People will connect with you because of who you are — Maarten Schafer

Over the past years, I have been travelling the world and meeting ‘people with a vision’ and ‘brands with a purpose’ for my book, ‘Around the World in 80 Brands’.

When I send people an email to arrange a first meeting, the first thing they do is Google me. “Who is Maarten Schafer?” Depending on what they find, they will accept to meet me, or not.

That’s why I make sure that my ‘real-world personal reputation’ is also available online. I’ve told my story and written about my achievements, my vision and my passion. I’ve published my story on high-ranking blogs and platforms, like Wordpress, Medium, and Scribd.

So people accept to connect with me. And when I meet them, one of the first questions they ask is: “Can you help me to get my personal reputation online?”

They realise it has nothing to do with self-promotion. It’s about creating opportunities. In this digital age your ‘online personal reputation’ is fast becoming the most important asset you have.

Creating your online personal reputation
I start with a number of questions: “What do you do? Why do you do what you do? What is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do?”

The ‘what’ part is the least important, because most probably there are a lot of other people who do the same — except if you are, say, an astronaut. What’s important is the ‘why’. Once we have defined that, we can translate it into content. Write stories about your motivation, your background and things you are proud of or passionate about.

Visual storytelling
We also need images to reinforce the story.
Maybe a video quote so people can ‘meet’ you on Youtube, and you can give them the second-best ‘first impression’.

Publishing and seeding
The stories we write are published on blogs and platforms that Google likes. That way people find relevant information on top of the page when they Google you.

Building a global network
Our vision for the coming years is to turn CoolBrands People into a movement, called Signitt (Derived from signature).

We want to humanise the way people do business by creating a network of people who dare to show their human side instead of hiding behind job titles and corporate structures. People who dare to talk about ‘why’ they do the things they do instead of ‘what’ they do.

Maarten Schafer

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