Your Brand Lives In A Virtual World

I recently watched a very interesting program on PBS Frontline entitled Digital Nation that has some major implications for your business or personal brand. We are spending more time on our computers, notebooks, netbooks, PDAs, Smart phones iPhones, and soon the iPad – increasingly we are using more than one of these devices at the same time.

We spend our time on talking on the phone, text messaging, emailing, Googling the world, social networking, shopping, and being entertained. By one estimate many people will spend half of their waking life in the virtual world online. Many people feel withdrawal if they are disconnected even for a few minutes – maybe this is where the term “crackberry” came from.

All of this connectedness and multitasking has come at a price. Studies are showing that multitasking is largely a myth. The more things we try to do at the same time the poorer we perform them all – witness the recent event where the airline pilots overflew the Minneapolis airport by several hundred miles while they were engrossed in their laptops. People’s concentration and attention spans are being reduced at an increasing rate.

So what does this have to do with your business or personal brand? We increasingly rely on the Virtual World to get our brand message out. Some of the traditional means we used are no longer relevant or effective. In a world of short concentration and attention spans, a world where people are multitasking on multiple devices your brand can easily be passed over in milliseconds .

Some things you can do:

* Make sure you have targeted your brand message to the right audience. Audiences are becoming more fragmented by the day. I have built my own “yellow pages” of resources through my relationships on social networking and other means. My real “yellow pages” are nothing more than a doorstop and Google may soon approach being its online equivalent.

* Make sure your brand message is authentic and it can be easily absorbed and understood in a very little amount of time. You don’t have a lot of time to capture your audience’s attention, so keep it short, interesting and to the point.

* Images can register in the mind a lot faster than text or even a catchy headline. Use your brand images to capture your prospect’s attention and drive your message home.

* If you are portraying your brand with stock images think twice before you congratulate yourself on how much money you saved. Make your brand images authentic and tell a story about your brand – not just something to fill the white space on your website. Do you really think your audience gives a second look to images they have seen or think they have seen a hundred times before?

* If you are using an image of yourself to portray your personal brand keep it interesting and professionally done. When you use a personal brand image pretend that your reader is a casting director for a film. They are sorting through a stack of headshots and you only have a few seconds to capture their attention. Does your personal brand image elicit “That person looks interesting, I would like to get to know them better” in your audience?

Ok, in the time it took you to read this article, did you check your email, answer a Facebook message, make a Tweet, or do other activities in the Virtual World? See what I mean?

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto

One thought on “Your Brand Lives In A Virtual World

  1. Suzanne Kaller

    Your comments are very insightful. With so much competition for the reader’s attention in online digital age, it’s become quite a challenge to get the message to stick in a matter of seconds. Your image gazing through the lens is great and it works! What a great brand.

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