Get naked in your online videos!

Before you wonder: what is this, an episode of Bloggers Gone Wild? let me say that by “naked” I don’t mean ripping off your Calvins. I mean revealing yourself online, not covering up who you really are. If I’m going to spend my semi-precious time on your website, show me your stuff, in sharp focus and without wasteful adornment.

Dan Schawbel with MC Hammer
Dan Schawbel with MC Hammer

I thought about this principle while visiting the website of marketing meteor Dan Schawbel. Even his URL is as naked and plain as can be: That’s appropriate, because he’s the “personal branding guru” who wants to brand and market you as an individual. (Of course, he’ll be thrilled to market your company, too.) Mainly, he’s marketing himself, using his own name as the brand.

On Dan’s homepage, in keeping with today’s proposition that naked is good, there’s not a frill in sight. If you called it homely, you wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s effective, and that’s what counts.

The homepage overflows with success signifiers, from a blurb by über bizwhiz Tom Peters to the brag stat of having over one million results for his name in Google. (I just checked and got “about 65,800 results” for “Dan Schawbel,” but we’re talking effectiveness, not persnickety stuff like accuracy.)

What really works for me, though, are his two homepage videos. They’re not slick, custom made movies. In fact, the first is borrowed from a local Boston TV show interview. Here’s a half-minute clip of Dan explaining what his company, Millennial Branding, does:

I call his description “naked” because it’s utterly simple. It’s clear. It leaves no mystery in its wake. You can stop watching after this brief explanation, or you can take in the rest of the interview if you want rebranding and think he may be the guy to do it for you.

The other video on his homepage shows him speaking to a group at Time Warner. Just watch a bit, then hit “Pause” and read on …

In nine minutes, Dan will give you clue after clue about personal branding. He’s not slick in his presentation. He’s relaxed and plain-spoken, and this adds to his credibility. As a video professional I don’t admire any of the production values, but if I were looking to rebrand myself, I would definitely consider giving Dan a shout.

Maybe I should.

But what you should do is take to heart the message that nakedness is effective. Dan Schawbel is still in his 20s and he has over 90,000 followers on Twitter. He’s on Inc magazine’s “30 under 30” list and has heavyweight corporations as his clients. Naked videos are surely not his only effective marketing tool, but they’re a powerful one … and they can be one of yours, too.

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