Want to See a Bunch of Librarians Have a Total Freak Out? Talk About Branding.

At least, that was my experience on February 18th when @SLAhq had it’s monthly #SLAtalk Twitter chat session. However, I’ve been to this rodeo before, folks. I know how some in the LIS community get all worked up over this topic. For reasons that I don’t understand, things like self-promotion, marketing, branding and just establishing yourself in a promotional way seems to be a divisive topic among librarians and information professionals. At least, that’s what the passive-aggressive, or in some cases outright aggressive, Tweets showed during this chat. Here are my retorts, to no one in particular, that I have been stewing about ever since that last Twitter chat.

Why Personal Branding Matters in a Professional Environment (especially for LIS professionals)
“Personal branding helps lay the foundation for your future success – whatever direction that might take.” No matter what library or information professional environment you’re in, you should want to succeed and strive to be your professional best. Being a librarian isn’t akin to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice – there are no lifetime appointments. If you think or believe that, then you are operating on an antiquated definition of this profession and you really just need to join me in 2015. What’s better job security than being the person that everyone thinks of when they have a question or a problem that needs to be solved? You want your name to be the first that comes to mind. You achieve that by not only being exceptional at your job, but by promoting yourself within your company/library/law firm/wherever you work. Read more in this article, “The Definitive Guide to Building Your Personal Brand.”

“A brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon. If you as an LIS professional are up for either an award, a promotion or even job layoffs, your brand can be the difference between you winning and losing or even keeping your job. Fine, if you don’t like the word “brand” or “branding” think of it as professional reputation. What do you want to be known for? How do you want your peers or superiors to think of you professionally? Guess what, kids, this is a type of branding. You want to be known as, say, a competitive intelligence guru at  your workplace? Remind people of that in an elevator pitch. “Hi, Janet, I know you work a lot with pharmaceutical patents. I’ve been seeing a lot of tech gossip online that might affect that industry. I’ll send you over a few things, let me know if you want to see more. Have a great day!” Boom. You’ve just reminded someone about what your skills are and then provided a sample of your work to them. That, my friends, is a form of branding that LIS professionals need to embrace and excel at if you want to be competitive with other professionals in the workplace. Read more here, “5 Steps to Building a Professional Brand (and Why You Need One)”

See what all the hubbub was during the February #SLAtalk Twitter chat. February 18th #SLAtalk: Building Your Brand and Roundup (Storify)

Then, join me on March 25th at 4:00 pm EDT when we talk about another topic that some LIS professionals love to loathe – networking!

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