“Personal Branding” has been hotly debated recently in my circles. “Do I have a personal brand?” “Does personal branding exist?” “Am I a brand or a person?”
Part of the reason this is discussed so often is that people tend to define a personal brand in terms that don’t mean anything. By using terms for PEOPLE that are used to categorize COMPANIES, people are turned off to the concept or fail to understand the true meaning of the term.
Does personal branding exist? Yes. Do *YOU* have one? Maybe.
Basically, a “personal brand” is what people EXPECT when you come to mind. Period. Some people have this and some people don’t.
A personal brand is achieved through ACTIONS which people come to associate with your name or face. If you never DO anything that people perceive, you do not have a personal brand, IMO. This is because your name doesn’t “ring bells” and doesn’t alter anyone’s perception of a situation when they find out that you’re involved. This does NOT mean that you aren’t important… It merely means people don’t KNOW who you are and/or what you do.
For instance, if you google Emmy Award Editor I’m #1. Actually, I’m #1 AND #2, because the youtube version of the collab I did with Indy Mogul is in the second slot, with 11,240 views. People hit my resume page or my “about” page every single day, so lots of people have associated the name Bill Cammack with quality videotape editorial. This is what they EXPECT when they find out I worked on a project… Quality.
So what about Ian Jenkins?
That’s Ian in the white FLD shirt and headphones. Also pictured are a couple of other NNN friends of mine, J-Rad & Alan Kaufman.
Now… If I had a project I wanted to get done, Ian Jenkins would be one of the top guys I’d want working with me. That’s because I happen to know his work ethic and the skill and dedication he brings to the table. I know this because I’ve spoken to him, I’ve seen his work and I know people that work WITH him. Does he broadcast this himself? No. Not that I know of. Is he crafting a personal brand? Not that I know of. He’s doing what he does. IS “Ian Jenkins” a brand? HELL YES! 😀 That’s because when *I* hear his name, I EXPECT certain things from a project Ian worked on.
So who’s the better editor? Bill Cammack or Ian Jenkins?…. Unfortunately, editing is highly subjective. The only thing that matters is whether the job gets done WELL and ON TIME. So I say NEITHER of us is better as a editor. My personal brand is more recognized, because I spend hours every day working on it and Ian doesn’t give a damn. 🙂 Ian meets deadlines every. single. day. while I play SOCOM. I’m freelance, so I’ve worked for a ton of shows, companies and people for advertising, corporate and broadcast productions. Ian’s a staffer, so he works on one show, and it runs on the internet, but he probably produces 15 videos for every one that I output. Ian shoots video as well. So do I, but I’d rather edit, and Ian’s probably better at shooting, because he does it infinitely more than I do.
My point is… You can’t tell JACK from how well someone uses the internet to publicize themselves. I’m not going to tell you to google Video Editor Resume (I’m #3) to figure out who’s GOOD or who can make it happen. That’s just a list of people that know how to use tags, or even worse, actually PAID PEOPLE to get them better rankings on google. :/ Doesn’t mean they’re any good at what they do AT ALL. Doesn’t mean their name “rings bells” IRL. What matters is what people know or perceive about you, which IS your personal brand, whether you LIKE that or not and whether you EMBRACE that or not.
Regardless of whether you brand YOURSELF, people are going to brand YOU. I started telling people to Google “Bill” (I’m currently #9 of 541,000,000 pages for “Bill”) because I don’t carry business cards, and it’s really the easiest way for people to get in touch with me. Next thing I know, hahaha this is how I’m being introduced to people at parties. 🙂 This wasn’t MY idea, but people get a kick out of that and it spreads from person to person.
Actually… And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this… 😀 Neither my professional accomplishments nor my stellar search engine rankings (e.g. women dating nyc #3) are what most people that I meet “know me for”. It’s always “….. YOU’RE that guy that’s in all those pictures with all those women! :D”.
So, BESIDES not overshadowing your BUSINESS brand with your SOCIAL brand, 🙂 the moral of our story is… Do you have a personal brand? Maybe. It depends first of all on whether you actually DO ANYTHING, and second on whether you’re letting people KNOW that you do these things or whether other people are publicizing you. If people think differently of something because you’re involved with it, that’s your PERSONAL BRAND at work. This does NOT only have to do with business either. We’ll get into that another time. You might have a personal brand when it comes to dating. The fact that you can be trusted in general and your word actually MEANS SOMETHING is potentially part of your personal brand.
There’s also NEGATIVE personal branding, such as when a client refuses to pay you for several months for work you did for them and you’re getting ready to blast their name and company all over the WORLD WIDE WEB for not living up to their agreements EVERY SINGLE DAY until you get satisfaction, which would amount to receiving PAYMENT IN FULL for services rendered. But that’s a story for another day. 😀
So that’s what I think about personal branding. If you’re in the “public” eye (as ‘public’ as our small Echo Chamber gets) brand yourself or other people will do it for you. Whatever opinions come to mind when people hear your name or see your face, that’s YOUR brand. Even if NO opinions come to people’s minds or they’ve never heard of you, that doesn’t matter as long as YOU know what you’re bringing to the table. “The Fame Game” isn’t for everybody. Not everybody CAN do it, not everybody SHOULD do it and not everybody does it WELL.
So.. Does ‘Personal Branding’ exist, or am I talking about vaporware? 😀
What do you think?
In professional productions, broadcast or corporate, there is a deadline. If you miss that deadline, you lose. If you don’t want to miss that deadline, you have to hire someone competent and trusted. People competent and trusted have rates. If you don’t want to pay that rate, you can hire someone else.
Since you have an air-date, there isn’t an infinite amount of time that can be spent on your project. This is another reason to hire a competent editor. You can either have a REALLY GOOD video in 8 hours or an “ok” video in 8 hours. Actually, depending on how much you skimp, you might not have a video AT ALL in 8 hours and miss your deadline.
Quality’s important when you’re doing professional work. This is because the company that hires you cares about its image and its brand. The whole point is to get people to feel like trusting the company with their business based on how they present themselves through media. Because of this, companies tend to go with post houses or editors that they know can and will make them look good, and pay those people accordingly.
Getting involved with video productions on the web is totally different. There’s no revenue stream coming from advertisers down to companies down to producers, shooters and editors. If a company’s going to make videos for the net, they have to be prepared to take a financial loss in return for increased brand recognition or social cred. They will NOT be making their money back via revenue-sharing. Unless they get tons of views, they will NOT be making their money back via sponsorships. They *have* to treat their videos as ADVERTISING and not some vehicle to make money with. They have to weigh their increase in social and business cred against the cost of their videos in order to justify a budget… ANY budget.
This is what makes it tough for professionals to feel like getting involved with the internet video business. Everyone in the space is trying to “make it”. Everyone’s clawing for that next dollar and that next passionate viewer and that next page hit to the point where it’s like a high school play. “Oh… could you run the lights for me?” “Could you dress up like a tree and stand in the background here for an hour?” “Can you pull the string that opens the curtains?” It’s REALLY incredibly unprofessional, but like I said, it needs to be, because these aren’t video production companies… They’re companies that are attempting to UTILIZE video on the net to gain something else. The bottom line is to spend as little as you can to produce videos that get you as many views as you can get that you can turn around and sell to someone that wants to advertise something.
So what you end up with is individuals or groups whose budget is 1/3 of your day rate who want you to get on board with doing a project that you know is going to take you three days. This is where TIME comes back into play. The question you have to ask yourself as a freelancer is “What else could I be doing during the time that I’m spending on this person’s project?”. Let’s see… You could be:
- Doing work at your actual day rate
- Socializing and making new business connections
- Learning new styles and concepts in editing
- Learning about new sites and apps on the web
- Reading what others have to say in their blogs about your chosen field
- Doing Trial & Error testing of new tools and concepts you’ve recently acquired
- Doing follow-up calls & emails on invoices people haven’t paid you for yet
- Posting to your blog or video blog
- Spending time with family & friends
- Enjoying your hobbies & other entertainment
- Living YOUR life
So, basically, the point of the budget is to get the producer, shooter or editor to focus on YOUR project instead of doing ANYTHING ELSE UNDER THE SUN that’s more beneficial or entertaining to him or her. Therefore, the lower your budget is, the less time that person’s willing to apply to your production.
Unfortunately, there’s a baseline to the amount of time that’s necessary for a project, so there’s a baseline to the budget. For instance… If someone gives me a tape that’s an hour long, off the bat, that’s an hour that has to be spent loading the tape onto the drive (less time if it’s coming from a digital source, like an SD card or P2 card). There are only two other ways around this expenditure of money/time. Pay someone else to be a loader and make sure they coordinate with the editor so they know how to load the tapes properly, or DO. IT. YOURSELF. Do it yourself and say to the editor, I have this drive with all the footage on it, and I need you to edit it. Saves you money right off the top.
There’s also a baseline in PLANNING that’s necessary for a video. If you give me a page with clearly marked ins and outs, video and dialogue cues, I can crunch that out in no time. If you give me NOTHING, then you have to pay for all the time it takes me to watch all your footage and make up an entire story in my head that makes you and your company look good. Even if the final product is 30 seconds long, if you gave me three hours of footage from which to select the best 30 seconds…….
Then you have to deal with changes. If the editor you hire isn’t also going to be the EP (Executive Producer), you’re going to have opinions about the video after it’s done. “Change my title”. “Move this part here”. “Take that part out”. “Change the volume”. “I don’t look good here”. This means that MORE time is taken listening to / reading your changes and more time is taken making them and then encoding the file and getting you a review copy. This is why a lot of work is done on a day rate basis instead of a package deal basis. Video is almost entirely SUBJECTIVE and people will tweak and tweak until they run out of time (air-time deadline) or money (budget / agreement). As long as they’re paying for the time they’re taking up (and to the degree that it makes it worthwile to the editor), more power to them.
This is why production companies are now swooping down into the space and creating all these web shows. Their editors are STAFFERS. They get paid REGARDLESS of how many people watch the videos, whether they go viral, whether there’s rev-share advertising on it, whether it has a shelf-life of more than three days. This works for the reasons I stated above. Production companies gain social & business cred from doing QUALITY WORK. Since they pay their editors to DO that work, their ROI is continued and increasing business from clients who want that same level of quality and consistency for their productions.
Is there a solution to this? I don’t think there will be. In fact, it’s not even actually a ‘problem’. Since most people are concerned with hits and viewership and membership, it’s not an issue for them to output GARBAGE and do that for as close to $0.00 as they can. Their reputation is based on how many eyeballs they can attract to sell to advertisers and NOT the quality of the video on their site(s). Nobody’s ever going to ask them to get their team to make a web video for them or a corporate video for them or something to go on broadcast television. Nobody’s going to ask them to work on a film… evAr. As long as the video is the means and not an end, it’s going to remain a high school production, and as long as that translates into hits, views and sales, these web companies are going to be happy.
The only decision here is whether to dress up like that tree and go stand in the background or only entertain video production proposals from individuals and groups with a focus on quality and an understanding of what it takes to make that happen.
I’ve had some really interesting experiences as of late, which all revolve around the question “Who Are You?”. Not the absolutely unknowing question, as in “Who IS that over there?”, but the arrogant question “Who are YOU?”.
Let’s get it straight off the bat. “Who you are” is relative and completely subjective.
Am I an Emmy Award-Winning video editor? Yes I am. Have I been a National *and* International Emmy Awards Judge for several years? Yes I have. Does that have *ANYTHING* to do with how I interact with people? No, it does not.
This is because what I’ve accomplished is NOT “who I am”. Similarly, what other people have NOT accomplished is NOT “who they are”, either. To take that one level further… Not knowing that someone’s accomplished something does not make them NOBODY or INFERIOR. Learning that someone HAS accomplished something doesn’t automatically make them SOMEBODY or SUPERIOR, either.
I touched on this topic peripherally in “Howâ€™s your logo working for you?” when I mentioned meeting Nathan Freitas. To expand… We had just come from a great frisbee game, and a bunch of us headed out to celebrate and socialize afterwards. I had played against Nate, and I thought he did well, and I hadn’t met him before, so I introduced myself to him. He didn’t recognize my name, and I didn’t recognize his, but he knew of ReelSolid.TV, and he and I had actually had text-based interaction way before meeting IRL because he had commented on a video I did about men’s suits. Interestingly enough, even though I knew NOTHING about Cruxy.com at the time, I knew I had a picture with Mike Hudack while he was wearing a Cruxy shirt. Nate immediately and adamantly informed me that I was mistaken, at which time I turned on my camera and produced said picture:
The point that’s relevant to this particular post is that I didn’t go from “nobody” to “somebody” when Nate figured out “who I was”. I went from “a person” to “a person that Nate had heard of, and whose work he had seen”. Same thing with me. For me, Nate went from “a frisbee opponent” to “someone I’ve met who runs a site where artists can upload their work and get paid for it”.
Most people who meet me have no idea “who I am”, and I like it that way. They have no idea that I’m an MIT graduate. They have no idea that I’m DatingGenius.
Brass Rats: Phil, Limor, Bill
I like it that way, because people are REAL when they don’t have a reason to sweat you. I love being “judged” by what people see when they look at me. 😀 I love it when people play themselves, because there’s no returning from that. It’s like “Before you knew who you were talking to, you acted totally differently towards me”.
Anyway… I’ve had several interesting interactions over the last three weeks, revolving around the question “Who are YOU?”
I ended up at this party, and I saw this random chick hanging out with three of my homegirls. Out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to introduce myself to her. What I intended to do was say hello to her and move on to hanging out with my actual friends. So I say “Hi. I’m Bill”, and her response is “You sent me a friends request on Facebook, and I declined it”. HAHAHA So I’m like ?????? because this is a totally new situation for me. Usually, when chicks don’t accept you on Facebook, that’s because they don’t want to talk to you AT ALL, so when they’re around you, they don’t say jack to you. So I’m like “Wait a minute… Let me get this straight. You just informed me that I friended you on Facebook so you could tell me that you didn’t accept it? :D” and she’s like “Yeah… Who the hell are YOU?”
So, this was really funny, considering that I have over 500 Facebook contacts and over 280 Linkedin contacts and over 650 Twitter contacts and over 600 MySpace contacts, not to mention people that know “who I am” all over the planet, from Hawaii to the U.K. to Tokyo to The Netherlands to California to NYC. Meanwhile, I introduced myself to this chick “cold”, not recognizing her face or body from anywhere, and not recognizing her as someone that I sent a Facebook friends invite to. In the future, when I figured out “who she was”, I realized that I had friended her because I saw that we had 17 mutual friends. There was nothing interesting or appealing about her. Similar to what happened IRL, I was extending the hand of friendship to someone who was friends with friends of mine.
So I found the question “Who the hell are YOU?” to be ridiculous, because it was as if she was requesting for me to audition to be her Facebook friend when I didn’t give a damn about her in the first place. It was like *I* had something to gain from it. Meanwhile, I could have ignored her completely and interacted with my actual friends and my day would have been exactly the same, except for a funny story to tell about how people get souped up and think they’re worth knowing for some odd reason. 🙂
Another interesting reaction I got recently was at a party. At some point, I took a picture with some chick that I had met that night. About 22 hours after I posted the picture to my flickr stream, I got an email from her with some sob story about the reason why she was asking me to take it down. I didn’t believe a word she said, but I gladly made it private, because every picture I take and post is with people that want to take pictures with me. Just the fact that she was asking me to remove it was grounds for removal. The question here is… Why the hell are you taking pictures with people and not expecting those pictures to arrive on the net? The only uneducated guess I can come up with is that because she had never seen me before, she didn’t figure that a picture she took with me would end up anywhere of note. According to her sob story, she didn’t want certain people to see her partying. The question becomes a) Why were you partying in the first place, and b) Why were you taking pictures with people if you didn’t want to be spotted partying?
Last week, I approached this chick who’s active in social media and is always asking her ‘fans’ for things. When she sends out mass emails, she’s all friendly and acting like she knows who it is that she’s interacting with and cares about them. However, when I arrived, not only was she completely disinterested in who I might be, but she failed to even state what her name was. I didn’t bother asking her because I already knew her name and what she does. I found it funny how someone could be such a beggar in social media, yet totally didn’t promote herself IRL. What sense does it make to make contacts with people via computer and then alienate them in person?
OTOH… There are lots of people that I met during PodCampNYC or at various Twitter Meetups or Meetup Meetups that are either AS GENUINE as they appear online or even MORE SO. 😀 A lot of what we experience of people on the net is merely the characters they’re portraying in their “shows”. When the cameras aren’t rolling, and it’s down to one-on-one communication and interaction, that’s where people really shine or they don’t. That’s where you get to see how people act when there’s nothing in it for them. No audience. No revenue-sharing. No business deals. Just you and them. Person to Person. Face to Face. What’s it like for you to be around them? What’s it like for them to be around you?
Ultimately, the question “Who are you?” is unimportant. What’s important is how you carry yourself and interact with others. On the spur of the moment, when you meet someone, how do you react to them? How do you interact with them? Do you act differently based on their accomplishments or who they know? Can you have a good time with people that are willing to have a good time with you? What’s the threshold above which you’re willing to interact with someone standing next to you? Someone that sends you a social media ‘friends request’? Someone that’s a friend of a friend of yours, but you haven’t had personal contact with yet?
Is social media merely a networking tool for you, or are you looking to enrich your life by meeting interesting and intelligent people and cultivating relationships with them?
Screening 2007 International Emmy Award DVDs
NATAS + MySpace = 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards
LOS ANGELES â€“ January 8, 2007 â€“ MySpace, the worldâ€™s leading lifestyle portal, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, presenters of the coveted EmmyÂ® Awards, today announced they have joined forces to honor premium broadband content on the Internet. MySpace will serve as the exclusive online partner of the Broadband Emmy Award submissions, empowering video producers and filmmakers to submit self-generated content for consideration through the official MySpace Emmy profile at http://myspace.com/MyEmmy.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences debuted its first Emmy Award for content distributed via broadband and portable delivery last year and honored creators in four categories. This year, The Academy will triple the number, honoring creators in 12 categories in four content areas: Entertainment, Sports, News & Information, and Public & Community Service. In addition, high school students are eligible for the National Television Student Awards for Excellence for broadband-delivered content in all seven student categories. Read entire NTA press release…
Now THIS is going to be interesting. 😀
[Full Disclosure: I am a NATAS Emmy Judge as well as an International Emmy Judge]
There are several ongoing debates within the community of people and groups who make videos and post their created content on the Internet. One of them is “what is and what is _not_ a video blog”. There’s another debate about videos posted in “closed” environments vs those posted in ways that make them accessible to whomever happens to be searching the net for video content. A MAJOR debate is what aggregators should and should not be doing with RSS feeds from either content creators or hosting sites.
Yet another daily debate is “what is QUALITY content?” or perhaps “what makes a show popular” or “what makes a show _good_”. The problem, IMO, with making distinctions about what constitutes a popular show is that depending on where you look and how you look at it, shows that get similar amounts of hits can be spun to look like either one is more “successful”. There is no agreed-upon site that can actually track site date consistently and accurately.
This makes sense, because there’s no bottleneck… Meda that goes to the internet goes straight out. It doesn’t have to go through EPs, producers, editors, quality control, legal, studios, stations, channels, local distribution points, cable boxes, televisions. There’s nowhere you can go and say “this show delivered 80,000 units through here and that show delivered 50,000 units, so the first show has more viewership for this period.
On top of that, there are several ways to get data from a site. If someone goes to my web site, they might view a page and then not view the video. They might open the page but not read anything on it at all. They might bypass the main page because they linked to a permalink for one post. They might not hit my site’s pages at all if they subscribe to my videos in RSS. They might not hit the RSS more than once if they are downloading the videos and watching them offline. So… if one site uses page hits to judge popularity and another site uses video downloads, they’re going to see things completely differently, even looking at the exact same site. If you have to have a particular widget installed to count in the rankings, you can forget it entirely as far as accuracy. Anyone who hits the site without being “part of the program” doesn’t count in the stats.
Anyway, I doubt the 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards will have anything to do with page hits and downloads. The Emmys in general are about quality content and quality production values. That’s what makes this contest interesting. MSM (Main Stream Media) is now getting involved in putting clips on the internet in mass quantities. All of a sudden, there are videos on MySpace with laugh-tracks. :/ All of a sudden, a “new” show appears with 30 episodes uploaded on the same day! :/ Reading the eligibility requirements for the MySpace contest, “Repurposed material originally produced for traditional media is not eligible”. That’s good, because cutting three minutes out of a professionally produced, shot and edited piece shouldn’t put you in position to compete with someone that made their video specifically for the internet. That doesn’t mean the internet piece isn’t well done or professionally produced, but it’s apples vs. oranges.
The first category open for submissions is “Entertainment”. It’s open right now, and “News & Documentary” opens on Feb. 26th. They both close on March 26, and finalists will be notified in April.
As usual, make sure you read the fine print in contests or even when you choose a hosting service to upload your videos to. Check out these terms of service in The Rules of the MySpace My Emmy contest:
By entering the Contest, you grant Sponsors a perpetual, fully-paid, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, display, sub-license, exhibit, transmit, broadcast, televise, digitize, otherwise use, and permit others to use and perform throughout the universe the Material (including without limitation, the underlying intellectual property therein to the extent necessary to exploit Material) in any manner, form, or format now or hereinafter created, including, but not limited to, on the Internet, and for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising or promotion of Sponsors and their services, all without further consent from or payment to you. The completion, expiration and/or termination of the Contest shall not affect Sponsors’ rights regarding Materials or Sponsors’ other rights hereunder. Sponsors shall have, forever and throughout the universe, the right to use such Material in any manner as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, including without limitation, the right to make changes, alterations, cuts, edits, interpolations, deletions and eliminations into and from such Material and the right to package such Material with those rendered by other Entrants in connection with the exploitation of such Material, all without further consent from or payment to you.
That’s fantastic! Look how progressive those terms are! Throughout the universe! 😀 Wow! They must know something we don’t know about pending space travel. Anyway… here’s the link to the Broadband Rules from MyEmmy.TV. If you’re willing to pay the $400 entry fee, you can skip all the TOS shenanigans and soul-selling.
The MyEmmy.TV page also includes the Judging Procedures & Criteria:
JUDGING PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA:
Content, Creativity and Execution are the primary standards for judging. Each criterion is given equal weight.
Judges will focus on the clarity of presentation of information, as well as the visual impact of the entry. Judges can also give weight to the entrantâ€™s utilization of â€œbroadbandâ€ capabilities, (e.g., interactivity, and viewersâ€™ choice of images). Although any entry originally produced for â€œbroadbandâ€ transmission is eligible to compete, the more the webâ€™s capabilities are demonstrated in the production, the better the chances may be for winning.
Advocacy and presentation of strong points of view are eligible for award consideration. â€œSelf-publishedâ€ work by individuals as well as production entities is also eligible for consideration.
All â€œBroadbandâ€ entries/URLs will be viewed at home and judged in one round to determine the nominees and winner. Judging panels will consist of content experts rather than technicians. There will be separate panels for each category, although there may be an overlap with some judges serving on more than one panel. Judges vote via secret ballot using a scale of 10 for the highest and 1 for the lowest rating in each area (Content, Creativity, and Execution), for a total of 30 possible points.
OK… So I see what’s going on now. 🙂 Myspace is holding a contest in which the winners will be sponsored to the official Emmy competition. There are going to be two levels of judging. You can skip one level altogether by paying the entry fee and going straight to http://www.myemmy.tv/ . If my understanding after skimming the official entry rules is correct, as long as you made your content specifically for the internet, any level of professional involvement, time or money spent on the project is fine.
I’ll be interested to see what MySpace promotes to entrance in the actual Broadband Emmy Awards. Let’s see if any of the “mom & pop” user-generated content gets the nod over studio-produced work. I’ll refrain from mentioning any shows that I think could compete favorably… VERY favorably in the competition, just in case my region is involved in the judging and asks me to participate.
Either way, I think both the MySpace contest and the official Broadband Emmy Awards are fantastic ways for content creators to gain exposure and/or accolades. It’s definitely worth considering entering… whether it’s a video that was already done (since March 2nd, 2006) or one that you’re planning up until April 2007.
Bill Cammack â€¢ New York City â€¢ Freelance Video Editor â€¢ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack