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Branding is not a dirty word

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Show notes

We have a love/hate relationship with branding, as in: we love to use branding to share the goods [like ripe, local scicomm peaches! 🍑] while we loathe some aspects of the system branding happens in.

But, we talk to lots of people who feel that branding themselves or their work is moldy-peach gross. 🤢

Plus, branding seems to run counter to traditional science assumptions:

  • Results are supposed to speak for themselves.

  • Spinning someone’s perception borders on unethical.

  • Anything worth branding should be compelling enough on its own, without any marketing.

We get where that comes from. We were trained that way, too.

But, we say a big pie-in-the-face NO! 🥧 to those assumptions.

We argue that:

  1. Scientific processes help us strive for objectivity in research processes, yes. But, science isn’t neutral even if we want it to be.

  2. Deciding if something is compelling or not is rooted in our individual values, which vary from person to person.

  3. Avoiding branding doesn’t mean that your thing emerges unbranded- instead it means that you’re letting dominant science narratives or your institute assign the branding.

  4. Science mentors must advise their trainees on marketing and career advancement in the context of unjust systems.

Examine your own relationship with branding:

  1. Why is it easier to market your work than it is to market yourself?

  2. What concrete steps can you take right now to practice getting comfortable marketing yourself (who can you talk to or get feedback from, what materials will you share with them, etc.)?

Listen to the full episode for:

  • Why we embrace branding and why we think some folks we work with don’t feel great about it

  • What we think about fame (bring it on!)

  • How Virginia is trying to view negative responses to her personal brand as a sign of success

  • How Bethann advises early career scientists about branding given unjust societal constructs

Thanks for listening! Let’s keep this convo rolling: we’ll do peach pie, you bring coffee! ☕️

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