Today, I spoke with John Antonios, John is a marketeer by profession and by passion. After several years of experience in brand management, he decided to finally launch his own marketing consulting company. John’s experience has taught him a great deal about people, brands, management, & trust which are clearly reflected in his professional blog. Passionate about Social Media, he decided to pursue further studies and readings within the field. Now he focuses on building brands (be it corporate or personal) via social media.
Mohammed: Branding for INDIVIDUAL or COMPANY? Where to start on the branding? On oneself (particularly if you have credibility from your profession, such as a Doctor) or on ones company name? Can you do both or does that detract from the little bit of social media mileage that can be created at the start?
John: I will have to favor individual/personal branding over company branding. Each of us has their own unique brand – their own set of values. Personal branding is all about communicating your brand, in other words delivering on your promise of value. Personal Branding is not only catered to those with currently established credibility; in fact, each one of us should promote their PB, their DNA – students, employees, employers, tycoons, rich, poor, young, old … After 10 years of employment, I recently decided to start my own marketing consultancy – my number one objective was not to promote my newly established company, but to build my personal brand and establish a certain level of trust and credibility. This in turn, helped me sell my services, because i had earned the right to do so – i was part of that circle of trust! Only now can i start promoting my business!
I am one with my brand! My work has to reflect my brand! My company has to reflect my brand values! credibility & synergy go hand in hand when it comes to successful branding!
Mohammed: Companies are spending fortunes every year on marketing, advertising and PR to establish and promote their brands, few of them becomes WOM, what do you think are the main reasons?
John: Establishing Word-of-Mouth (WOM) fame is not a direct result of the marketing activities – the latter are simply communication vehicles. WOM is about earned attention – be it negative or positive! So how do you earn people’s attention? In my humble opinion, this is the question companies need to be asking themselves prior to spending exuberant amounts on useless media. With so much competition out there, how does a brand stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in the perceived value! Bombarded by millions of marketing messages on a daily basis, people don’t really have time to talk about all of them, they will only relay information that they deem as valuable.
I would also like to note that doing everything is not that same as doing the right thing – so engaging in all sorts of media vehicles to promote your product/service does not guarantee WOM status, it can actually back fire! It’s not an off-the-shelf solution that you can buy, a successful marketing strategy requires a thorough understanding of the brand and the intended participants!
Mohammed: In What Are They “Not” Teaching You?, you offered students, professors, and colleges a proposal to develop a 3-course module that gives an overall roundup of social media. How do you think adapting such as modules will change the eduction? and do you think everyone is forced to be Gen Y soon?
John: Thanks for asking this question Mohammed. I think social media is no longer an option. More and more attention is going towards online activities versus traditional media. In regions like North America, Autralia, and Europe, where the internet penetration rate is over 76%, 60%, and 53% respectively, i think it would be unwise not to consider the Internet and more specifically Social Media as a main axes of communication. Therefore, being educated about social media is vital for the success of the new managers in the making. I would like to stress that this course suggestion is not intended for marketing students only, i am recommending it as a core module in any major and that is because each one of us, as relayed in my answer to your first question, has a personal brand, and social media is a great tool to communicate it.
I want to stress on something Mohammed, to avoid being misinterpreted, I’m not saying that social media is a magic pill that solves everything – but i am certainly saying that is an indispensable one! I think 1.8 billion already are, that’s roughly around 27% of the world – i think it’s only a matter of time!
Brand Word: My parting words to all your readers Mohammed are in fact from a post I wrote re Personal Branding – dare to be different, don’t plagiarize your identity! Don’t succumb to the reality that was imposed on you by your society/company/family, create your own! Find your DNA – mine is Passionate, Creative, & Dedicated – what does your say!
Spotlight: If you would allow me Mohammed, I would like to use this opportunity to simply thank you for the great work you’re doing. Your Personal Brand is one to admire and I hope your readers understand the importance of your work.
I’m always reading something new, but i would highly recommend that for those of you who haven’t do so yet, pick up a copy of the following books: Linchpin by Seth Godin and Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk and let them inspire you on unleashing your personal brand!