The term “branding” has traditionally been associated with companies – large corporations that have expensive ad agencies and consultants hard at work polishing their image and positioning their brand in the marketplace. However, an interesting by-product came about with the rise of the social media revolution: the personal brand.
Don’t get me wrong, personal branding has been around for centuries before the arrival of Facebook, however all of sudden the process became a whole lot easier. In fact, it happens automatically. In addition to your actions and professional accomplishments, everything you share, tweet or say on social channels becomes another brushstroke bringing clarity to your overall image. Your friends, family, acquaintances and professional peers begin to paint a picture of you, knowingly or not, that they associate with you each time your name comes up. Therefore, in 2015, the question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but rather:
Are you actively involved in developing your personal brand?
Creating a deliberate personal brand can help you land a better job, close big clients for your company, attract new opportunities and gain powerful recognition as a thought leader in your field. In today’s job market and fast-paced economy, there’s no future in being just another face in the crowd. In order to be successful (and stay successful), you need to separate yourself from your competition and become more appealing to your target audience. This can all be achieved with a strategic and recognizable personal brand.
Now Barcelona is one of the most stylish, eccentric and open cities on the entire planet. The cast of characters that have either grown up here or arrived here somewhere during their life journey are free to express themselves however they want, which is why so many people are drawn to our beautiful city. It’s also what makes people watching in Barcelona so entertaining. In our world, one of technology, startups, design and innovation, Barcelona is a eclectic collage of talented people inspiring us with their work.
In no particular order, here are 10 excellent examples of personal branding in Barcelona – 5 men and 5 women that we can all learn from:
Joel Serra – Papa Serra Jr
Following Papa Serra Jr on Instagram is a multi-sensory experience. From his extreme backpacking travels to his inspiring concoctions of world cuisine, it’s clear Papa Serra Jr drinks life straight from the firehouse. Originally from Tasmania, Australia, Joel answered the siren song from Barcelona through his Catalan grandmother. After a brief stint consulting in London, Joel serendipitously connected with the founders of EatWith and together they have launched dinner party communities in over 50 countries. Joel is a true adventurepreneur and he wants to take you along for the ride.
Erika Lust – NSFW
Erika Lust is an award winning filmmaker and game-changing director of erotic films. Originally from Sweden, Erika discovered during her adolescent years that true female voices were all but nonexistent in the porn industry. Armed with a camera and mission, Erika set out to change the way women (and men) think about erotic entertainment. Her indie style and realistic portrayal of sexuality in modern society has won her global fame. Erika is an acclaimed author, mother of two living in the Born and also happens to be an amazing public speaker (watch her TEDx Talk here).
Adriana Freitas – Omnipresent
In the world of Barcelona startups and tech, Adriana has no equal. She is literally everywhere at once and constantly using her growing network and influence to promote new startups, events and initiatives that you would otherwise never know about. Adriana has over a decade of experience in the telecom and ICT industries and will soon lead Conector Barcelona’s new Mobile accelerator program. She’s also the engine behind Barcinno’s event calendar and she’s likely to give me a lot of shit for appearing in this article, but the fact remains: if you want to be first one to know about Barcelona tech and startup news, follower her on Twitter right now!
Marc Pous – IoT Gy4nt
Quite possibly the most recognizable human being in Barcelona, Marc Pous is larger than life and is a renowned leader in the global IoT revolution. Marc is the founder of thethings.io and the man behind the 1.800-person strong IoT BCN Meetup Group. His bi-monthly events routinely draw 125+ attendees and introduce the rapidly evolving IoT landscape to novices and advanced professionals alike. When the heavy hitters like the Mobile World Congress or IoT World Forum roll into town, Marc is the person they call on to rally the local ecosystem and drive support for the cause.
Cecilia Tham – Mastermind
MOB Barcelona is an army Makers and Ceclia Tham is their General. Cecilia has built a unique co-creating community out of an abandoned industrial space in the center of Barcelona. By day, over 200 entrepreneurial-minded members call MOB Barcelona home, and by night, MOB becomes a vehicle for the global community to shape new experiences, events and workshops. Cecilia routinely gets flown around the world to speak at global conferences, TEDx events or teach at prestigious programs such as Parsons School of Design in NYC or the Harvard Innovation Lab in Boston, and most recently Cecilia launched the first FabCafe in Europe.
Laura Ribas – Building Your Digital Empire
Laura Ribas is fiercely committed to helping freelancers and SMEs attract more business with the ultimate goal of creating the life they always dreamed about. Through the Instituto de Crecimiento Empresarial, she’s a catalyst for transforming the solopreneur into a lifestyle entrepreneur and has been featured in Womenalia, Ellas2.0, Eureka Startups and many other online and offline publications. Ask her clients and they’ll tell you her name is synonymous with “taking action”. Subscribe to Laura’s blog to receive actionable weekly advice tune into her YouTube Channel to watch her work her magic.
Ian Collingwood – Johnny Foreigner with UX in his DNA
Ian has declared war on mediocrity. He refuses to sit idly by while poor user experiences get created all around him. Instead, Ian rolls up his sleaves, pulls a chair and pumps immesaurable value into your current project. I’ve watched Ian blow the minds of entrepreneurs and engineers in his UX workshops and I’ve seen the impact he had on the first class of Startupbootcamp IoT & Data startups. This is a man you want on your roster. Ian is currently co-organizing the new Made Barcelona maker space and the Mini Maker Faire here next fall.
Verne Harnish – The Growth Guy
Verne is a born entrepreneur. He started the Young Entrepreneurs Organization in 1987 (now EO) which connects more than 10k members in over 48 countries worldwide. He’s a best selling author and contributor to Forbes, CNN Money was named one of the Top 10 Minds in Small Business by Fortune Magazine. His company, Gazelles, has helped thousands of companies scale up through their now famous One-Page Strategic Plan methodology. Verne’s personal brand was built through decades of dedication and reaffirming himself as the Growth Guy.
Dot Lung – Miss Social Media
Dot Lung is the queen of social media in Barcelona and received her crown by open-sourcing her learning process. Social media is a dynamic artform and Dot understands that no one has all of the answers so we need to work together to find new strategies for all of these communication platforms. With this open-philosophy in mind, Dot started Social Media #TRAINWRX in 2013 and never looked back. She now works with global brands, high-growth startups and international events helping them scale their growth and raise brand awareness by leveraging social media. You can find (and follow) Dot on every single social media platform in existence, even Ello, but personally I like her Instagram.
Conor Neill – Moving People To Action
Conor Neill is the meta-personal brand – he’s created a personal brand of helping others create their personal brands. Conor is a seasoned entrepreneur and renowned lecturer at IESE Business School. He’s founded 6 companies and is regularly published in global publications such as LifeHack.com, but saves his best work for the ConorNeill.com blog. Conor’s an expert at bringing out the best in people and creates the content necessary to help you be your best self. I’ve been a religious follower of Conor’s work since the day we met and his YouTube Channel is filled with actionable advice on public speaking.
These 10 people have taken a proactive approach to positioning themselves in Barcelona. They’ve used social media, word of mouth and years of dedication to brand themselves in a way that matches their professional and personal interests. Remember, your personal brand is happening with or without you. It’s up to you whether or not you want to be involved.