Sunday, February 7, 2010

Personal Branding - To Video or Not to Video

Over a year ago now I threw this video up on YouTube to prove I had a sense of humor. It's a silly video. I did it to offset the feedback on my other videos that I look way too serious. Some just misinterpreted it as a demonstration of my skills with a felt marker.

 Video is becoming a big part of personal branding.  Having watched the evolution that's going on, here are some thoughts:

1) The personal brand video revolution is going to accelerate. It's not quite main stream yet but it will be. From resumes to blogs, vlogs and websites, people on video is going to be everywhere. Check out this video clip that can be inserted into a Twitter profile. The rationale is simple: to personalize content. It's not just Jim's thoughts - it's Jim.

2) Not everyone is going to embrace the move to video. The biggest concern is privacy. It's a big leap to go from content-only to video. Especially for women, just having a profile picture is cause for concern. Taking that to video is very scary.

3) Video adds a whole new dimension to on-line personal branding - appearance. Now, instead of being judged simply on experience, expertise, content and thinking, be prepared to be judged -and judged instantly - on LOOKS. While individual appearance may in many cases enhance other content (isn't that the point?), adding video WILL DILUTE everything else, at least at the first impression stage.

4) Video production is important...and confusing. Up until now at least, the web has put a premium on 'genuine' vs. 'produced'. Video that is professionally shot and edited hasn't necessarily been viewed as being real, and therefore tended to be viewed as a somewhat negative branding technique. However, with services springing up everywhere to produce personal on-line videos it's not clear there won't be growing acceptance of better produced content.

5) Content is still king. The purpose of most personal video is simple - put a face to the name. So, talking for 5 minutes about resume details is boring and unnecessary - there are better ways to do that. However, video is perfectly suited for other tasks - like demonstrating a skill, or a personality trait, or credibility. There are 1000's of YouTube (and Google) videos of pros presenting their material in various settings. That's effective.

6) Smart personal marketers are and will continue to evolve the art of personal video to create personal competitive advantage. That's going to put pressure on all the rest of us to figure out where we stand and what role personal video plays in our marketing mix.

I don't believe it's much of a stretch to suggest that within less than 2 years, all resumes will include personal videos. And 'Extreme Makeover - Personal Branding Edition' will be a huge hit.

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