Warning: copy() [function.copy]: Filename cannot be empty in /home/content/h/f/l/hflemings/html/blog/wp-content/plugins/mytube/mytube.php on line 220
Today, we live in a world that is skin deep. Magazine covers, movies, and product commercials are littered with models, celebrities, movie stars and the moving target of what society says is in and is beautiful. Packaging is an important part of personal branding and must be addressed. People are visual and make decisions based upon images, first impressions, and yes your avatar. It is cliché, but true, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
One of the most critical elements of your personal brand is your avatar or as I call it your global ID. It is typically the first visual online impression that people will have with your personal brand.
What is an Avatar?
It is the online visual representation of your personal brand.
Managing your Avatar
o Standardization: Avatar should be branded consistently all of your social networks.
o Professional Looking Image: A professional photo shoot is not required, but a clear crisp headshot is idea.
o Social Network Specs: Follow the specs of the social network your uploading your avatar into.
Benefits of a Great Avatar
o Communicates Trust: Your image can communicate trust and impact perception (enhances or diminishes)
o Branding Consistency: Visual impressions of your personal brand is consistent across the web increasing brand recognition.
o Connectivity: Digital relationships should help build off-line relationships.
o Brand Humanization: It humanizes your brand and helps people connect with you as a person.
Where should your Personal Branded Avatar Exist?
o Wherever you Exist: Press Kit, Blog, etc.
o Social Networks: Consistent across all of your social networks: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.
o Business Cards (Web 2.0 Cards): I am an advocate for avatars on business cards. Your business cards should extend the online and off-line relationship. I recommend www.BrandCardz.com
o Blog Post Comments: Create a profile on Gravatar and it will automatically populate your avatar into any Wordpress (other platforms are being researched) blog comment that you post. As people begin to read your well thought out comments on other blogs the recognition of your personal brand will continue to spread.
o Slideshare Resume: Create a creative version of your resume in a slide presentation formation should include your avatar.
o Mybloglog: Add the Mybloglog widget to your blog and it will allow you to see who is visually coming to your blog.
There are many schools of thought on creating an avatar such as the usage of cartoons, logos, or cool designs. I recognize there are many successful examples of cartoons (@chrispirillo) or logos (@BarackObama) so the chose is yours. I recommend that you use an image of yourself as your avatar because one of the goals is to turn digital relationships into off-line relationships and it helps the visual recognition of your personal brand.