Tuesday, 15 May 2012

CILIP New Professionals Day 2012 part 1

There is simply too much information to share in just one post (or it would be so freakishly long no-one would want to read it) so I'm going to break it up into parts.

I headed down to the CILIP New Professionals Day on the 11th May, the first time I'd ever been to one, and coincidentally the first time I'd ever been to CILIP HQ! My train was at a horribly early time (I am not a morning person) so I was very thankful to the lovely cabbie who took me to the station, and was very helpful even though my brain clearly wasn't switched on, and apologies to the staff of Upper Crust whose crisp display I destroyed (I have nothing against crisps, I'm just clumsy).

Arriving in London, I negotiated my way to Ridgemont Street just in time for Annie Mauger's welcome.

The first speaker of the day was Ned Potter, who discussed influencing your brand. In the past I lacked real understanding of the usefulness of creating a brand (see Thing 3, from CPD23 last year) but the more I learn about it, the more I think it is 'a very good idea'.

Ned kicked off his talk with four points;
  1. Don't panic, it will be fine
  2. You already have a brand
  3. You can never fully control it
  4. Don't panic

He then got us to submit our definitions of brand via Twitter, using the #npdbrand hashtag, and we could see them pop up up on the screen in front of us.

The purpose was to distinguish the difference between 'brand' and 'branding'. He gave us the definition that a brand is 'the sum total of everyone's perceptions about what a service is or does' that it is 'in the eye of the beholder' and quoted Jeff Bezos 'your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room'.

Once we'd establish what a brand is, Ned shared his advice on how to influence it (in 5 ways!).
  1. Get online - he recommended Twitter as a good starting point for those who are not already online
  2. Publish something - try something like In the Library with the Lead Pipe or check out the Library Writer's blog for writing opportunities
  3. Organise something - join a committee & help out with events, or if the kind of events you like aren't happening in your area, organise one yourself (eek!)
  4. Share something - some of the most popular blogs seem to be the ones that share advice & resources that can be helpful to others in the information profession
  5. Present something - apparently after the first time it becomes less scary (hmm)

He pointed out that it is not realistic to promote yourself as a 'super librarian' 24/7, or to worry too much about what other people are doing, it's not a competition. You only really need to compete with those that are pursuing exactly the same career path as you, and as there are so many different ones to choose from, the chances of you having exactly the same as anyone else are relatively slim.

I think the most important point I took from his talk was to 'focus your brand on what your goals are', that basically your brand needs to be relevant to your chosen profession. And that ultimately 'the brand is not the end goal it is just a by-product of pursuing your own issues and passions'.

Ned ended his talk with the following messages;
"Just do something, anything! If you have an idea, try and make it happen"

You can see the full Prezi for Ned's talk here, and better write ups than mine are available from Annie Johnson, Siobhan B, The Neon Librarian and Lady Pen (Penelope Dunn).

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