Personal Branding Series, Week 1: Why Every Event Professional Needs One

October 20, 2020

If you think cultivating a personal brand is self-centered and self-serving, think again. Amidst the ongoing global pandemic, there’s never been a more important time to present yourself boldly and accurately online. In this four-week series, TSNN will feature four articles focused on personal branding: why it’s important, how to shape your existing assets into your brand, building the pillars of your brand foundation and creating a content strategy around your brand. Whether you’ve been furloughed or laid off during the pandemic and are searching for something new, are still employed by your current company or have ventured out to launch your own business during the past few months, this is for you.

So why exactly should you, as an event professional care about personal branding? “The thing that’s amazing about this is that everybody already has a personal brand,” explains D. Channing Muller, Chattanooga, Tenn.-based founder of marketing consulting firm DCM Communications. “We have just given a term to it that makes it more marketable and packaged.”

At the most basic level, a personal brand is how other people perceive you. Consider it your marketing “sticky message.” For event professionals, crafting your personal brand will allow you the option to continue to grow, both in your career and as a person. “Pandemic or no pandemic, it’s not a matter of whether you need a personal brand — you have one,” says Muller. “The question is: Are you going to let other people define it, or are you going to control the message?”

People are already talking about you and already have impressions of who you are as a professional and as an individual. Building your personal brand online in the form of your own website and across social media channels — and establishing consistency across each platform — lets you guide that narrative.

Muller adds that for the most part, job security is now a thing of the past, especially in the corporate world. “Until you’re the owner of your own company and your name is on the door, everyone’s replaceable,” she says. That means that you must demonstrate to other people what value you bring, not only to your current company but to anyone who encounters you. A personal brand is the ticket to doing this.

The beauty of this is that your personal brand can live entirely online, which has never been more important, in a time where we’re not traveling and meeting each other in person. The pandemic has proven to so many companies that nearly anything can be done remotely, and that it’s possible to develop relationships through a digital platform. “If you have a well-established personal brand, you don’t have to be physically anywhere except sitting on your sofa to have your thought leadership and expertise known,” says Muller.

Action Items

So what are the first steps you should take toward building a personal brand online — today? Muller shares her tips.

  • Check your brand on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. As much as possible you should have your name as your handle and make the URLs as clear as possible. It’s important to have consistency across platforms. While content can be tailored to each social media platform, anyone who visits your profiles on these should be getting the same well-rounded message.
  • Buy your name as your domain. This means to get a website of Try to make it as simple as possible. If you have a name that people consistently misspell, try using your first initial and last name, or vice versa. You don’t have to build a website right away; simply set up a splash page that says your site is coming soon, with a quick descriptor of what you do: for example, “event professional, event designer, event marketer.” Add icons that link to your social media profiles and add a simple box that says how to get in touch with you.
  • Think about the five things you want people to know you for. What are the five things you talk about the most? They can be super narrow, or wider buckets. For example, for Muller, her personal brand is built around marketing, as well as running, her dogs, beverages and heart health. Know that you don’t have to be 100-percent transparent about everything in your life to be authentic: Just because you can share it doesn’t mean you have to.

“I would encourage you that now is the time to open up,” says Muller. “The pandemic has humanized us all more; we’ve been forced to go behind the veil and see what people’s home lives are like. So that’s an opportunity to be a little more open.”

How will you get started with your personal brand? Share with us in the comments below, and stay tuned for parts two through four of this series.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.