And I guess the experts would say that I probably should. I know that the professional development presentations by Steve Jones (blog | twitter) and Andy Warren (blog | twitter) and the posts by Brent Ozar (blog | twitter) all say that I should. But I haven't. And I don't think I will actively worry about it. Maybe this goes against the spirit of the Un-SQL topic on Branding, but let me explain why I don't worry about branding.
Branding is about Marketing
And this is something I'm admittedly terrible at. Other people market me better than I market myself. I could improve on the self-marketing, but I think I've done better spending that time on developing my skills, making friends, and just doing what I do. This all indirectly develops my brand, and I realize that, and it does so at a pace which is acceptable to me. It comes to a time vs. reward type of decision. My time is already limited. I effectively have two full time jobs with no overlap between them. So spending additional time worrying about brand is not something that's important to me.
But you aren't me. And so you need to make the decision for yourself. I would highly suggest that you go and read what the others have to say about branding. For your personal goals, branding may be very important. And investing time in building your brand may have a better time vs. reward for you than it does for me. So what I'm saying here is do your own thinking on this one. How much do you invest in your brand? Only you can make that call.
I'm a Youth Pastor
Or I'm a children's pastor. Those have been the two strongest callings on my life. Not everyone believes as I do. That's fine, because it's what I believe. Don't get me wrong. I love SQL Server. I love Active Directory. I love IT security. I love Perl and I'm growing to love Powershell. But my strongest love will be working with children and youth and helping them grow into fine young men and women. When you ask me what my strongest identity is with respect to "work," it's going to ministry-related. I know that turns some people off. I can't apologize, because that wouldn't be sincere. So going back to that time vs. reward proposition, does it make sense for me to work on my IT brand when my biggest passion is children's and youth ministry? No. And I don't believe as a minister I have a right to work on my brand as a minister. Something just seems wrong about that one (and I have the Scripture to back it up). But when it comes to you, ask that all important question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" That helps determine what to do with your brand.
But Brian, You Are Working on Your Brand!
Not really. I'm doing things that help build a brand. But my motivation behind them has nothing to do with branding. When I write, like when I decided to participate in the Un-SQL challenge, I do so because I feel compelled to write. I want to write. I love to write. So I write. When I present, it's because I love helping others. I love talking about things I'm passionate about. And I love learning. Those three things all go together into presenting. So I present. My presentations aren't calculated. I don't look to do X number because it might mean I become an INETA Community Champion. Back last year I set a goal of a number of presentations to give because I wanted to challenge myself to grow as a speaker. This year, growing as a speaker was pretty low on my priority list. So I didn't set goals around that. It's not that being a better speaker isn't important to me. It's that there were so many other things that were of higher priority, a lot of them ministry related.
If you are looking at building your brand, consider not only what works, but what you will enjoy working on. You're looking to try and do things that get check marks in both columns. Blogging builds brand. But if you hate blogging, skip it. Don't let your motivation solely be about your brand. You want to have passion to do something. You will do it better if you do.
The Bottom Line
Figure out what you want to be. Determine what it takes to get there. Consider the cost. If it's worth it to you, go for it. And that includes working on your brand.