I devised the term “Personal Branding Nexus” to refer to a central source that allows individuals (potential employers, prospective clients, and others with an interest in you) to easily get information about you and your relevant online presence. It’s a source that is used as a jump-off point from which to showcase your accomplishments, social media associations, and other endevours.
Since I’m an entrepreneur and blog about business, the concept stemmed from that perspective but it can certainly be applied to other situations (e.g., students wishing to highlight their work to attract graduate schools).
Why Do You Need One?
You can take it a step further from a content marketing perspective. That is, as you build you personal brand with the content you’re creating and distributing across the Internet, you need a central area to focus us.
To Prove You Offer Value & Expertise
As those who know me can attest, I have high standards and a lot of integrity in all that I do. You can look at the Internet marketing companies that I’m involved with and see them as distinct entities or you can view them as offshoots of me, rather than the other way around. In other words, if I would start a car manufacturing company, you would trust me as the brand and expect that the car company offers a high quality product, effective customer service, and integrity in decision making.
Apple, as a company, does this as well. Their maketing and products are so slick that if the company sold you an umbrella, you would just assume that the product is among the best in the world. By trusting your perceived notion of the company’s core values, you expect that anything they sell will satisfy you. In the case of personal branding, my point is that you as an individual overshadow any single company that you work for or run. If you work on different projects, you can bring them together to highlight your accomplishments through a personal branding nexus (whether online with a personal identity hub website or offline via business card).
Technology Jobs Change Quickly
Gone are the days when people are involved with only one business or source of income. The Internet has made it easier for everyone to make a little extra cash (take that with a grain of salt – making a lot of money online is never easy). These days you can’t expect someone to get a job at Pepsi and work there for 50 years. Rather, defining one’s life has become more about personal branding and less about places of employment. In the tech world in particular, many individuals such as myself are involved with multiple companies, businesses, products, brands, whateveryouwanttocallits, and you can work with several of them simultaneously.
It’s All About You
The point of all of this is that you become the focus and you can highlight that with a nexus. It’s all about you, not the businesses you’re involved in per se but rather what you bring to the table.
It Adds to Transparency
Transparency has become a big deal in the online world and you want to show that you are transparent.
The Internet is not Linear
The Internet is a non-linear tool. People can find random items about you and not necessarily in the order or organized fashion that you might want them to. As such, if your online nexus (hub) comes up first, you can guide people to what you want them to see before they go and visit all of these other sites with info by and/or about you. Presumably, in most cases they found out about you on another website and that’s fine. Now that they have found your hub, they can be lead to where you want them to go as they find out more about you.
To Make it Easy to Contact You
One secondary goal is to make sure that if someone wants to contact you, there is always one central, direct way for them to do so. So if they know you as being part of one company but that business no longer exists, they can still easily find you.
Where’s Your Personal Branding Nexus?
I divide the Personal Branding Nexus into 2 overarching categories: online and offline.
(1) The Online / Digital Nexus
I’ve written a separate article on Personal Identity/Profile Hub Websites which covers the online (hence, most relevant) portion.
(2) The Offline Nexus
Believe it or not, you have the opportunity to brand yourself with something you carry in your wallet. Your business card can serve as a great nexus when you meet prospects and offline business networking meetings. You can read more about consolidating your personal brand by way of next generation business cards which I’ve written as part of this series of personal branding articles. There may be other instances in the “real” world that I haven’t thought of and certainly welcome your input in the comment section below.
There are several related terms that are worth mentioning for anyone looking for information on this topic. I’ll point them out here because this area is not very well popularized and as such, there is a certain degree of variation in what people look for when referring to these topics.
For example, “SEO” is now a popular enough term such that when someone who doesn’t know the correct terminology types “how do I get my website to rank high in Google” they can still easily come across the term. That’s not the case when it comes to “reputation management” and related terms. I get calls from people who want to manipulate and control their image online in one way or another who don’t even realize that the practice is common and has a name to it!
Ok, so related terms that I’m referring to include “online personal reputation management,” “online identity management,” “online impression management,” and “Internet identity management.” The gist of these terms is that they include some level of exerting control over one’s appearance/representation online. It could be through social media or search engine exposure, or through disclosing of information on a website.