Me and my brand

My manager recently said to me that, even if I didn’t put my name on my PowerPoint presentations, he’d recognize them any time. Did I do anything special to earn this compliment? I don’t think so. As a good corporate citizen, I always use the prescribed company template. And I present content (at least I hope) that is relevant for my employer and our customers.

Where I may be different, is that ― unlike the average professional in my company ― I try to keep my slides simple and sweet. No information overload. No long bullet lists. No 12 point font sizes. No complex technical drawings. I am also a visual thinker, which often helps me finding good metaphors and original graphical representations. And, as a passionate storyteller, I always put a proper mix of ethos, pathos, and logos in my presentations. The more personalized, attractive and relevant information is to the person presented with it, the more engagement is possible.

Of course I’m flattered by the fact that my presentations are recognized as (part of) my personal brand. In an earlier post on this blog I wrote about the relationship between brands and customers, and how companies are taking their target audience on a journey, connecting with them emotionally, and positioning their products and services beyond functionality and price. But also personal branding is a very powerful tool, because it provides a clear and consistent message about who you are, what you stand for and what you have to offer – as a representative of your company as well as a private person.

personal_brand

As such, I can only acknowledge the words that Tom Peters wrote in a 1997 Fast Company article:

“In the age of the individual, you have to be your own brand. […] Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

In today’s technology-ruled, content-driven and information-overloaded business environment, the contribution of an individual can still make a big difference. That’s why (even if my boss doesn’t think I need to) I always put my name and my TwitterID on the title page of my presentations…

More reading:

Potato Jesus

Do you remember the story of the elderly Spanish lady who made the news by restoring a fresco in her own unique way? She did such a remarkable job that the mural painting, originally known as Ecce Homo (“Here’s the Man”), got nicknamed Ecce Mono (“Here’s the Monkey”) and Potato Jesus.

But in the meantime her infamous artwork in a church near Zaragoza has turned out to be quite lucrative…

ecce_homo

After one year, the bespoke restoration has attracted 40,000 visitors and raised more than 50,000 euro for charity. Cecilia Giménez, the 81-year-old artist, has even had her own art exhibition and signed a deal with a local council to share profits from merchandising the image.

A somewhat unexpected conclusion from this fait divers: even questionable graphic material may (sometimes) generate good business — or yield good presentations. Take for example Tom Peters, a bestselling author who is known as a great business person and an inspiring public speaker. Even though the PowerPoint slides he creates are often overcrowded, with an eye-hurting mix of exotic fonts and striking primary colors (see e.g. one of his “Excellence Now” presentations on SlideShare) most of his presentations are simply excellent…

Other articles about this topic that are worth reading: