What Brand of Genealogist Are You?

What Brand of Genealogist Are You?

Is it Time for a Brand New You?
Been thinking a lot about “branding” a lot lately…and I am not talking about cows! Recently, I was made Publicity Chair for UGA (Utah Genealogical Association) which has necessitated that I do a lot of thinking about creating a “brand”. I come from a publicity and marketing background and was on the Publicity Committee with the grand poo-bah of publicity himself, Thomas MacEntee for the FGS 2011 Conference – but, for those who aren’t sure what a brand is – simply put, your brand is your public presence and how you are perceived and more importantly, how you are remembered.
So, what is your brand? If you don’t manage your brand – others may do it for you…and not always with positive results!
I must have inherited this understanding from my 4th great grandfather, who was Judge David Rorer.
david rorer
David Rorer was not only one of the founding settlers of Little Rock, Arkansas, but he later went on to be one of founding fathers and leading citizens of Burlington, Iowa. While Iowa was still a territory, Judge Rorer promoted the idea of Iowa quickly choosing their own state nickname – or brand if you will and championed the nickname “The Hawkeye State” lest the state be bestowed an unfavorable moniker like Missouri’s the “Show Me State”. It took Missouri years of spin control before the state could turn the once derisive meaning into something more positive.

There are some people in the genealogy world that may have a negative view of publicity and marketing – considering it somehow tacky or vulgar for genealogists to sully themselves with these practices. Yet, these same people want visitors to their websites, comments on their blogs, their tweets re-tweeted, posts on their FB wall, attendance at their webinars and presentations and new members for their societies.

Let me remind you that you are creating a brand or image right now whether you intend to or not… you might as well control it or have a say in what you want to portrait – or do you come from Missouri?…sorry, couldn’t resist that one!

In publicity and marketing one of the first questions we ask is “What are you trying to say.” “What is the best way to say it?” and “When is the best time to say it?” Timing can be everything. One helpful site that helped me personally figure out my personal focus was using Franklin Covey’s Mission Statement Builder. Needless to say, I will be doing some realigning and make some directional changes in my personal and professional life.

By focusing on what you truly want to accomplish and what you want your brand to say about you, you will better be able to chart a path to get there.

Here are some ideas for you to consider in determining what you want to accomplish on how to brand yourself.

  • Do you want to be a professional genealogist or a hobbyist?
  • Do you want to blog for fun, for fame or for profit?
  • Do you want to promote yourself, your business, your expertise or your society?
  • Do you want to write a blog, a book, become a speaker, or just share with friends and family?

Why Brand Yourself? Here are some good reasons:

  • Makes you, your business or society easier to find
  • Helps build trust and recognition
  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Be a memorable force
  • Become an asset
  • Help other know who you are and what you do
  • Establish yourself as an expert or leader in the field

Remember, Judge Rorer had Iowa establish their brand as state, while they were still a territory. Determining your brand today, can help you get where you want to end up tomorrow.
Hope this has inspired you to take a look at your brand, what you want to say about who you are and the direction you want to go… or you could just sit back and say Show Me.


  1. Great perspective. Although we don’t always realize it, bloggers really are in the “business” of promoting themselves and their “brand”, even just to get more readers. And I think a lot of genealogist get started with a blog and turn it into a business. If you can start with the idea of being a “brand” when you start, it’s easier to move on to bigger things.

  2. I enjoy posts that challenge me and set me thinking. Thanks for this post that is causing me to reflect on how I want to position myself in the genealogy arena.
    Once I work out where I want to be I need a snappy little phrase to describe my brand. I particularly like Dear Myrtle’s “your friend in genealogy”.

  3. A very insightful post! I had not thought of branding in this way. So much of my blog presence “just happens”. I’m looking forward to taking time this weekend to ponder my brand.

  4. Hmmm. This is something I hadn’t really thought about — but will now. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Congrats on being made Publicity Chair.

    You’ve given me a lot to think about. How do you handle when you have more than brand, even if they are related? Do you build both or just focus on one and let the second be part of your main brand?

    I eventually want to become a professional genealogist. My personal blog (Ancestrally Challenged) and some of my interactions in the genealogy community are geared toward that. However, after almost two years of writing my Free Genealogy Resources blog, I want to do something with it as well. I have considered writing a book and/or possibly becoming a speaker on the topic of budget genealogy.

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