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Armano posted an interesting article today over at Advertising Age about online personal brand presence in which he offers the following 3 guidelines for creating an online profile:
1) Engage in Personal Publishing
2) Be Your Own Agent
3) Be Authentic
Sound advice from the cowboy-hat wearing Twitterer (the man’s got personal branding down cold!). But I would like to offer something to the mix on this topic that I have been thinking a good deal about lately, that of creating what I call a Brand Periphery Profile.
Now in order to define this term, I must begin by talking about its opposite, which I don’t actually have a name for but logically would be defined as your Brand’s Nuclear Profile. This is essentially the online profile that appears when someone types your name into a search engine. This is what Armano is speaking of in his article and, as he wisely advises, it should be kept on as tight or loose a leash as you deem appropriate to your public identity while still always remaining as authentic as possible.
Your Brand Periphery on the other hand is created in the echoes of what you are talking about or linking to online. It is not what shows up when someone googles your name but where you show up when someone is googling something seemingly unconnected to you. For example a search for “gonzo logo design” finds my site in the top 3 as a result of both an authentic and quite calculated association on my part with the good doctor HST and my pursuit of Great Counterculture Logos. Similarly, I take guilty pleasure in the fact that I rank number one for the search string “A new violent conception of life”, a phrase derived from the manifesto of an Italian anarchist group who poured red dye into Rome’s Trevi Fountain. It is really just creative SEO but in reaching out and connecting to these external personas and images and language, you are also pulling these elements into your Brand’s Periphery and in turn, making them a part of who you are online.
Take it a step further and this can become a relevant strategy for small companies as well. Coudal.com for example has aligned themselves with film director Stanley Kubrick, dedicating an entire category of their blog to him alongside the more general topics of Art, Architecture, Film etc. That their interest and passion toward the man and his work is genuine is without question; but in creating this connection, by placing Kubrick into the Coudal brand’s Periphery, they are harnessing the qualities associated with Stanley Kubrick — passion, focus, vision — for their own brand identity (and rightly so I might add).
Of course all of this is seemingly small potatoes in light of what large corporations have been doing for years with celebrity endorsements and lifestyle advertising. But it offers the little guy a similar opportunity and, if done authentically, should come about as a natural side effect of sharing what you are legitimately interested in.
So then, the question becomes “what strange far off corner of the internets do you want to be found?”