Brand Yourself, But Don’t Be A Dweeb

By Matt Kempner
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Coke promises happiness. Home Depot pledges savings and doing. Delta Air Lines aims to “Keep climbing,” which I guess means it’s making flying less sucky.

So what are you offering?

Regular people are increasingly racing to personally brand ourselves online so we can get a job, a promotion, investors or a date. Feel free to put some of the blame on Twitter, search algorithms and economic globalization.

But no matter where the fault lies, we’re under pressure to figure out what we stand for and condense it into a few telling words that will fit in a Twitter profile, Instagram summary or other social extension. The result is a bumper crop of people proclaiming themselves to be quite glorious business beings, from “thought leaders” to “futurists.”

The potential for being a dweeb is immense. (More about my Twitter profile later.)

There’s money to be made from the resulting angst. An Atlanta startup recently launched to help law firms, consulting companies and others make sure their high-priced partners and employees have built meaningful online personas that bring in more business. The startup, called Kredible, encourages using words and images rigorously tested for clients’ specific industries.

You may be thinking, ‘But they spell their own name wrong.’ Fair comment, but Brad Shepard, the 40-year-old chief executive, said his 26-person team has already nabbed five of the world’s top 20 law firms as clients and two of the 10 largest professional consulting firms, plus Fortune 100 companies.

Trying to win a contract as outside counsel for a major company? Don’t bother including quirky personal interests in your social media profiles.

Kredible’s research shows company general counsels don’t care about that human stuff, at least when it comes to picking outside counsel, Shepard says.

Looking to help your professional services firm land some work? Use personal photos that are full-face, in color, fully framed, plain background, showing you with just a slight smile, direct eye-contact and wearing a professional blouse or an open collar shirt and a sport coat.

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