Here at Media Minefield, it seems like 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 is everyone. We all have a brand. A “brand” is more than just a business buzzword. 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. If you don’t take control and define your own brand, someone else will for you. In order to build a positive online presence, you need to invest in the face of your brand.
As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The same is true for your online presence. 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. 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? Everything that is put on social media, even if deleted, can potentially undermine your message or ruin your credibility.
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 their personal brand is always on display. In many cases, the company’s brand and the CEO’s brand become interchangeable. According to Forbes, a CEO’s reputation is directly responsible for 44% of a company’s market value.
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. Their brand can directly impact their company’s bottom line. A recent study shows that 81% of the top-performing companies in the U.S. and Europe are led by CEOs who prioritize active communication. Consumers use social media to better understand the companies they buy from and the brands they choose to support, including the leaders that represent these brands. Ignoring their online presence can be a fatal mistake for executives.
For executives, one wrong move on social media can be career-ending. We recommend that our clients check their privacy settings and 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
A celebrity or professional athlete’s brand is often directly linked to their livelihood. We recognize celebrities and professional athletes not only for their talent but also for the values and ideas they represent. 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 are part of their brand - 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, don’t change who you are; just make sure to put out a version of yourself that you are proud of.
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.