I’m happy to announce the official launch of NealSchaffer.com, which is replacing my previous Maximize Your Social website, which I launched after publishing a book of the same name. For those who followed me over the years, this is my 2nd brand change, as before Maximize Your Social I was known as Windmill Networking.
Why did I change from Maximize Your Social to a boring brand of my name?
When I began as a blogger back in 2008, I had no idea that I would leave the world of Asian Business and B2B Sales and Business Development and become who I am today. It was in 2009, when I decided to turn my blogging articles into the book that would become Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn, that I felt that I needed to create a brand that would be bigger than my singular entity as an individual person. That brand became Windmill Networking.
After launching my social media strategy consulting company as well as becoming a well known social media speaker, it was time to rebrand myself because I was not about “networking” but about social media strategy for business. The creation and publishing of Maximize Your Social gave me a great opportunity to rebrand myself in the work that I was most proud of and best represented my business at the moment.
So what has changed in the last 4 years since the publication of Maximize Your Social?
Whether I am working as a social media strategy consultant, a social media speaker, or representing my new social media agency PDCA Social, I realized that people from businesses that reached out to me wanted to do business with me, not with Maximize Your Social.
At the end of the day, it’s not about businesses doing business with other businesses but people inside businesses doing business with people inside other businesses.
I learned about this early on in my career doing enterprise B2B sales (and I have an exciting announcement about a new Social Selling educational initiative I am part of coming soon!).
What I have come to learn is that the best way to humanize your brand is simply to be your brand – and there is nothing more humanizing than using your name to represent who you are and what you do.
Another thing I realized recently, after managing influencer marketing campaigns on behalf of my social media agency clients, is that influencers truly have the best brands that they have been able to monetize. Go to the website of an influencer in a given industry and you will see that they connect with us as people and it is clear what they do, what expertise they have, and how they can help you as a business. I was missing this, as my entities were spread far and wide, from my social media agency, to my Social Media Center of Excellence community to my Maximize Social Business social media blog. The re-branding allows me to bring all of these digital entities into one.
Finally, as I am often asked for quotes and publish content regularly on other blogs, the re-branded site gives me a chance to consolidate my podcast, my content on Maximize Social Business, as well as content I publish on other websites into a singular online presence.
What can you learn from this? Once you decide on a brand it’s hard to re-brand without creating confusion in the marketplace.
I have come to the conclusion that the best brand you can be is yourself.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a business website and leverage that as well – my situation is unique as a speaker and author, and I, too, have a business website in PDCA Social that I am looking to expand upon. But if you are trying to get known in the market for who you and your thoughts are, go with your name and differentiate yourself through your unique content.
That’s the conclusion I have come to being in the digital space for almost 9 years now. Would you agree or disagree? Feel free to chime in by commenting below. Thank you!
(note: I originally published this post on LinkedIn but wanted to make sure you had a chance to read it!)
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