SEO and Personal Brand is not dead. If you innovate.

Two very close friends of mine have made blanket statements stating that SEO is Dead and that, in essence, so is personal brand.

Though I understand the sentiment expressed in both posts, it is still misinformation and very debunk-able. Micah Baldwin, who thinks SEO is dead, also happens to be my boss at Lijit. Geoff Livingston, happens to be my roommate. So I tread lightly in both cases.

Let’s go back to prohibition where, unlike today, companies were not simply told to adjust how they do things or risk a failure – they were told that they could not do their business.

Big beer companies like Yuengling and Anheuser-Busch were faced with traumatic decisions that demanded them to adjust to a changed landscape. Much like the SEO business and Personal Brand in a down economy, people can either fail or adapt.

In the case of Yuengling, they brewed near-beers (beers under the minimum alcohol by volume (ABV) levels that would be considered non-alcoholic beer today) and provided ingredients and instructions for mail-order home brews. When prohibition was repealed by the 24th Amendment, these companies who adapted were positioned best to move in and dominate the landscape.

While personal brand can certainly be a bugaboo and is certainly not something that anyone should assume will be an easy coat-tail ride, personal brand does not guarantee anything.

However, the reputation that someone with personal brand can leverage is extremely important. That ability to negotiate, converse, discuss and work on deals on an individual level is something that can position a person to rebound fairly quickly in a down economy.

As in any market, there are corrections. Maybe the personal branding “market” or the SEO industry as it is today is a little hyperinflated. A correction is certainly in order. However, that correction brings out the best in those areas and those who survive are positioned best at the end.

I will agree with Geoff that having intrinsic value to backup personal brand is extremely important for survival. Talkers are important though, as they are the ideas people. Eliminating talkers is a sure fire way to squelch innovation during a down economy – exactly the wrong thing to do.

Intrinsically, there is still a high premium on personal brand. Likewise, SEO is very important for marketing. In both cases, these things probably need a correction to procure a more pure form of business though. Those who adapt will survive. Those who do not and continue to try to live life as normal… Well, see ya later, alligator.

Confirmed: Livingston Communications Acquired by Social Media Group

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smglc.pngThere’s been a few rumors floating around the past few days and over the weekend. We can confirm that Livingston Communications, a boutique social PR firm based in the DC-area and owned by Geoff Livingston (also my cohost on The District of Corruption), has been acquired by Toronto-based Social Media Group headed by rockstar CEO Maggie Fox. The financial terms have not been disclosed.

Notably, as part of this acquisition, SMG is also acquiring the property rights for Blog Potomac driving those of us who are looking for community events free of Public Relations batty, and not in a Christian Bale sort of way.

Geoff will become the Executive Vice President, Americas for SMG and continue to run operations out of Washington D.C.

As a past frequent traveller, I can make recommendations for hotels in the Toronto area. I’m presuming, Geoff, you’ll be making many trips.

BlogPotomac Registration Open

BlogPotomac is coming to Northern Virginia on June 13th and now registration is open. I will be there live blogging the event for District of Corruption and the price is reasonable for the speakers you’re getting. Lionel Menchaca from Direct2Dell, Dell’s social media outlet, will be keynoting and other known names (and friends of mine) are Frank Gruber from AOL and POP! PR Jots. You might miss Jeremy, if you didn’t know he was there, because he’s, like, 3′ tall. :-)

At any rate, this event is shaping up to be pretty good. It is focused around marketing and social media so it will attract those types, I believe. It’s a nice supplement to the social media community that is already here. I would like to see a major destination event similar to Gnomedex in the Greater Washington area though. This is not it, but it still looks very good.