Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Branding on ESPN

I was listening to Colin Cowherd and the Herd one morning and he was talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers and Manny Rodriguez. At first I wasn’t sure I agreed with him that the Dodgers should spend $25million to sign him. Is he worth it? Does he make a difference?

Then Colin stepped back and started talking about branding, and that got me interested. Twenty years ago the big stories in sports included the Yankees and Dodgers. I’d agree with that as the history from Jackie Robinson through Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, I remember hearing about them in the 80s, seeing them on Sportcenter regularly, and knowing that the Dodgers mattered in sports. They actually seemed to be more people around the country supporting the boys in “Dodger Blue” than even the Cubs.

However I agree that’s changed. Nowadays the Dodgers don’t make as big a splash, and they’re not featured in highlights that often. The exception was last year when Manny was traded over there and hit home runs. All of a sudden they caught my attention slightly more.

That’s branding.

Colin brought up an interesting point. ESPN shows highlights and lead stories, which are often a minute or two long. If you could get yourself, or your tem into those leads, the A blocks, you are building a good brand. Buying a 30 sec ad for the season would cost millions. I’m not sure if it would be the $25mm Colin mentioned, but it would be something. If you could get Manny to advertise you more, as a side effect of his signing, in addition to more seats, (likely) more TV coverage of games, and apparel, he really could pay for himself.

As much as I hate to admit it, he might be the top name in baseball.

So what does this have to do with your brand? How can the individual DBA benefit here?

You have a brand as well, and it be used to promote yourself. You won’t get a $25mm contract, but you can leverage yourself in other ways. In the grand scheme of the world, Manny is small. Just as in the scheme of DBAs, most of us are pretty small.

You can get more exposure, grow your brand, and get a level of networking with one simple thing:

Write an article.


It can be intimidating, and it’s work. But it’s an investment in your career that is worth making. I don’t want to exclusively promote my site, SQLServerCentral, but I will say that you’ll likely get the most exposure (500k+ newsletters sent out) for your work with the least effort. I’m an easy editor, and we don’t require huge amounts of research. However there are plenty of other places (SQL Team, Database Journal, MSSQLTips, etc.) that you can write for in the database space. In other technologies, I’m sure you have favorite sites that you visit.

The thing to keep in mind is that this effort, your first article, is going to showcase your brand. Spend some time on it, get friends to review it, and teach the world something. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or amazingly innovative. However it should be in your area of expertise, whether that’s writing SQL, managing security, grooming a dog, or training a horse. Write something well that shows:

  • your knowledge
  • your communication skills (present the ideas well)
  • your attention to detail (watch the typos/spelling/grammar)

And then make sure it’s on your resume. I bet it gets mentioned in your next interview.

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