You’ll never really be good at something you don’t love.
So fine tuning your personal branding is about clarifying the things you’re passionate about.
And nothing is a better indicator of passion than where you spend your time, whether you’re paid for it or not.
Aarun Rumbaugh (I call him the BOSS), is 21 years old, 6 foot 4 inches tall, and loves basketball.
If you friend him on Facebook, you’ll see posts of him practicing into the night and videos of him dunking or attending a Golden State Warriors game.
Passion creates purpose, which translates into the drive necessary to be good at something.
So what better dream job than to be able to work on social marketing for the Golden State Warriors?
Who doesn’t want to be part of a winning team?
Aarun runs Facebook campaigns for the Warriors that sell tickets and merchandise.
He generates an 800% ROAS, meaning that every dollar invested yields 8 dollars in revenue.
So, of course, the Warriors are increasing their presence on Facebook.
I think I’m pretty competent at Facebook advertising, but I stand no chance against a basketball fanatic like Aarun who gets to work on basketball campaigns.
He knows the players, what’s going on with each of the teams, the stuff that hard-core fans are talking about, and things I have never heard of.
Because social media is about micro-targeted amplification (doing PR at scale with Facebook ads as your minions), such passion is compulsory.
In traditional media buying, you can blast out propaganda to the faceless masses– no need to personalize or be relevantly interesting.
Real fans can spot a fake, in the same way that if I were to go on stage and replace your favorite musician for one song, you’d know instantly.
So whoever is running your social has to be a real fan. Who are you kidding?
If you’re an agency with many clients, finding passionate customers for each client who are also skilled in online marketing is a challenge.
That’s not even counting the distance of not being on-site to participate in the day-to-day details of what’s going on.
You’re out of touch.
The Aarun’s of the world are coming to disrupt you in the same way that Uber is disrupting the taxicab industry.
The market drives out inefficiency by getting more competent marketing programs that cost less money.
Did I mention that Aarun is 21 years old and has only a few years of experience doing Facebook marketing?
He’s had some college experience, but more importantly, a ton of direct experience.
It’s like gremlins, except you don’t need any water and don’t have to wait until midnight.
So you better disrupt yourself or prepare to get disrupted.
If you’re not doing this, then your competitors will be sourcing marketing support from their customer base and driving micro-efficiency.
People with two decades of experience like me can’t compete at this level any more than the old tired construction worker can outwork the young strong men.
Anyone can follow a checklist, which boils down complex projects into simple sequential tasks.
If you’re not a young adult, then you get multiplying power by mentoring this new workforce.
I mean, really– do you want to cranking out ads and reports all day? I didn’t think so.
You can own the strategy while the kids do the tactics.
You’re the architect, while the kids have the nails.
You’re serving clients in the dining room while the cooks in the back are following recipes.
Schools are now at an inflection point, since they have to build in working experience to enable young adults to transition to the workforce.
And it’s not only an apprenticeship model, like in Europe or what Obama wants to do with the community college system.
It’s teaching personal efficiency, communication skills, and stuff you don’t learn in the classroom.
College is as necessary as ever– so this is not an argument to drop out of college and still remain uneducated.
Rather, the minimum bar to be a productive worker in modern society is ever higher– so schools must build in stronger vocational programs and ties with businesses.
They must have certifications that are borne of checklists which prove direct skills competency.
The students must have not just a resume, but provable work experience accomplishing measurable tasks.
Aarun has written extensively about how teams in the NBA are faring on the court and in digital.
It’s one thing to have a line of work experience on your resume and altogether another to have direct proof and client praise.
Don’t think that this new labor force only applies to entertainment and CPG: sports teams, video games, soft drinks, and potato chips– anything.
Sourcing passionate folks for Jack Daniel’s is easier than for an industrial pipe manufacturer.
You just need to look harder and train a lot more.
Perhaps even find a stay-at-home mom or retiree who can’t come to an office, but will gladly work from home.
And while your content might not be as interesting as a last second buzzer beater by Stephen Curry, remember that you’ll certainly be able to beat your competition.
Helpful content in your industry might not be interesting to the mainstream, but you’re not going for a million fans– just leads and sales in your niche.
Nor are we talking about just Facebook (which is more a data platform now than a social media site).
Add in the other apps Facebook controls, LinkedIn, WordPress, Google, and every other digital/mobile property out there.
If I ask you about any one of these, such as your website, you’ll likely say that you have plans to do it, but haven’t gotten around to it.
You know you need an Aarun to help you.
- If you’re a business owner, where will you find your Aarun’s and how will you train them?
- If you’re a student, what steps can you take to build your personal brand— to find stuff you enjoy, stop procrastinating, and start getting going?
- If you’re a school, how are you implementing capstone programs to provide real work experience accompanied by a modern curriculum?
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.