Tag Archives: Sergio Lilavios

Developing A Personal Brand aka “Do You!”

Last week was Social Media Week 2011 in New York (and San Francisco). All week long, there were panels, round tables, mixers and networking events, hosted by the likes of CMJ, Pandora and Red Bull.

I attended quite a few sessions, but the event that I got the most out of wasn’t even part of the official week’s events. That event was Developing A Personal Brand, hosted by Harvey Nash’s Linkedin group, Network 4 Net Worth.

A week ago, I posted about the presentation I intended to deliver with Sergio Lilavios, of WeHarlem. But Sergio was called away to London, and I didn’t want to bore my audience with slides that would invariably split their focus.

When I arrived at The Hill, I realized my decision was spot on, as the monitors were at a neck-straining height. The room was also oddly configured, with large columns cutting off the floor at menacing angles.

I spoke (over an extremely loud sound system, which The Hill refused to reduce for my brief presentation – someone will pay for that) to the eager attendees about tips for developing and protecting their personal brands. With my notes on my iPad, I talked strategy, provided examples, and sought to engage and interact with my audience.

Prior to my presentation, I spoke to a few folks one-on-one, including Ross Staszak, Michael Blicharski, Ohene Cornelius, Natasha Ononogbo, and Jodine Jackson, all entrepreneurs in their own right, and personal brand incubators. Giving these mini-brand audits, I was privy to some really great ideas. All of you be sure to call me!

Before we parted, I told them that I would follow up our session with tips they could take and apply to their own branding efforts.

Here are  Stephen’s Seven Tips for Personal Brand Development:

Tip No. 1: Own Your Brand. There is no one who knows or can promote your brand better than you. So own it. Recognize that you are your own best cheerleader and root for yourself!

Tip No. 2: Be Passionate. There is no better endorsement for Brand You, then people seeing you do what you love to do. If you’re engaged in an activity you love, you exude confidence and competence. Boring is so unsexy! Steer clear from things that don’t resonate with you. No paycheck is worth compromising your spirit!

Tip No. 3: Embrace Your Inner Entrepreneur. Name a famous employee. Don’t bother – you can’t. But I’m sure that you can run off a laundry list of famous entrepreneurs. You want to be among that company. If you think it, you can do it. There’s no time like the present to give your wildest ideas a test run. If you fail, so what? Try again.

Tip No. 4: Listen Up! It’s important that you cultivate your ability to listen to what people want, and respond accordingly. People want to feel like they’re being heard. Resist the urge to talk first, knowing that people want your advice and expertise, and will be willing to listen to you if you give them the floor first.

Tip No. 5: Use Technology. You are part of the digital generation. Your seamless use and application of technology to your daily life is an unprecedented and significant advantage. Rock it and separate yourself from the plodding technically unsophisticated masses.

Tip No. 6: Network. You’re connected. Your personal and professional network is the singular strongest asset. People who already know you, will readily advocate on your behalf. Build up your network of Brand Ambassadors and let them do the work of promoting you.

Tip No. 7: Guard Your Brand (from your own foolishness). Jealously protect your brand from being tarnished by anything that would reflect poorly. No drunk pics or videos on your Facebook page. Remember, once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Tip No. 8 (I know I said seven) is to use me as a resource. It’s nice to have an expert in your corner, who you can call on when needed. Feel free to reach out to me at (718) 308-5730 or stephen.chukumba@gmail.com if you ever need advice.

When I drew my presentation to a close, I had cards thrust into my hands, contact info entered into my iPhone, and meeting requests.

The energy in the room was infectious, and I hope some of what I had to offer rubbed off.

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Go mobile or go the way of the dinosaur.

Ad & Marketing Industry News

Last night, I read an article in AdAge about how both Google and Facebook were staking their respective futures on mobile, and how mobile was increasingly becoming the foundation of their efforts.

The Marksmen are a production unit ahead of their time.

Since 2005, when I started working with The Marksmen, developing applications that could be accessed and utilized from mobile devices (it all started with the Treo), I knew that mobile represented the future of computing.

Notice I said “computing” as opposed to content consumption or the internet, because with the advent of the smartphone, there are fewer and fewer things that one can do exclusively on a PC that can’t be done on a mobile device.

It was while at DOT.TUNES that I cut my mobile teeth.

From there it was DOT.TUNES, the first mobile application developed for the iPhone BEFORE the release of the iPhone SDK, which allowed users to remotely access their entire iTunes library directly from their mobile devices (even if it wasn’t an iPhone – holla!).

I even did a stint at MX Telecom (now OpenMarket), one of the largest mobile aggregators in the world, to learn about the ins-and-outs of the mobile industry, from the perspective of the underlying technology behind SMS/MMS/PSMS/Wap, mobile billing, etc.

Ever since, I have been preaching about the importance of mobile to anyone who would listen.

I tell virtually all the clients I consult, that they need to adopt a mobile strategy.

Set up a basic SMS service.

Build a mobile version (or mobile optimized version) of your website.

Create a brand specific mobile app.

Do anything to incorporate some mobile elements to your brand identity or risk going the way of the dinosaur.

I’m saying, if Google and Facebook are banking so heavily on it, doesn’t it seem to make good business sense?

They’re only multi-billion dollar companies.

Clearly, there is some wisdom to their actions.

WeHarlem knows mobile. Do you WeHarlem?

Recently, I’ve been speaking with Sergio Lilavois, one of the founding partners of WeHarlem, an interactive e-community for those that live, work or socialize in Harlem.

WeHarlem has launched several innovative initiatives directed squarely at harnessing and applying the power of mobile devices.

They have a social media website, WeHarlem.com, which links residents and local businesses.

In addition, they developed device specific applications, for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, giving WeHarlem users the ability to access all of WeHarlem’s features on-the-go.

One of the most valuable features of WeHarlem’s mobile app, is the Wi-Fi locator, which enables users to find Harlem businesses offering free Wi-Fi in their establishments.

WeHarlem’s strategy involves providing Harlem residents and businesses with bi-directional utility, generating foot-traffic, loyalty and retention.

We’re in discussions right now to help bring businesses even deeper into the fold, by offering services to enable them to more closely connect with their target audiences using mobile and social media technology.

There have been other shining moments, when the strategies I propose actually gain a foothold.

Vincent Morgan, for example, knew immediately that he wanted it all, a mobile version of his primary website and an SMS alert service.

Although he failed in his efforts to dethrone Charles Rangel, he succeeded in rewriting the way candidates utilize the web, social media and mobile in their campaigns.

Anyway, the AdAge article renewed my passion for evangelizing mobile and I will continue to preach the value of mobile to all who will listen!

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