Do You have a Personal Stage?

February 21st, 2012 by CASUDI

Your Personal Stage is a “designed”, or a well chosen “backdrop”. It can be an important part of your personal (or corporate) branding. It is where you Hangout, Skype, Vlog, or video conference. Done properly, it makes a definite positive statement about who you are and what you do!

When I first lurked in a Google+ hangout, I was shocked and amused by the “branding message“ portrayed by the participants; some social media celebrities included! The #10 in my recent 12MOST on design received the most traction; it was about your “Personal stage” ☺

This all started out as joking banter….Oh yes I’ll Skype you from my “purple palace”. So I designed a “purple palace” for Peggy Fitzpatrick @PegFitzpatrick . Can you tell, she has a great sense of humor, is full of joie de vivre, and takes a sophisticated approach to marketing, branding and online communities. She has a deep appreciation of the old, while embracing the new.

Mark Schaefer @MarkwSchaefer is ‘right on track’ helping us navigate a somewhat murky and uncertain future; he does this with strong, definable tracks, and just the right information. Check out his new book ROI: Return on Influence, and you’ll know exactly why I chose this image…..

Ari Herzog @Ari Herzog is a councilman and integrated communications professional, well versed in the social media & blogging space. When I asked Ari to use this image, he assured me it was not actually his “Personal Stage” but an image taken for campaign literature. Ari was one of the first people I followed on twitter and I’d certainly vote for him and include him in my social media team with a “Personal Stage” like this.

This is the “personal stage” I have selected for my online friend, Lois Geller @Loisgeller, the Joy of Direct Marketing Guru. This antique English, original George III desk, shouts out, “established, experienced and successful” value marketer (meaning you get more bang for the buck). And we all like doing business with success.

This is the “personal stage” of Bernd Nurnberger @CoCreatr, who communicates from Japan to his friends around the world. It sends the appropriate message and it is very well lit. Don’t forget how important lighting your personal stage is (I could do a whole other post on “lighting”). Professional, organized, very well informed and fun; that’s Bernd, and I met him on the twitter chat #kaizenbiz (currently morphing from #kaizenblog)

This image on Pinterest shows what could/should be a great “stage” for a car restorer getting into vloging about an intricate restoration project. But please check the back right of the image. Very often things like this are missed and what message does it send? And I have seen worse!

There is a definite business opportunity for someone to create “personal stages” for those hanging out online. Ingredients required; green screen and “personal stage” software connected to your camera. And don’t forget the opportunity for the lighting pro.

This is my “Personal Stage” sample catalog, some more ideas just in case you want to do something a little bit more inventive than simply hanging a curtain; and I‘ve noticed a lot of curtains appearing in Google+ hangouts……Be an individual!

Taking this one step further; imagine a person living in a cardboard box, “video conferencing” from his corporate jet. ☺ ((((DISCLOSURE))))

Miss Coco Chanel knew what she was talking about. ☺

Now you’ve gone to the effort and have this fabulous “personal stage” for your image; what about presenting yourself? There are lots of good tips and good people to help you present yourself. Check out Jane Ellen on Google+; make up, fashion consultant & publicist. It’s just like prepping for a TV interview…. make up, (for some guys too), no dangly ear-rings, and more.

So what would I design as my “personal stage?” I’ve had a quite a few of my online friends tell me I should use the image below as my Avatar, and my  “Personal Stage”. For my taste it was a trifle too long ago… ☺ So, what does this say about me, and is it appropriate?

 *Note vintage Porsche sunglasses*

In my eclectic past I produced TV documentaries, and corporate videos, often with only half a day for the staging and coaching. The CEO or company spokesperson had to present themselves as credible, knowledgeable about the company or products, and speak with authority and sincerity from a believable “Company Stage’; all with a view to sending a consistent branding message to the customer. For this reason I may be more critical than most. I do know that designing your “personal stage” is time well spent, and a branding opportunity well taken.

What would your personal stage look like? If you are so inclined, please leave a link in the comments below and I’ll “pin” it on my “Personal Stage” board.


Images: purple palace©unknown, MarkSchaefer photograph by JOPHOTO,  Ari with permission from Ari,  Bernd with permission from Bernd. Miss Coco Chanel@unknown, CASUDI photograph by James.


15 Responses to “Do You have a Personal Stage?”

  1. CoCreatr Says:

    Thank, you CASUDI, this is very well staged. An honor to be shared with virtual celebrities like that.  See you some day on the #kaizenbiz (earlier #kaizenblog) twitter chat.

  2. Mark W Schaefer Says:

    This is simply a superb insight, and beautifully written.

    A story behind the “tracks” photo — I was having some pictures taken for my new book. I’m a dreadfully uncomfortable with being in the spotlight like that. So we were near a gritty rail yard, and I said “Now, that’s more like me.” So he took some shots. I have hesitated to use them publicly because I wonder if people will think “What an idiot. He’s sitting on a train track.” Which … is true : ) 

    Thanks for the great post. And I do vote for a change in your avatar : ) 

  3. Peggy Fitzpatrick Says:

    Really fun post!

    I’ll need to order a few items from my virtual purple palace to add to my real life purple palace office.

    Kidding aside, it is important to make a really good first impression whether it be in person or online. Creating a personal stage is a very realistic idea. I worked on mine a little but I have more to do.

    Thanks for including me!

  4. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Bernd its always a pleasure to encounter you in the twitterverse or similar. What is it going to take to get you back as a chat contributor on #kaizenbiz? Do I have to get the time for the chat changed? Thank you for your “Personal Stage” contribution, it’s on Pinterest as well, on my “Personal Stage” board. And thank you for visiting here.

  5. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Yes, it’s time I updated my avatar, however I don’t think it’s being quite authentic to trackback close to 20 years with this image of me in a Riva speedboat on Lago Iseo. I should really get JONphoto to do a portrait of me driving the train up the tracks into the uncertain future; but I have to have my red hat so I can recognize myself in a busy twitter stream! I’m happy my fun post makes the point and that many are getting it. Thanks for your comment Mark, always appreciated.

  6. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Peggy thank you so much for commenting. Yes, we need to do a “purple palace” board…… all the components it will take to get just the right purple “personal stage” for you. We may sound like we are joking but fabulous presentation on video is the one I see most lacking today, and it’s a result of everyone can be an instant star! Just think what the Hollywood and TV actors go through to look fab and present themselves in just the right way. Finally I can’t wait to see the unveiling of your “purple palace”

  7. CoCreatr Says:

    Caroline, do not change that #kaizenblog, now #kaizenbiz twitter chat just because I happen to live off the time zone. Come daylight saving time, I might join occasionally. And anyway, having started the KaizenBiz group on Linkedin, we can stay in touch and on topic there, too.


  8. Rebel Brown Says:

    What a lovely post to go with your lovely self! And you have me thinking now – about getting even more fun with my own personal stages.

    Although – that said – I believe SoMe is TOO MUCH of a stage for many. I think one of the downsides of SoMe is that those personal stages can be completely misleading – creating a persona that is anything but reality.

    I supposed I’m touchy about that because I watch so many supposed gooroos put that image out and create their personal stage – based on ego and flagrant SSP – and no real experience or honesty.

    I LOVE great stages. But I also think its important to recognize that the stages created on SoMe are not necessarily reality. I’ve learned that the hard way – trusting the stage and persona – then getting burned by plagiarism, supposed friends who turn out to be con artists or who suddenly dont respond to me if they get “famous”. Such is the down side of humanity when one can HIDE behind a virtual stage.

    I LOVE your article – and my hope is that somewhere down the line we can all put forward our real selves in our personal stages -and then act with honor and integrity from behind them -just as if we were meeting 1:1 offline.

    Love ya!

  9. CASUDI (Caroline Di Diego) Says:

    Bernd ~ Actually I was joking….one of the limits of written communication which would have been less likely to happen if we had been Skyping from our “Personal Stages” ~ however what I’ve learned is if people want to have misunderstandings no format (even real life) will be a deterrent. Thank you so much for setting up the #kazienbiz LI group.

  10. Brian Driggs Says:

    I hadn’t thought about this subject, and yet, I’ve actually thought about it quite a bit. While my video conferencing is still fairly limited to a couple people (none of whom live in the United States), I tend to be sitting in this general area.

    Mixed things up this time, tying this post to my personal automotive adventures if you will. Ironically, my cars’ blog kinda resembles Pinterest, which I’ve yet to do anything with for some strange reason.

    Exit: Stage Left

  11. Lois Geller Says:

    Well Caroline, I think the plastic chair next to the magnificent desk is a wonderful representation of me…as I look so thin, almost transparent.
    I adore the desk and had one like it when I was growing up. Each small compartment had special stationery in it, and my Mom spoiled me by gifting me beautiful pens.

    Love your flair, Caroline, and your beautiful Boards on Pinterest also. How lucky your clients are to work with you!

  12. CASUDI Says:

    REBEL, what was covered rather “fleetingly” in my post ~ homeless dude Skypeing from his personal stage; a corporate jet, is of course a concern for all of us, especially without disclosure! We’ve seen it many times; the social media experts, community managers but where are the clients, the communities? I am sure you give the same advice as I do (we often tweet the same mindset :-) which is do very thorough due diligence, meet in Real Life and sometimes that’s the only eye opener you need!. SoMe is social like a cocktail party (same old, same old analogy) and it is where superficialities take precedent. I joined twitter as a designer, and almost exclusively got “what does a dumb designer know about…..” attitude towards me which changed dramatically when I changed my bio to focus on my Business/ Marketing /PR expertise. How phony is that, since I didn’t change the content of my tweets. Just like a cocktail party, there are those that only give you the “time of day” when they think they can benefit from associating with you, yet I get almost the most satisfaction helping new Twitter & Pinterest strugglers, starting out with low followers and almost non existent “Klout” score :-) That’s where I can personally make the biggest difference for others, which of course doesn’t increase my influence rating:-) Thanks so much for visiting here and making a very important point even clearer. I loved your “personal Stage”

    BRIAN, I really appreciate your honesty and “telling it like it is” at all times, but thought your excruciating honest “Personal Stage” too honest and maybe deceptive :-) It shows your willingness to get totally involved, hands on, hands dirty in a project; but what it doesn’t show is you online community building expertise, your generosity in helping other “Gearheads ” in your roll of “Gearhead Professor” and your writing/blogging talent, one which I greatly respect. Thanks for your continuous support here of Designing Success.

    LOIS, in designing a “Personal Stage” every ingredient CAN tell something, some story about you. I have been telling stories about clients, products and causes for many years. The reason I picked the plexi chair (designed by Architect Phillipe Starck) for your stage was to indicate not only the “established” but also the new, leading edge,something rather different aspect about you.Look how you have embraced SoMe. I only have the one chair but am seriously thinking of a set of 14 for my dining/conference table thinking that this would give a message of transparency to both dinner guests and clients. Thanks for a fabulous and fun online friendship.

  13. Lois K. Geller Says:

    You’re brilliant about the chairs and the message of transparency. I wish you’d put my photo on my stage because I’m invisible, I can’t show this lovely photo on my blog and in social media.
    I think we sent you a photo.
    So delighted with this idea, and our friendship.
    Working on a new book, and you’ll be delighted when you read it.

  14. Donna Frasca Says:

    Clever mind Caroline :-)
    This was a fun post and so refreshing to read. Love your conversational style of writing.

  15. CASUDI Says:

    Check out the NEW instant personal stage opportunities at “Customized Walls”

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