Orly Zeewy is an attention hog. Her goal is to make you one.
The Wynnewood resident is a brand architect who for years has helped big companies and institutions get products and services noticed. Among her clients over the years have been Cigna, Kraft Foods, and the University of Pennsylvania.
As the economy has trended from industrial to entrepreneurial, Zeewy's focus has followed the shift. A professor at the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship at Drexel University, she lectures on the importance of brand identity to start-ups, and the need for founders of those new businesses to be sure of the answers to two questions: "Who are you?" and "Who are they?" They being the customers the businesses want to serve.
Among the start-ups she has helped is Boost Linguistics, Philadelphia-based platform developers using artificial intelligence to help marketers more effectively communicate with their target audiences.
"Her understanding that branding is something that needs to be created and cultivated with intention has had a lasting impact," said Ethan Bresnahan, a cofounder of Boost who took one of Zeewy's classes at Drexel.
Zeewy is also a consultant for those just out of college. Her reason is hard to blow off if you're hoping to be employed: "If you don't have a personal brand, it's almost impossible to stand out in the job market."
An observation Zeewy made in 20 years of working in the print industry – "the total lack of clarity" of many business brochures – influenced her migration to personal branding in 2002. By that time, websites had emerged as the new "brochure."
"If you don't have clarity on your website, it is much more damaging because people spend 10 seconds on the home page before they decide on a go/no-go," Zeewy said. "It's unforgiving."
Following are excerpts from a recent question-and-answer session:
We are in this incredible time, which really has not happened since the advent of the printing press. The way that we communicate is completely, radically changed forever. We're being messaged at 12,000 messages a day. In 1985, the number was 1,500. The only way you're going to be able to cut through that noise is you have to have something worthwhile to say.
The future of work is changing. We've been becoming more entrepreneurial. Employers are looking for people who can be hybrid thinkers. The entrepreneur is not looking for a square peg that's going to fit in a square spot. From a personal-branding standpoint, that is how you immediately establish how you're different. It's the only way to become competitive, and the only way you're going to go from being invisible to what all recruiters will reach out to.