The Economist Intelligent Life Cover Story: The Big Sell

Me 2.0Personal Branding

I typically don’t promote any press I’ve received through blog posts, but this cover story in the Economist Intelligent Life Magazine is an exception.  I’m very excited about it and am glad that the European market is interested in personal branding and social media.  Intelligent Life is a quarterly magazine, produced by The Economist (sister publication), and is on sale widely throughout Britain and Europe, and in selected outlets elsewhere.  If you know me then some of what’s written about me will be quite humorous, but I think they got the major points about personal branding across here.

Here is an excerpt:

The Big Sell

Read the full story at Economist Intelligent Life.

Dan Schawbel is instantly “on.”  He’s so on, he’s practically in vertical take-off.  Over the telephone from Boston, the 25-year-old “leading personal-branding expert for Gen Y” gets straight down to telling me how to “manage my online presence,” and how that will help me win in today’s tough job market.  It is, he says, all about getting your definitive statement -your unique claim- to the top of your personal Google search result, then taking it from there, out onto New Media platforms, full-motion video and social networking sites, Twitter LinkedIn, Google Alert.  “Everyone’s online,” Dan says.  “Everyone’s visible.”

economist life

Dan is highly visible; photos and video clips road-block his site.  His look is almost retro-geek, not so much Silicon Valley Guy as 1970s Corporate.  Sensible trousers and shoes, sensible haircut.  Could be thirty-something.  Visibility, he says, is the key to success.  You’ve got to manage your brand,” he demands.  “You have to claim your domain name.  Then you have your personal brand statement, connecting your name with your positioning again and again, to drive people to you.  You want to own your topic everywhere, cross-linking between all your social sites.  And you have to keep on pushing out content relating to your topic.  It’s a marketing machine.”

Dan has written a book, “Me 2.0,” chock-full of this sort of content-free breathless injunction.  It starts of course, with his own story: an introverted straight-A student who didn’t network very well in the real world, he used the new, online toolkit to “get profile” in the old media world and as a result is interviewed everywhere: ABC television and Fast Company and a raft of marketing trade-mags – he plays it all back proudly, almost artlessly.  I ask him how he thinks all this might work in other, un-American places.  Europe, for instance, where cultural attitudes are different.  There’s a long silence.  He hasn’t been to Europe.