Alone in a brand new world.
I know, as well as the next shy person, how difficult it can be to establish a unique personality in life (a.k.a. personal brand). Whether on the job, in the classroom or in your own social circle. But when it comes to personal branding, especially as a creative, introversion can play a big role.
When I first entered the doors at Tag (too early I’ll add), I didn’t quite know how to handle myself. The art director and I had been conversing prior to the meeting, so the goals were clear, but being my first interview at a real-life, big-boy firm—nerves were high. I ended up sitting down on what I now realize was a decorative piece of furniture, not a chair in a waiting room.
Because there is no instruction manual for these types of things in life. “What to Do When There Is No Waiting Room” and “Your Might-Be Boss Isn’t Ready to Interview You Yet” are not books you can purchase. So, the chapter on “Standing and Staring vs. Coming Back Later” doesn’t exist. It is these small, day-to-day social situations that make living as an introvert a bit difficult. Things that may seem easy to some can seem like a life-or-death guessing game for others; and there is nothing worse than being stuck in an awkward social situation…for either party, really.
Introverts are people fueled by alone-time, and often consider social interactions draining. Not every introvert is shy. In fact, many are very outgoing. But what sets introverts apart from extroverts is the necessity of being alone with one’s thoughts, and a distancing from social interaction to recharge. This is where it can be difficult to establish a brand personality.
I’ve learned first-hand that in order to succeed in the advertising business, you must have the ability to communicate, and do it well. “Networking is key. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” “Communication is the oil that keeps the company running.” Luckily, what we introverts might lack in social talent, we usually make up for in creative talent. But balancing creativity AND socializing is the tricky part.
The strategies used to establish a product brand are similar to an extrovert (ability to stand out, clarity about uniqueness, a differentiating look, bold messaging, etc.), but there are ways introverted thinking can benefit a company or brand too.
Social Media outlets:
As obvious as this may sound, social media sites are an introvert’s playground. Real-time conversation can take a lot of effort for introverts, but social media allows a designer or writer the time to formulate thoughts and ideas and edit them as needed. (Real-time conversations don’t have a backspace key.) Introverts can use this time to quietly contemplate what makes them different and build a brand personality at their own pace.
Growth through organization:
As an introvert, you can still network. Maybe not in the capacity of outgoing people, but we can do it in smaller, more manageable intervals. As masters of organization and efficiency (mainly to avoid confrontation) we have free-time to dedicate to networking. And we can do it in a comfortable way through email or private messaging to make connections through our connections.
Let your creativity speak for you:
Extroverts typically establish a personality through their actions and language, but introverts can make an impression through their creations. Instead of using energy to speak with someone, we can use it to create something that reinforces our personal brands. (God knows this blog is the most outspoken I’ve been at Tag since I started. And I think that’s totally okay.) Let your creative style speak for you and prove how much you can accomplish.
Entering the world of marketing and branding, I’ve made mistakes, as many do when first starting out. But I can safely say that I am learning and I cannot thank the Tag staff enough for being so accepting, understanding, and kind. I may not outwardly show it, and I may seem like the weird kid in the corner, but I’ve had a blast for the small amount of time I’ve been on the Tag team. I am so thankful and appreciative for this opportunity.
Hug an introvert today. You will most likely confuse them, and they’ll probably think they’ve done something wrong, but just reassure them that everything will be just fine.
Enjoy your holidays, and thanks for watching out for us!