Not your competition for sure. The Cable Show was considered a schmooze fest in years past, and now it seems to be dwindling. It’s also because the model has changed. The landscape of the entire business is truly centred around Broadband, delivery and other measurement technologies. Gone are the days when you were just promoting tune-in to boost your Nielsen ratings, now, it’s not just an on-air numbers game, you now have an online numbers game. And, what are those numbers? Can you monetize your content to your subscribers, without biting the hand that feeds you (the Provider, or the Pipe as they call it)? Is there a new and better way for the networks to garner additional ad revenue and subscription fees from their audience, without losing the audience? Many models of delivery, monetization and measurement were discussed. No one seems to have the right answer yet.

Technology. So, this is really what’s taking over. It’s moving so fast. This is the big Cahuna! At the show was a section called Broadband Nation and CableNET, where the Cable Show created an entire area that was staged as a typical American neighborhood, with facades of homes and a school. In that section, a lot of types of delivery, measurement, hardware, software and general entertainment companies from all over the world displayed their best of the best…from Dolby Labs, to Motorola, to Opentv, to NDS to Samsung. It was a great educational experience, and I would imagine will have more of a presence as years go on.

Dolby Labs 3D broadcast of a U2 Concert

Dolby Labs 3D broadcast of a U2 Concert

Consumer Technology Shout Out: So, I’ll tell you what consumer technology blew me away…The Dolby Labs 3D technology. You walked in to this theater-type space and they handed you a pair of 3D glasses. Well, I’ve had 3D glasses…like from Burger King promotions and such. I’ve felt over the years, that the home experience could just not compare to the 3D theater or Imax experience. Well, I was dead wrong. This was a totally amazing home theater experience! Dolby was broadcasting a U2 concert (I’m a fan, yes) and it was just mind blowing. As I tweeted real time on Twitter that day, “I could have stayed at the Dolby theater all day!” I could not peel myself out of that booth. Honestly, that was the most fun I had had at the show this year. So, thank you!

Social Media is very much in its embryonic stage in most of the Cable industry. Which actually, I was a little surprised at. From a B2B perspective, a colleague and myself were in a panel about 360 Degree marketing. Ann Cowan from CTAM was moderating the panel. When the panelists were asked if they were using Social Networks or Media, you could hear a pin drop…except from the folks at A&E. Mark Garner spoke to their program around the show Hammertime, with MC Hammer. Hallmark spoke to how they were dipping their toe, and TV Guide wasn’t using Social Media at all. Then Ann asked if anyone in the audience was tweeting….and out of close to 2o0 people, only 2 hands went up. Mine and my colleauge’s. It actually was incredibly surprising to me. This room was filled with Marketers listening to Marketers. It was just a testament to me how the space is still very much new and uncharted, but is ripe with opportunity!

Lastly…a Thank You. Thank you to the Walter Kaitz Foundation for creating an opportunity for small and women-owned businesses to attend the conference! It is very much appreciated (I also thanked @CableShow on Twitter as well, and was retweeted!). I really look forward to the next Cable Show in Los Angeles in 2010. I wonder what another year will bring?

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Study: TV Is Still King

First abandoned flat screen TV I've seenImage by mlinksva via Flickr

Study: TV Is Still King.

Nielsen and Ball State University‘s Center for Media Design and Sequent Partners for the Council for Research Excellence, just released a study, after spending $3.5 million, to tell us that TV is still King. It’s an interesting week to release this study, since the National Cable Television Association convention starts this week in Washington, D.C., which yours truly will be happily attending.

Now, given that Nielsen is a ratings company, of course their study is going to prove that. They’re in the business of TV measurement. However, as a Brand Marketer, I didn’t need Nielsen to tell me the obvious.

According to the study, the “biggest consumers of media are those in the 45-54 age group, dubbed the “digital boomer.” The digital boomer, which on average has a daily screen time of 9 1/2 hours, watches a lot of TV, but also spends a lot of time on the computer. Screen time for all other age groups, including the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups, is 8 1/2 hours.” 8 1/2 hours…Wow! That is an amazing amount of time to spend watching TV in a day.

What is of interest to myself and most marketers today, is the use of other screens in relation to the TV…Broadband, Mobile and even Gaming. It’s all integrated these days. TV, in my opinion, is for the brands who have the cash and can afford to invest in “branding”, is still a great medium (and I love the TiVo supported content as well). When I attended the Digital Hollywood Media Summit online, what was reiterated by ESPN’s Artie Bulgrin, head of Research, is that people still want the big screen experience. I really believe that.

But what’s great about Online and Mobile marketing, is that it is much more direct, measurable and less expensive. Even ESPN is taking alternative content, and syndicating it online. And in the case of the Cable TV networks & Cable Operators, the use of online marketing, specifically social media and mobile, can help drive tune-in to the programming. Using Social Media by building a fan base on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikis and Blogs is a great grassroots way to have a direct and interactive conversation with your viewers. Tapping into their passions for the programming, as well as having those fans tell their friends and so on, and so on, and so on, can only help to increase viewership. Promoting upcoming episodes, behind-the-scenes, special online only content etc…is prime for creating loyal viewers, as well as creating opportunities for Advertisers (and help supporting the up-sell of Broadband products as well). Take if even further to the iPhone app i.TV, and you’re really on a roll.

So, as much as I love TV, and I do (although I’m definitely not your 8 1/2 hour/day viewer) I still love my Big Love, In Treatment, Kathy Griffin on the D List, Seinfeld repeats, Damages, Iconoclasts, United States of Tara and CBS Sunday Morning (you can tell I’m a big Cable TV fan), I also love hearing from my favorite shows on Facebook. I like to know when they have a special guest, an online character chat or a fun game to play. I also want my broadband to work, be fast and show me all I can do around my favorite programing — but online. It’s easy, accessible and mobile. I love the convergence and integration of all media. I’ve been dreaming about this day.

So, my Cable TV friends, don’t worry, your customers won’t be casting their lovely 40″ screen out on to the sidewalks of America like everyone’s been telling you. But don’t rest on your laurels. Get out there and use Social Media to support your programming– because, it’s still very much about the ratings. You can breathe a bit easier now.

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Tactics, Tactics…Strategy

Too Much Sex, Too Little Jesus
Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

The caveat about reading this entry and my blog, is that you’ll instantly see that I’m direct and honest. It’s because I’m passionate about what I do and because I care.

So, as a Social Media & Marketing consultant, it’s my job to understand my client’s business. As a 15+ year brand marketer, when I work on an assignment, I need to know what they want to accomplish and how it fits in with their overall business objectives. It’s just how I think and do business. I want to know the whole Megillah because I provide better value that way.

Having been on the client side for most of my career, I feel comfortable in being able to write this article from the context of a Client’s POV. When a client hires a consultant, a lot of the time, they  have a very specific initiative in mind. Ok, so I can take that and run with it, no problem. They know what they want to achieve and I’m the catalyst to get them there. Again, no problem.

However, when clients want to join the “Conversation”, or do any kind of marketing for that matter, I sometimes see a knee-jerk reaction to Just Do It. And, as a consultant, who knows to ask the right questions, sometimes the client just wants to enter the space because they can’t stand reading about it, or hearing about it at the water cooler or hearing about it from their boss (or from their kid for that matter). They come to me and say Savvy, I just want to be there. Make it happen.

Ok. You say you want to enter the space. You say you want to be on MySpace or LinkedIn, or Facebook and have a blog and go on Twitter. Or, you want to do this promotion, or a campaign, or a stunt. Ok. And so I ask…Why? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to reach? What do you want to say? Do you know what people are saying about your brand?


In any area of social media, or even marketing for that matter, looking at the particular project and how it maps back to your overall business objectives is the first thing to look at. As the consultant, I’m always going to want to ask my clients these questions. It’s my job to do that. It’s my job to tell you solutions that will work for you and your business.

The title of this entry was inspired by game Duck, Duck…Goose. Why? Because, and we’ve all been guilty of it, we get stuck in the tactical side of marketing. The cobbler’s children have no shoes…right? So, sometimes it’s difficult for us to take a look at our own business and we think very tactically. It’s Ok, you’re not alone. Whether you use a consultant or an advisor, make sure someone (besides your boss) holds you accountable for what you want to achieve with your marketing. Savvy has to do it too! So, my advice…when you have a great tactical idea, make sure you stop and ask yourself, “How will this initiative support my marketing objectives? What results do I want to achieve that will justify this spend?” You’ll be a better marketer for it. And a better client.

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Building Revenue Through Connection and Collaboration

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called Business Development in Today’s Economy about the 4 Cs. Connection, Collaboration, Clients and Criteria.

For this article I’m revisiting Connection and Collaboration, because they are so closely intertwined.

Connection, as discussed earlier, is about reaching out not only to clients, but to partners, colleagues, co-workers and industry experts as well. Connection applies to growing your network in a number of ways, to build out a rounded experience. From every conversation I have, I learn something new. It never fails. I also make sure to offer something up as well — to be generous. Connection is about how you are talking to potential clients. Where are you connecting with them? Is it a trade show? A networking event? A webinar? On LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter?

I have an incredible example about Connection taking place online. I was watching a panel being streamed live from the Digital Hollywood Media Summit (video streaming produced by Naked and was chatting with people in the digital space from a variety of backgrounds. We were all commenting from the peanut gallery, and then questions were being posed at the same time to the panel. Then after the panel, they grabbed what we  online decided was the star of the panel, Artie Bulgrin, head of ESPN Research, for an online only interview. We then got to pose questions for him to answer. It was a totally wild and unique experience! I not only learned from the people I was chatting with, got to interact with the panel, but I also shared with a journalist from Business Week and other digital researchers and strategists from all over the U.S. We’re now following each other on Twitter. See how quickly you can create community?

On Collaboration…well, what could be the possibility of the relationships that were created in the chat? Could we collaborate on research projects, start our own community based on a POV from the chat or build business together? You should think about businesses you could reach out to in your industry, or in complementary industries that could be useful. Think about what’s missing from your business, or a blind spot for you. What do you need to know about? The point is, you should never stop reaching out. Make sure you bring something valuable to the table. Always. But more importantly, Listen.

These days, with the economy as it is, we can’t go it alone. I’m a strong believer in that. I’m connecting and collaborating more than I have ever done in my life. I’m a part of an agency “consortium” where I’m the Digital & Social Media Expert. I’m in another group where I’m the Mass Media Expert. I’m in another group as the Women-owned Small Business representative. The opportunities are endless. And, the beauty of this is that these collaborations can take place online and offline too. If you connect with someone online, take it off-line and vice versa. Book in a call or meet up for a coffee. We all benefit from the human touch and from working together.

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Ideas Worth Spreading
Image by Rico-san via Flickr

I was recently introduced by a friend and former colleague to Ted Talks. I had always known about the conference, but not that they were hosting all of the talks via video on their site. I was amazed and so excited by it. So, I went and took a look.

After completing my profile (I was intrigued because they asked interesting things of me, not just my email address and Opt-in) that I willingly signed up. I then performed a search based on specific criteria, and I was amazed to find Sean McCullough of, and Kay Koplovitz — media mogul turned VC listed on the site. I thought to myself, wow, you’re in good company!

Cut to I listened to the guru of all viral media (and a rather intuitive Marketer), Seth Godin. Ok, I know, you’ve read all of his books. You subscribe to his blog. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But in the 20 minutes that he had to speak, he hammered home one of the MOST important differences in Marketing. It’s that we HAVE TO STOP INTERRUPTING OUR AUDIENCE. I was yelling. Did you hear me? Go and view it for yourself. View video now.

The A #1 Rule. Find the Influencers. They’re out there. We can find them. Let them tell your story…through podcasts, through blogs, through Facebook pages, through LinkedIn Expert requests. Give them something valuable and compelling to promote. Have your audience put widgets on their sites and then push content to them. Heck, start at the top and make those people your ambassadors. Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s like that shampoo commercial that Joe Namath did back in the 70s “And she told 2 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on.” I’m not telling a lot of you Marketers something you don’t already know — or haven’t been doing. A lot of B2B and B2C Marketers have been doing this for a long time now. I’m just reiterating the importance.

That’s why I love Social Media as a part of the overall Digital Marketing strategy for a brand. Big or small — Social Media is a new avenue that we never had before where we can really talk to our customer on this deep a level. I’ve heard it quoted and I wish I could attribute it that Social Media is “The World’s Biggest Focus Group”. Why I get so excited about it is that it allows us to have conversations and really get in touch with people that are passionate about your brand. In traditional marketing (and I’m very much a fan of some of traditional marketing practices still), you are pushing, pushing, pushing. If the a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? Nobody knows. (That’s a whole other debate.)

But in the Social Media world, and this is where it can get sticky for larger brands…your fans will let you know exactly how they feel about you. And boy will they. But what separates the wheat from the chaff are the brands that are willing to take a dive, and be strategic of course, do a little listening, and enter the space. Have those conversations. Value your consumers. Think of Social Media as another tactic in your marketing arsenal. And don’t forget to budget for it. I’m a marketer that has worked in TV, Radio, Print, and now online. As I was telling one of my clients, On-line is becoming splintered or segmented — just like what Cable did to Broadcast. Embrace it! Amazing!

Comments are accepted and welcome!

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Nielsen: Social Networking Overtakes E-mail in Popularity

An example of a social network diagram.
Image via Wikipedia

Yeah, I know, I’m behind in talking about this announcement that Nielsen made oh, like 24 hours ago. It’s like a lifetime in the digital stratosphere. This is about Social Networking overtaking email. I read that headline and I thought, “Wow”. And then my follow-up thought was “That’s no surprise!”.

There are those of you who are reading this with your chins dropping. Let me help you close the gap. Do you have any idea of how much time people spend on Social Networks? According to Hitwise, the average time spent on Facebook as of May ’08 is 20 minutes. That’s up 56% in just a year. That is staggering!

If you think about it, it’s not like the Universe suddenly gave us an extra 20 minutes per day (but boy could I use it). So, where does that 20 minutes come from? Well, my educated guess is that it probably comes from 2 places — TV viewing, and emailing. My husband would probably say time away from him. (Kidding honey!) I’d actually have to do more digging on this. It’s the time taken from our usual email exchange we have with our friends and relatives over what we did today, who we’re on the outs with, American Idol and why we just need to lose those extra 5lbs. Basically, Social Networking has infringed upon the To/Send, and it makes it easier to “stay in touch”. The To/Send takes time for goodness sakes. I mean, a whole 2 minutes to craft a thorough update.  But now, the definition of “staying in touch” has totally changed in our culture the past 3 years. What was a phone call or an in-person meeting, has now become a Text, a Tweet,  a DM, or writing on someone’s wall saying “What’s up?”

The point is, very quickly, that Social Networking is here to stay and only getting bigger, badder and deeper. Email, well, could it go the way of snail mail someday?

This is only one marketer’s perspective. Got a comment? Comment! Want to get in touch, email me at

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