I wrote a rhyme the other day about personal brands. As I said in the article personal branding was in debate at the time: does personal brands exist? Some said no, it was solely for companies. Others said yes because of blogging. I have a simple stance about brands. A brand means someone recognizes a name, symbol, logo, etc. For companies it can be their logo, for a blogger it can simply be the name they blog under. If I hear a company name, a person’s name, see a logo, a site design, etc. and I can associate with a specific person or company, to me they’ve made a “brand” – something recognizable whether that was their intent or not. When I hear “gay for the iPhone” I think John Gruber or Daring Fireball because that is the tag line. I recognize the logo on the site. I recognize his site design too. Let someone copy the dark gray/white style site design and people will be all over the person doing it. Many bloggers fall into the “having a logo” pool simply because the design or template they use had one.
Personal brands are emerging. That’s the way it is.
Unfortunately, they can work against a person. See, once one becomes “known” for something, it is hard to change someone’s opinion of you, especially if the person is a stranger. An example, I was talking to a friend of mine and he showed me the Twitter profile of a girl he said was cute. I took one look at the profile and cracked up laughing. My friend is not a talker, he doesn’t engage in “chit chat”. He prefers high-level conversations. The profile he showed me was of a female posting something on Twitter about 10 times an hour, for at least 8 hours a day. Because Twitter combines tweets it can be difficult sometimes to notice someone talking so much so her tweets were buried many times. He had no idea she was talking so much. People looking at her profile will think she’s a talker because of her behavior online.
Another example: allegedly someone made a comment as Loren Feldman on TechCrunch. Loren said it wasn’t him. The problem: his “brand” is snark so no one thought twice IF it was Loren. When he said it wasn’t him, no one really cared. That’s a reality that can happen to any of us.
And that’s the point of my post. Many people are not thinking about the repercussions of their actions online. If you go around saying “I agree, I agree” and nothing else, don’t be surprised if your “brand” or reputation is “ass-kisser”. If you have more ads on your site than content, don’t be surprised…well…if that happens odds are people won’t be reading your site and no one will care who you are, what you’re doing or what you’re saying TO create a brand or reputation.
What your brand is and what you want to project online are two different things. Thinking what you project online doesn’t affect your brand is foolish unless no one is paying attention to what you are saying.
It is the online way to speak differently behind one’s back than when interacting face to face but that is another topic for another day.