Dan Schawbel, Founder of Millennial BrandingRachel Herskovitz | September 6th, 2011
1. How did you become a branding expert?The Internet was picking up when I was in middle school and I started creating websites around my various hobbies like wrestling and James Bond. I took these programming and design skills with me to high school, where I landed a sales internship my senior year doing sales. I didn’t sell anything, but I learned a lot, especially that I wanted to look at creative/marketing in college. In order to get into Bentley, I did whatever it took to sell myself and got in. I worked as hard as I could transforming myself from a B student to an A student, holding eight internships, seven leadership positions, worked for a consulting firm, built websites; overall I made myself stand out. I had a never give up attitude.Everything clicked for me when a hiring manager at EMC Corporation saw “Reebok” on my resume and hired me strictly from this association. I realized the power of branding right there- having Reebok on my resume gave me credibility.During my time at EMC, I began a branding blog in August 1997, which combined technology with personal branding. I wrote 10-12 posts per week and began writing articles for AMA, Brandweek, About.com which led to Personal Brand Magazine (and Donald Trump on the first cover)!Ten years from the date of the Personal Brand Magazine, EMC gave me a promotion, and I promoted Me 2.0 in April 2009.
2) Do you believe big brands matter?Brands matter, they just do! If you don’t know who I am, you can look at the other brands around me that you trust and build a connection from that. If you can graduate and get a job at a big company, it is a huge deal for the jobs after that. Build your brand by associations, which are why smaller companies want to partner with larger companies; press releases will get traction because of the larger brand and you get that by association.
3) How should the graduating class approach getting a job?The most important things to do is have a never give up attitude, be specific, and give 500%. Create your own marketing plan through the available technologies: LinkedIn profile, website, etc. and pour everything into getting to the door. According to research, a lot of young people want a meaningful job rather than a paycheck. So if you can identify the few companies and jobs you would want to work for, my advice is to pour everything you’ve got into focusing on those opportunities; quality not quantity.
4) Is having a brand for everyone?Marketing services need to have a brand, so lawyers, doctors, consultants; financial advisors benefit the most from developing their own brand. To create an authentic brand, one should identify the long-term goals and stay true to their personality.
5) What are the five tips to create your own brand? The first is to be the real you because everyone else is taken and replicas don’t sell for as much. Second, everyone in the world should have their own website and it should be their name.com. This should hold your information, projects, endorsements, and resume. Third, you should safeguard your reputation by setting up Google alerts, twitter alerts, etc. to understand the perception of you on the Internet. Fourth, you have to stay active by reading to stay relevant as the world is changing so rapidly. And lastly, you have to treat your life as a networking event.
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