Is “notgartner” good for my personal brand?

Officially at Readify the Marketing Manager role reports to the Chief Technology Officer. It is a curious perversion of an organisational structure that you won’t find in many companies but it kind of makes sense since the CTO role at Readify has a dual focus around delivery of services internally, but also defining the overall technology strategy for the company that we go to the market with.

I’m not a natural marketer, it isn’t something that I studied before coming into the CTO role and for a good part of my career I tolerated interactions with “marketing people” and never would have dreamt that I would have some level of responsibility for the smooth running of a marketing department.

When I first started working with the marketing team I did what any geek would – I started creating systems and inventing processes not spending a lot of time to really understand what the organisation really expects from the department. Whilst I had collaborated with the marketing team in the CTO role I wasn’t initially responsible for the department but the last 12 months has seen me on a real learning curve.

Of course I’ve been doing lots of self study to get a better grip on the problem, actively participated in the process and learnt lots of lessons (made mistakes) and had some wins. More recently Readify has been starting a planning process which defines the vision for the company over the next three years. That is a pretty tough ask given the rate at which technology changes in this business but at that level its more about the structural supports you need to put into the business to support growth and cope with the pain that comes with it.

These recent events have given me cause to go back to some marketing fundamentals and ask some questions about the Readify brand. What is our brand position, what is our brand promise – things of that nature. Whilst I have a relatively good idea of what those things are for Readify (more work to do), it got me thinking about what my own personal brand is.

I’m assuming that my personal brand and its positioning in other peoples mind is a function of the things that I blog about, the topics that I present on in conferences and the direct interactions that I have with individuals. Another part of my personal brand is my brand name “notgartner”, and I am starting to wonder “what’s in a name?”.

Where is all this coming from? Well, I’m starting to wonder whether it is time to leave “notgartner” behind and start to take some specific steps to reposition myself (and name is important in that).

What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Is “notgartner” good for my personal brand?

  1. timothylakeman

    In my opinion, Personal Branding is all about an individual’s reputation; difference; and unique value proposition. Much like a business brand it needs to be consistent when networking; leading others; and writing/speaking. Most of all it needs to illicit a positive experience. Therefore, reposition yourself and lay to rest an old friend.

  2. David Connors

    To answer your titular question: No.

    You’re in a position where CxOs probably will research you. Said CxOs may also subscribe to gartner reports and/or enjoy their events.

    You’d be better off being apolitical and using mitchdenny.com as a domain name. Know your customer and all that jazz.

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi Jonathan,

    Originally I hadn’t intended to create a blog with the domain name. Rather it was the result of a rather infuriating discussion with a customer once about the merits of developing an application with a .NET front-end and a J2EE backend because “.NET wasn’t mature enough”. This was in about 2003-2004.

    Anyway – when I delved deeper I learnt that they had gotten this recommendation out of a Gartner report. I pointed out that by choosing two different technologies arbitrarily like that would increase the number of skills required to complete the project, introduce complexity around interoperability and probably cost them more in licensing.

    The customer was insistent that the Gartner report was providing good advice. I retorted that I doubt the Gartner analyst that wrote the report had ever written a line of code in their life. That evening I registered the domain name.

    Perhaps that is part of the reason I’m considering retiring the blog, it was somewhat petulant of me🙂

  4. Wile Coyote

    Mitch, I have known you a long time and I have always respected you and your work ethic. Notgartner is something I just accepted about you, and while my viewpoint is less professional than those above, it is this.

    You need to have an extremely good reason to reinvent yourself. It needs to be deeper than a “Marketing Issue”.

    I am somewhat older than you are, and this year I decided to go back to uni… You know I went from 130kg to 90kg by changing my lifestyle totally. My reason was that if I continued on that path I was going to kill myself.

    Its interesting that a “Marketing” situation has led you down a path of questioning your position. You will eventually arrive at the question “Is life trying to send me a message?” Really intelligent people do this sort of thing A LOT! You can analyse the hell out of it, but going with your gut is what I recommend.

    I will miss Notgartner but it will not change my respect for you. I you wanna catch up for a coffee and a chat, that would be good too.

  5. william tulloch (@wtulloch)

    Tough call. I personally always liked the name and what it implied. But it is true that choices made in the heat of the moment don’t always have a great shelf life. That being said a name is just a name it’s what we do with it that really counts and in the end that is how it is associated.
    I think the issue here is not one of personal branding ( though that has to be taken into account) but of your own sense of identity; does “NotGartner” ecapsulate who you are. The indicators are that this is no longer the case and if that is so change is the way to go.

  6. Graeme Strange (@GiStrange)

    Mitch Denny is a stronger brand anyway Mitch. You are not NotGartner in the sense that you don’t disagree with everything they say and being anti Gartner isn’t what you are about. Make the change – I’ll still follow you🙂

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