Interview for Personal Branding
"Personal Branding" interview with Joey Coleman
Michael Smith: This time we are talking with Joey Coleman about his CFUNITED-05
talk "Personal Branding". So why should a developer come to your session Joey ?
Joey Coleman: Whether you freelance code or work in-house at a
company/organization, the most important element of your career path is your
"personal brand." In an ever-changing economy, you need to be able to show why
you are the best person for the job. Everyone has a personal brand - what they
need to be asking is "how am I promoting my personal brand." My session at
CFUNITED-05 will address this question...
MS: What do you mean by personal brand? It is not like we are all rock stars
with image consultants behind us at our jobs! :-)
JC: Actually, we all have the capability of being viewed as rock stars - at
least in the world in which we operate. It's all about how you present and
market yourself to managers, colleagues, and potential employers. Your personal
brand is what you are known for - the special value you provide to a team or an
organization. Your personal brand lets people know you are unique and valuable.
If you don't brand yourself, someone else will. It is better to deliberately
create a personal brand that represents you in the manner you desire than to
leave this important task to another person.
MS: What are some examples of what might happen if I just let someone else brand
JC: You may get branded in a limited way when you actually have more skills:
"Steve does ColdFusion programming for non-profits." You may get branded in a
non-specific way: "Steve works on computers." You may get branded in a negative
way: "Steve is a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none." While some of these
labels are better than others, you should be in control of your brand so that
you can choose what you are known for...
MS: Ok I am sold that I need to control my personal brand! But won't it be
expensive for me to do that?
JC: Not really... Not to mention that it is the best kind of money you can spend
- an investment in yourself. Depending on the type of brand you want to develop,
you can read books (several have been written on the topic of personal
branding), attend personal brand seminars (offered throughout the country by a
variety of experts), or hire a personal brand consultant. It just depends on the
level of results you seek.
MS: Ok, so the expense can vary depending on how much I want done - but won't it
take me a long time to create a personal brand?
JC: Building a brand is a life-long project. That being said, you can put
together a solid personal brand profile in less than two months if you are
working with a professional to assist you.
MS: It sounds like a fair amount of work...
JC: It is, but it can be a ton of fun. At the end of the day, you are refining
your personal image and spending a lot of time evaluating what's most important
to you and what you want your legacy to be - important stuff to say the least.
The more you define your brand, the more successful you will be in your career.
MS: What if I think I already have a well-established reputation and brand?
JC: That's wonderful - and most people reading this interview probably do have
an established brand. But I wonder if it is exactly the brand and image they
want to portray? Every brand can stand a little more focus and attention - and
as I mentioned before, this is an ever-evolving process so you should constantly
revisit your brand and make sure it still aligns with your values and your life
MS: So everyone should come to your session?
JC: That would be wonderful - everyone is welcome ;-) At the very least, if you
are a freelancer, a business owner, or someone who anticipates needing to find a
new job in the next five years, you should attend. Workforce shifts in the U.S.,
combined with off-shoring and increased competition from around the world, means
that job security is a thing of the past - especially in the technology arena.
Future jobs are going to go to the people who can distinguish themselves in an
ever-crowding workplace. The best way to do that is to have a solid brand that
promotes your skills and accomplishments.
MS: I'm sold, what can I do to work on my personal brand?
JC: Come to my session at CFUNITED and we will get you started!
MS: Sounds good - I look forward to your presentation at CFUNITED '05!
JC: Me too... I hope to see lots of the readers at the session!