On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Branding: 23 Things

A few months ago I began to consider how best to present an  ePortfolio, establish an image, and begin to promote myself within my profession. This week’s 23 Things for Professional Development (http://cpd23.blogspot.com/) task centers around creating a personal/professional identity, self-branding, and unifying all my social networking and professional materials under a consistent brand. I have been reflecting on my progress to connect my professional materials, social networking, virtual and physical identity while exploring this week’s goal within the context of developing greater transliteracy competencies.

I had purchased a domain name over a year ago after much research and consideration about what that would look like, what the site was going to communicate, and who might be the audience for my ePortfolio. I took my cue from a fellow librarian and contacted Netfirms for both my URL and my WordPress subscription. I had to learn the langauge of domain naming, web-hosting, and blogging. Tapping into transliteracy, I mapped the possible social media and software options, information development and delivery, media and digital facets, and the visual components of a brand, the blog, and my ePortfolio. Throughout each stage of research I was improving my transliteracy competencies. The work is ongoing, my proficienies improving every day, and the outcomes of my journey to brand, inform, and learn are adapting to every improvement.

After working in academic libraries for two years I reviewed the materials I designed and realised I had created a solid foundation of terrific material, contributed positively and passionately to my profession, and developed a high degree of proficiency across several competencies to warrant launching an ePortfolio. I chose to label my portfolio simply by using my own name followed by the term “librarian”.  The look and feel of the web page is clean, crisp, professional, and uncluttered.  Take a look at it – (http://juliekent.ca/)  .  A current photo of me offers visitors a level of personal connection with the person behind the materials presented.  I know I must keep that photo current and have even thought to contract a professional photographer for the task.

Connecting the online look to my everyday professional look was a tad more challenging.  Thinking about the circumstances where I would reinforce my professional look helped to determine what my next steps would be.  As my contract at Red Deer College was coming to an end, I would be attending conferences and workshops.  It seemed obvious that a personalized and professional business card needed to be designed.  Though I have an eye for and deep understanding of marketing and branding design principles I know not to try to create such pieces.  But with whom could I work to create a brand?   I found the talented Laura Zielke right here in Red Deer.  Her design company Z Design (http://www.zdesign.ca/) provides consultation, design, and production of business cards, branding, logos, and more.  She examined my ePortfolio and designed a fantastic visual connecting my virtual presence with business cards and other promotion materials.

Including a QR code that launches my online portfolio was an easy decision.  At a conference recently where I handed out my cards, I noticed persons with Smart phones immediately using them to read the QR code and launch the web version of my ePortfolio.  Perfect!

The next steps to establish and entrench this professional brand include:

  • Incorporating the colours and patterns into more areas on my  ePortfolio
  • Producing electronic and paper letterhead
  • Linking this design and colour to my Twitter

I am convinced that establishing myself as an expert within my professional is paramount to my success in librarianship.  I must celebrate my ever increasing transliteracy proficiencies by marketing myself and establishing a professional brand so when my colleagues spot that brand they immediately recognise that the information they are about to read is thought provoking, reliable, relevant, and a valuable contribution to our profession.

One comment on “Branding: 23 Things

  1. Variegated Stacks

    Awesome Julie. This post is excellent as it gives the reader sound advise on specific steps to take to ensure building a successful brand. Yes, creating a brand is step one, but maintaining it is more challenging. Thank you for articulating the importance for information professionals to market themselves and demonstrate their importance in the librarianship field. I look forward to reading your future posts in the CPD23 Challenge.

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