My career has been an interwoven combination of corporate recruiting and digital marketing, with some sales roles thrown in.
When I think about what the common thread is among those three things, ultimately, it’s lead generation.
It’s been pretty simple. I have something of value to offer someone and I’ve specialized in building lists of people and companies who likely have the problem my product or service can solve and connecting them to me and my product or service by intentionally crafted messaging.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily building lists, but understanding what people are searching for on Google or Bing and how they’re searching for it. Then I ensure the ads I create align with and satisfy the end user’s search.
Whether it’s a software engineer interested in a role at Microsoft, an engineer searching for a check valve for their current design prototype or someone who doesn’t know they have a need but understand the current trends and want to take advantage of it similar to the SaaS product I sold to corporate recruiting teams at former Seattle startup Jobster.
I’ve been a hunter and a connector.
Now I want to understand something much more complex: branding and brand marketing.
It’s complex for a number of reasons. One reason that immediately comes to mind, especially for someone like me who has been primarily in data- and metric-driven roles, is that brand marketing is often hard to quantify.
Brand marketing is measured by imperfect things such as customer sentiment and ‘lift’. Very squishy, sort-of-grey metrics.
It also relies heavily on perception, psychology, and others to help build and tell your story.
Speaking of stories...it’s all about telling a story. A brand story.
That, to me, is intriguing.
So, now I’m curious. Which is a great place to be.
As usual, when I get curious about something, I dig in. I buy books. I watch videos. I read blogs. I find SMEs (subject matter experts) to follow on Twitter.
The books I’m currently reading are How Brands Become Icons by Douglas B. Holt and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.
Waiting on deck I have Aaker on Branding by David Aaker and Brand Intervention by David Brier. As well as a book on personal branding by Dorie Clark titled Stand Out.
I also plan to go back and re-read several of Bernadette Jiwa’s books on the power of developing and telling our stories as individuals and brands and practice the skills I learned from her in the Akimbo Story Skills Workshop I completed in December 2019.
My hope is to piece it all together and develop my own perspective on branding, brand marketing, and, specifically, becoming aware of and developing our own personal and professional brand.
My career may or may not go down the road of brand marketing or employment branding, but understanding how brands work will only make me better at whatever path I find myself on as I navigate the rest of my life dedicated to helping others get what they want.