Expert Interview with Antoinette M. Johnson About Personal Branding

By Cheryl Morgan

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HIRING A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER?

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Personal brandingPhiladelphia branding agency At Media is a go-to place for those interested in expanding a personal brand.

In this interview, Antoinette M. Johnson, CEO of At Media, shares stories and information regarding the way social media plays a large role in the world of hiring and personal branding. Read on:
 

In what way does building an individual brand benefit a person?

Personal branding is key to your company's success. As Inc.com explained in a recent article about thought leadership marketing, the founders of startups are becoming just about as visible as the companies they create.

Think about how valuable traditional press is - if you're featured in an article or on a news segment, your brand's traffic usually goes off the charts. Creating a thought leadership role for yourself online - consistent with your blogs, your story and delivered on your social media channels - creates a presence for yourself even more powerful than traditional media because it's searchable.

Even Google prioritizes your leadership online and will notice you are an expert in your area and push you to the top of their results. Read my blog on Google Authorship to learn how.
 

What are key elements to branding yourself that you recommend for those in the job market?

I've been hiring now for two years, for interns, entry level and leadership level positions. I have been introduced to some of the most powerful relationships in my life via Twitter.

The most common mistakes people make are not approaching the job market as a "selling yourself as a brand" opportunity. More than ever companies are recognizing that a candidate with a personal brand that aligns with their organization is far more valuable than just a regular person. Put them side by side with the same credentials, the person who is regularly active on social media and has a professional presence will win.

Consider these basics to start off branding yourself in the job market:

1. Nail your 30-second elevator pitch and make it a STORY of why you are applying to that company.

2. Brand your personal accounts for professional job hunting - the profile images, the people you follow and interact with should all be connected to this effort.

3. Hunt down the companies you want to work for and go to their events, meet their leadership team. Follow up via email or Twitter. You WILL land the interview this way.
 

For organizations, businesses and brands - how important is it to communicate a brand message or theme?

The most unsuccessful short films, books or songs are ones that don't have a clear message. If you can't figure out what they are trying to say to you, then you tune out! This is so true for brands. And it's the most basic way to consider what the importance of messaging is.

People get overwhelmed with not understanding how a "brand" can have a message. Well, start with the lowest-hanging fruit - which of your brand touch-points need improvement? Can you review their messaging and decide on some ways to enhance the copy and have it connect to your brand's core values, story and mission?

But for more seasoned branding folks, the theme of a brand is the brand narrative. For instance, we are designing a restaurant brand for a client, and we came up with a story about the name of the place, how it connected to the icons on the menu, the theme of the food, some of the fun copy on the menu, the lighting and sounds in the space. All of it connects, giving the consumer a fun way to interact with the place and a feeling that they "get it."
 

How important is a blog in today's world for communicating messages, ideas, brands, etc.?

Most businesses can greatly benefit from a content marketing plan and blog since all search engines prioritize companies that are active online with a regularly updated website and social media accounts. If you are seeking any traffic to your website or any opportunities in the press, you must be considering these avenues.
 

Tell us about how social media helps build relationships.

Melissa Alam, founder of the Hive, Philadelphia's first female co-working space, asked me to be her mentor on Twitter. We met up for coffee, connected for a few months over her ideas for business, and then I became her landlord at the Hive, approving her lease to open shop!

This is an example of many, many relationships that have started on social media. Recently we were invited to pitch a huge summer ad campaign to a very influential organization in Philadelphia whose mission aligns exactly with ours. Guess where we got that invitation from - Twitter!
 

In what ways does At Media help those in the job market to better market themselves?

At Media helps aspiring branding students and professionals by offering advice on our website, hosting events and workshops in our new office in Center City Philadelphia, and through our bi-annual internship program.

We take pride in engaging the audience of what we call "future radicals" who don't create solely for themselves, but to make a real and lasting impact on the world around them. They are free to be passionate about the brands they interact with and serve, and take it into their own hands to do work that is, first and foremost, intrinsically rewarding.

These people will be future clients, employees and partners of At Media, so we owe it to them to help them in their journey, too.

Follow At Media on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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