Here at Media Minefield, it seems we are always talking about brand. Our brand, our clients’ brands, the brand that guy on TV is reinforcing right now. Then, we stopped to think; does everyone know what we mean by brand? And who should really be paying attention to their own brand?
The answer, simply, is everyone. We all have a brand. The dictionary defines it as, “a particular identity or image.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos refers to brand as, “what people say about you when you are not in the room.” You may not be thinking about cultivating your own brand, but you should be, no matter what your age or stage in the business world, whether you are at the office or on social media.
Your personal brand starts to form on day one of your first job. Your actions and reactions determine how you are viewed as an employee and coworker. Young business professionals these days are saddled with the “millennial” title, which often comes with negative connotations. By focusing on building a reliable, accountable, professional brand, you are building your future.
The line between our work and personal life is fading thanks to social media. That’s why we encourage you to keep your overall brand in mind, even when posting outside of work. If your bosses were following you on Twitter, would you be embarrassed by what they read? Worse, could it put your job in jeopardy?
The Face of the Company
Like it or not, the CEO and high-level executives often become the face of a company and that means your personal brand is always on display. In many cases, the company’s brand and the CEO’s brand become interchangeable. For this reason, we tell our executive clients they need to always be brand-aware, making decisions based on who they are and how they want to be seen. They need to realize their brand can directly impact their company’s bottom line.
For executives, one wrong move can be career ending. Take the CBS executive who was quickly fired for disparaging comments she made about the victims of the Las Vegas shooting rampage on her personal Facebook page. Her page was personal, but her comment is a reflection of her brand and her company’s brand. We advise our clients to check their privacy settings and to keep business and personal posts separate. We also warn them when it comes to the internet, nothing is really private. Before you post anything, think about your business and your audience. One post can, and has, destroyed a business or career.
A Famous Face
Perhaps no one should think of themselves as a brand more than a celebrity or professional athlete. Their brand is often directly linked to their livelihood. Actors get parts based on their brand – are they difficult to work with or unreliable? Athletes get deals based on their brand. This isn’t to say your brand has to be “soft.” Take Josh Norman and Dez Bryant. The controversial NFL stars had a war of words off the field. Their competitiveness and trash talking is part of their brands – and it actually landed them both commercials with Samsung where they poke fun at their rivalry. As a famous face, a consistent and authentic brand leads to fans and deals.
Just like a CEO, the social media accounts of a celebrity should support their brand. As we have told the professional athletes we have worked with, make your mom proud!
Love it or hate it, none of us can afford to turn our backs on our personal brand. We recommend you embrace it, and put your best (brand) face forward.