Building a Brand

Posted on 06/02/2014 by Adam

Today is my 12th anniversary. I registered AdamWelch.Co.Uk on the 6th of February 2002.  Nominet Listing

I don’t think I knew it at the time, but on that day I started building a brand.  My digital footprint had come much earlier, I was lucky enough to get online at home in 1995.  I took to the internet quickly – I could find out facts, publish my opinions and even talk to people across the globe. My first website went live within weeks of getting online.  For my first few years online, I did this all through an alias, hidden behind a silly name. 

In 2002 I was shown that domains – and especially .uk domains – were cheap and I quickly found my name was available.  For the sake of about £3.50 a year I could secure my domain.  I did this for vanity – more for an email address than a website initially.

However in recent years my domain has become a more important part of my online life.  I believe more and more it is displaying my brand, and managing that brand is increasingly important both to me, my employer and my future.  I’ve added to the collection – AdamWelch.Com, AdamWelch.Me.Uk, AdamW.Co.Uk – there’s more too. 

I believe my identity online is a brand. It can be searched, people can enjoy it, people can direct anger towards it – people consume it, or at least a few do.  More and more often these days I’m seeing evidence of colleges and employers searching the internet for the names of applicants to see what they find. It’s made me look at my own online profile in recent years and how it portrays me to people who don’t know me.

AdamWelch.Co.Uk now brings together (via the wonderful Rebelmouse) my twitter feed, facebook and blog posts into one stream.  You don’t need to subscribe, join or give up any personal details to look at it.  I even cache my twitter feed to make it easier for people to search – pick apart even.

I truly believe if you don’t want people to see it – you shouldn’t post it.

Privacy settings don’t work. Privacy is largely a thing of the past.  People need to start managing their digital footprint.  Don’t allow it to be your downfall – use it positively, use it to get that job!

Brand Adam Welch isn’t however my only online identity today. I started building an online alias when I met some interesting people at a conference – they opened my eyes to twitter.  Could I build a positive online identity, enter a public space, build relationships and a reputation based on nothing?

I created @IrritableTech.  I didn’t mention who I was, but soon people started interacting with me.  I found common ground with people who ‘didn’t know me from Adam’. @IrritableTech has most definitely become much more popular online than Adam Welch, and here in lies an issue.

By creating another identity, I’ve reduced the positive impact on my real identity.

I’m slowly getting people to recognise me for me. I’ve changed my display name on twitter. I’m linking with people on LinkedIn and I’ve created a professional profile at AdamWelch.Com

So as my presence online moves into its 13th year I’d offer this advice to those just getting started. Build a positive profile around your true identity. Online is no longer any different to offline. Present yourself as best as you can as often as you can. It’s ok to make mistakes, but identify them and say sorry. Explain how you’re going to avoid them in the future. Be the best you can be. Be yourself.