This one time, at Brand Camp…

Another conference lanyard to add to my ever-growing collection.  Brand Camp '13. #iwnybcu13 // @brandcampu @hajjflemings

Yesterday, I traveled to New York City to attend Brand Camp University–a national conference series centered around branding, technology and entrepreneurship.

The conference is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur and personal branding strategist Hajj Flemings. I first learned about Hajj through his appearance on CNN’s “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley”, in which he was one of featured tech startup founders.

As an aspiring tech entrepreneur, and someone who understands the critical role that branding, technology, and entrepreneurship can play in your success in today’s digital age (whether you are building a startup company or looking to create change in your community), this is a conference that I was sure I could get a lot of value from.

I wasn’t disappointed!

The day included a series of panel discussions and talks from a diverse group of industry leaders, including startup founders, media personalities, marketing and social media strategists. The topics ranged from building businesses around your personal brand to creating inspiring online video content to overcoming challenges faced by women and minority entrepreneurs. Each discussion carefully honed in on the conference’s theme: Build, Innovate, Grow.

At the end of the day, I left the conference inspired to grow my ideas and passion for technology into something greater.

Here are a few of my key takeaways from Brand Camp:

  1. Devote time to your passion. This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  2. Create Social Proof. Although a key element of the digital age is being social, it’s not just enough to talk about your ideas, your brand or what you do. You have to create a space where people can see and experience the work that you’re doing. This could be a website or online portfolio of some kinda–be creative! This lends a greater sense of legitimacy to your brand and ideas, and helps people to connect with those things more.
  3. Be a great storyteller. This sort of ties into the previous point about creating social proof. It’s important to craft real, relatable stories around your brand and ideas that people can connect to. You can do this through careful and creative use of social media.
  4. Develop your “Why”. For example, it’s not enough to just market yourself as a blogger these days. Everyone’s a blogger. You need to identify the things that compels you to blog, and what you’re looking to achieve through doing so. Once you’ve figure that out, you’ve arrived at your “Why”, and that’s the thing that you should nurture and market. You can apply this thought process to anything, be it a startup company or your personal brand.
  5. Monetize. Identify at least three ways that you can generate revenue from your passion.