Tag Archives: Brand

Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?

Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?
A few weeks ago, a few social media consultants and myself were having a spirited discussion regarding solo-preneur to micro to small business growing pains. What some of us were really saying was: I’m starting to feel that owning my own business isn’t fun anymore, I think I like working as a consultant better.We toyed around with the idea out loud and with others like was it time to get a full-time job? And if it was, could having a gigantic personal brand do more harm than good? Could my personal brand actual scare away potential employers?Is this really possible, I thought. I had spent the last three years or so, building a personal brand that stood for something and reaping – what I believed were — the benefits of a strong online and offline reputation. I never considered the possibility that  my persona brand could be too big for an employer?

Of course everyone from Katie Couric to Angela An and every other news caster, employment counselor and economist has talked about the importance of networking and building a brand. But what if the opposite can be true, with potential employers declining to meet with you because your brand is too big?

We speculated about the negatives of hiring someone with an inflated personal brand. Someone in the company — presumably a decision maker — doesn’t like you because of some inflammatory remarks you made at a speaking engagement.

Especially at a small business or startup, the president may be concerned that by hiring you, your brand will overshadow the company. We also speculated as to whether or not, expectations of what you can do and accomplish are inflated because of your larger than life online persona.

Clearly that conversation got me thinking. So, I reached out to someone who I know works with small businesses and asked what she thought about the question: Can a strong personal brand scare away a potential employer?

Here’s some of what Andrea Applegate of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce had to say on the subject.

Regardless of your occasional tech and social media savvy lawyer or nurse,most small business owners really don’t know much about social media. She continues, “technology, PR, marketing, or youth oriented industries are the types of small business owners that are well versed in social media.”

Andrea notes that since, “small businesses in other industries don’t even understand social media, so it (the killer social media brand you’ve been cultivating) is meangingless to them.”

Here’s the real dagger in your social media lovin’ heart: According to Andrea, “most small businesses and startups have no real understanding of how powerful social media can be and is.”

Although this is good news of sorts. I mean if you decide to hang up your consultant lifestyle for a straighter laced existence, then working with a startup or small business feels like less of a sell out — over working for the man and going straight corporate.

But that brings to light another problem: My potential audience may not have any idea about me and my awesomeness? Now what do I do.

According to Andrea Applegate — it’s time to get integrated. Since many business owners have their finger on what’s happening in their industry — start working traditional reputation building channels as well.

Social media my not be the first place your audience turns for everything from coupons to daily news, said Andrea “you have to distinguish yourself as an expert in your filed using traditional mechanisms (like speaking at conferences, writing white papers, etc.) because these activites have a higher value for these employers.”

Whoa, so you’re advice to consultants thinking about getting a 9 to 5 gig with a small business or start up generally is to go integrate old school reputation management with new school personal branding methods. That’s great advice! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but valuable nonetheless.

What do you think? Is this sounds advice to consider, or B.S.? Are you thinking if the company doesn’t get social media is it not the right place for you to begin with (I admit that’s my gut reaction =)


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Don’t Live Through Your Own Marc Jacobs Twitter-Intern-Fiasco

So, Marc Jacobs, beloved clothing apparel retailed is doing damage control for a little Twitter-Intern-Fiasco. Some genius within the Jacobs organization broke the cardinal rule of social media management: Thou Shall Not Hand Over Twitter to Intern.

What this person didn’t realize or rather care to realize is this intern was not a big Twitter fan or user. In fact, said intern didn’t want any thing to do with the official Marc Jacobs Twitter account stream and used the platform as an opportunity to bite the hand that feeds (or maybe not) them. So, there are so many things wrong in this situation.

I can only cover a few here so this is what I’ve got to say about how to successfully manage company social media.

Rule #1: Don’t be an idiot and hand over the social media brand account to an inexperienced intern

I continue running into poor, misguided souls that have basically watched too many 20/20 reports on Gen Y and now believes that every person under 25 texts more than talks, and manages social media from their mobile device. Perhaps that’s true in your case, but do you know if they would enjoy doing that for a brand? Have you considered what is also apparent among Gen Yers — they may be experienced users of social media networks, but have no clue about successfully leveraging social media to achieve specific business goals.

Now, may be you are one of the lucky ones. You’ve found that rare, diamond in the rough. That clearly understands social media beyond posting messages that should be removed by Texts From Last Night. Great. Now see Rule #2.

Rule #2: Don’t leave the inexperienced intern to create messages without supervision and approval

This seems like a no-brainer, but clearly needs to be said. If you really want to test your interns social media chops — and provide them a learning opportunity, a novel idea — assign them the task of writing out Twitter and Facebook messages, links included for a week or month at a time. Perhaps your social media strategy doesn’t include a specified (minimum) number of messages you want to go out everyday (hint, hint, it should). Plus, what we know about Facebook‘s algorithms is that more messages with video and picture links appear more often in user’s newsfeeds more frequently. Does your intern know that? If not, this is where the training begins. Additionally, by tasking this person with the responsiblity of writing messages that are submitted for prior approval says someone is reviewing what they are posting on behalf of the company. Now, if you’re not watching — like Marc Jacobs — but care, then you’re sending mixed messages. If you aren’t watching and don’t care then don’t raise hell when you don’t get the kind of messages or engagement that you originally imagined. And unlike fetching coffee or making copies, this is a learning activity that counts and is meaningful.

Rule #3: Free social media should still cost you

I’m sure you’ve heard this before too, but Social media is free — the human resource to do it is not. In my opinion, the biggest mistake any company can make is to hand over their official brand accounts to a professionally inexperienced person. I mean let’s be honest, would you want the pharmacist or the lab tech filling your vital life saving prescriptions? If your answer to this question is the pharmacist because they have gone to school longer, have a certification, passed medical training and the like, the same rules apply. The intern in this situation is the tech, and they are likely not professionally or intellectually ready to manage your brand voice independently.


Posted by on March 29, 2011 in business, communication, social media


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PERSONAL BRANDING: 5 Ways to Start Branding Yourself Today

Sales Institute of Ireland: Personal Branding ...

Image by Krishna De via Flickr

I’ve noticed an interesting trend in the people I’ve met with over the past few weeks. People are asking more and more questions about personal branding? For example, I’ve fielded questions like:

Where do I start with personal branding?

What am I supposed to be branding myself as?

How do I know if I’m doing it right?

If you havn’t been living under a rock, you know that the current state of the job market has changed. Gone are the days when the single PR person or Communication Division of an organization can be held solely responsible for operating as the voice of an organization or company.

Personal branding is a hot topic because in this job market is not forgiving. Regardless of your organizational role — you need to be developing and maintaining a compelling personal brand.

So, on to the good stuff: PERSONAL BRANDING: 5 Ways to Start Branding Yourself Today.

1. Determine how you want people to describe you

The biggest challenge to personal branding is deciding how you describe you — and more importantly: How you hope others describe you. Think of it this way: Your good friend is describing you to someone that they think might be a good contact for you both. What do you think this person says about you in a short 5 minute phone conversation?

If you imagine this person searching for the “best” or “right” words to describe you because they aren’t sure what you do, then you might benefit from some personal branding work. Consider identifying 2-4 key professional and personal interest areas — that may or may not overlap with your professional interests.

2. Utilize a Venue for Others to Know You

In the digital age, personal branding is a lot easier than it use to be. In addition to speaking publicly, writing books, and networking, people can create and execute a personal branding using a variety of social media outlets. Whether you create a blog to speak about your the professional and personal interest areas you have identified, or Twitter to alert others of important industry news and developments — personal branding does not work without a venue for others to know you. So, take the leap!

3. Create or Update A LinkedIn Profile

Although some use LinkedIn as a place to have a digital resume — LinkedIn offers much, much more than that. As the professional’s social network, LinkedIn is where you can do a lot of personal branding work in a concentrated way and to a receptive audience. Be sure to take advantage of the many features to enhance your LinkedIn profile so that it features more than your employment history.

Remember, it’s a social network and can regularly feature fresh content such as SlideShare presentations, books selections, Twitter updates and more. For more information about LinkedIn review: 25 Tips for Effective Online Networking using LinkedIn and Twitter and LinkedIn and Twitter: Why the New Application Rocks.

4. Start Blogging

Of the range of social media opportunities available out there, I seem to get the most adverse reactions to blogging. Frequently people respond to the suggestion to start with blogging first, What would I write about? Then, people ask: How often do you think I should write? Finally, individuals typically round out their resistance by stating: Well, I don’t have time to blog.

Although there are plenty of reasons to hesitate diving into the blogging deep end — ultimately blogging is a great personal branding tool. Whether it’s short term — for the purposes of finding a new position, or long term — with the goal to monetize your venture, blogging can do loads for your personal brand.

5. Be a Resource Person

Let’s face it, not too many people like to be sold to. When someone is ready to purchase that’s when they want to be sold  to — therefore, engaging in shameless self promotion is not the best strategy to employ as you begin your personal branding venture. So, consider using the 80/20 rule for social media content. 80% of your content is made up of industry news and information or the like, while 20% of your content is about you and what you’re doing. Check out: 5 Ways to Create Engaging Content,


Posted by on October 17, 2010 in business, Networking, social media


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