Humanizing the LinkedIn Brand

Brand identity expert David Brier takes a look at what LinkedIn could do to let its hair down and increase its cool factor to its over 90 million members.

"I'd like to add you to my network...."

Don't get me wrong. I dig LinkedIn and see they are, as a brand, taking more steps to be real in terms of user needs, business needs and branding needs.

After all, LinkedIn is the largest business-centric online network with over 90 million members in over 200 countries.

In or Out?
For instance, I really like their new beta for companies. I still don't understand why I cannot attach files for members of my group Brands That Defy Gravity. This group (which is an Open group by the way which means if you're reading this, I have no doubt you'll qualify) is a very visual group so how about being able to send an attachment versus having to resort to links? That leaves me feeling "linked out."

Let's Get Real
One area I see that could use a total overhaul is the default options I am given when I am introducing myself to someone to add them to my network.

These options are as exciting as getting myself photographed for my driver's license:

C'mon LinkedIn! This almost makes the idea of filling out a tax return seem exciting. Even contemplating speaking at a convention for librarians seems a bit more thrilling.

You've got 90 million people whose lives could be brightened up with a bit more imagination. Maybe we could at least have the option of personalizing our own default options so it's not so... flat. (Heck, I've even had to LIE to people saying I knew them because it was the closest option to the truth, as in, "I've read something you wrote, therefore we're practically family...." But, it was better than "I don't know Stacy.")

While the following is quite adventurous, I as a recipient would at least be interested in finding out more about this person if I received this instead:

It Made You Smile, Didn't It?
That's my point.

LinkedIn, at least having the option of personalizing, humanizing and thereby liberating your 90 million users would make your brand the hero. Some people sing, "We don't need another hero" but being able to add some of one's personality to a brand such as yours, that's the kind of linking that's very in.

Oh I almost forgot. I would be very remiss if I didn't share my LinkedIn link here. Thanks LinkedIn.

Recipient of over 320 national and international design and branding recognitions and awards, David Brier is an award-winning brand identity designer, author, and branding expert. His firm's work has won the admiration of peers and organizations but has, more importantly, helped clients jump-start their brands in new and innovative ways, even (and especially) when they've failed in previous brand makeovers. Most recently, David's celebrated work for Botanical Bakery was selected for the 2010 Communication Arts Design Annual and will be featured in "The Big Book of Packaging."

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