Archive for October, 2010

Personal Brands: Anti-Social Media

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Bad EmployeeApparently, it is impossible to police every member of your company when it comes to stopping rude, disgusting, or ridiculous behavior. I think it’s fair to say that no matter what policies your management establishes, there are some people who remain too depraved or too stupid, or simply have too much time on their hands.

And, I don’t mean entry-level employees, junior managers, the wacky creative people, or the account executives on the road. Those are the usual suspects when we think of poor social media behavior, or the dark elves who forward off-color jokes and send pornography from company owned computers. We constantly lecture low-level and mid-level employees about what you may email or post, since everything becomes public at some point in time.

Of course, pundits like me worry aloud that your personal brand is permanently corrupted because you’re tagged dancing with a bear in Cabo.

They walk among us

Well, stupid is an equal opportunity employer. Sometimes, it’s the guy at the very top that ruins it for everyone. Consider Randy Michaels, CEO of the Tribune Company – at least until last Friday.

Michaels created a “fraternity house” culture. Sounds like a fun big brand to link up with your personal brand, huh? No. At least not for women, and anyone with a sense of decency – much less the laws about creating a hostile work environment.

Just in case the Tribune Company, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection for two years and is crushed by a failed $8.2 billion buyout, doesn’t have enough real problems, we now have bad behavior at the very top, dripping down.

“A top lieutenant sent an internal memo with an Internet link featuring a racy video that included a bare-breasted woman pouring booze down her chest. The executive, Lee Abrams, resigned as Tribune Co.’s chief innovation officer,” per the Huffington Post, Friday, October 22, 2010.

With a title like “chief innovation officer,” you’d guess that social media and marketing and online distribution had to be part of Abrams’ assignment. Well, he clearly understands the concept of an email campaign. He just has no judgment when it came to the content of an email campaign.

The Tribune Co. publishes the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and owns more than 20 radio and television stations.

Reputation woes

Here’s why Michaels and Abrams ruin it for all o f us. Our news outlets are shrinking. Every major news operation has cut back and many have folded. That means we know less and less about what is going on around the world, in our own countries and in our communities.

Could there be a worse time to put the US on a news deprivation diet? No. In the face of the historic credit meltdown that we served up for the world and the evils we face: terrorism in Europe, genocide in the Congo, someone who claims she was a witch before running a neck and neck race in Nevada with the current Senate Majority Leader in the US Congress…..well, the list is pretty long when it comes to what we need to know that we can’t see with our own eyes. That would require news, real news.

I was hoping that Jon Stewart, tweets in Iran, and the Ashton Kutcher-Demi Moore family were not going to be the funnels through which I understood the world.

But with morons at the top of two major US newspapers sending pornography to each other rather than working on staying solvent, I’m now getting my news from Tweetdeck and the Daily Show.

Personal brands: you are often accused (sometimes by me) of forgetting how you hurt your reputation as well as the companies you work for, when you act imprudently.

That doesn’t mean your brand has to include prude. It just has to rise about emailing pornography, apparently. 

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Personal Brands: Time to LICK Q

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

cat-licking-his-lips-and-nose-photographic-print-19418381Last evening, I delivered my signature personal branding keynote to 300+ people. My signature topic is: The Ugly Truth About Your Reputation. Because this audience is so diverse in terms of careers and use of social media, I developed a simple four attribute model we all can use to measure, create and manage our personal brands.

Four attributes

I’m calling it the LICK Q model, because that is the perfect acronym to sum up the values of all the factors. Q stands for quotient – as in intelligence quotient (IQ).

So what is your LICK Q? Judge for yourself. The attributes are:

  • Like-ability
  • Intelligence
  • Communication
  • Kick in the Head

Let’s take one at a time.

LIKE: Do we like you? We might respect you, fear you or have to share a wall with you – but that doesn’t mean we like you. People who are likeable are accessible, sunny, interested in others, have a natural generosity, make sure there’s rarely a conversation that’s a one-way street, have charisma, are self-respecting, engage in work and play they find compelling, and make other people feel good.

       I have hundreds of FB friends. I really like 7 of them. You know who you are. Others are okay or just plain boring. Some whine. One is so self-congratulatory as to be insufferable. Before their appearances on FB, I kinda liked them all. Now, as our personal brands play out by our own hands, we’re finding out whom we would throw out of the lifeboat first.

INTELLIGENCE: Do we think you are smart? Intelligence in social media plays out as your ability share an original thought. At least find a new quotation source and stop beating us over the head with what Zig Ziglar said in 1955. My apologies, once again, to the Ziglar family.

       It’s not only your ability to pundit in your area of expertise. How often do you go to a different tribe and bring new perspective to the curly-haired or women over 40 looking for romance? Think about it. Do you apply what you know in a way that engages us in novel thinking?

COMMUNICATION: Is it easy for us to understand what you have to say? Do you use word pictures, metaphors, analogies, alliteration, and reasonably good grammar? Can you spell? Do you write with a degree of appreciation for the space and forum? Crisply making your case is not just for Twitter or any other limiting media. We all adore the people who let a photo and a caption speak for them.

       Are you over-communicating? One quarter of the people I know from social media, I know a little bit too well. No one needs to know what your baby came up with that landed on your shirt before you left for work.

KICK IN THE HEAD: That’s personal branding at work. Have you created a persona so clear, crisp, consistent, and compelling – and done it relentlessly as you move from social media to phone calls, emails, meetings, conversations and presentations – that the moment I seek an answer, consultant, employee or supplier that’s anything close to what you do: I feel a kick in my head that has your name ramming into it?

       Everyone needs a kick in the head once in a while. It means we are shaking up the old solutions and searching for the new. That’s your opportunity in so many instances, if you’ve been all about personal branding.

Your LICK Q is in Your Hands

The ugly truth about your reputation is that you are now the architect of it. There is no one else to blame. If you are not demonstrating all four attributes, get on track and stay on track. The beauty of social media is with every post, blog, tweet, update, and comment you can restructure our opinion of you.

Personal Brands, succinctly put: do we want to lick, growl, howl or bite you?


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Personal Brands: Stop, Stop, Stop

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

1209407_stopAt the Personal Branding Bootcamp I ran at UCLA this last weekend, we focused more on crafting an authentic and compelling brand promise than we did on the tactics of social media and other ways you relentlessly go about letting the world know who you are.

Having given the inaugural camp six months ago, it occurred to me that we keep on you to blog, post, update your FB status, tweet, retweet and direct message, write a book, write an ebook, get subscribers, produce a slideshare presentation, get a blogtalkradio show going, get your video channel on YouTube and your photos on Flckr, take a head shot, and create a profile on 400 social media sites, plus make 4 million connections by the third degree of separation on LinkedIn. But we rarely talk about formulating your brand.

We presuppose you have a personal brand like we presume you have a belly button.

What is your brand?

But that’s simply not the case for the great majority of people who are being thrust into social media. I know there’s a school of thought that says to throw the baby in the pool and it will learn to swim by necessity, but we know that’s not true. Why are we immersing you in dangerous territory that writes your reputation with indelible ink on servers around the world that forever hold your worst moments?

We should be helping you reveal who you are: values wise, skills wise and otherwise.  We should help you identify your tribes and their unmet needs, and see your competition.

Instead you’re encouraged – actually threatened – that if you don’t get on now (or any one of the 4,000 new networking sites that will rear their content sucking monster heads soon), you’ll never be Chris Brogan who leapt onto Twitter really early on and now has 156,433 followers! Of course, he is forced to see the tweets of the 139,811 people he follows. And, he’s had to come up with 75,125 tweets.

75,000 thoughts

I don’t know if I’ve had 75,000 thoughts since Twitter debuted! And, I’m getting married soon, so how would I come up with enough appetizers for 140,000 people, even if I did the tacky thing of making it a cash bar? If you do a wedding tweet-up, undoubtedly people will expect refreshments!

All by way of saying: stop being afraid that all the good personal brands are taken, you’ll never have a dot com and be stuck with a dot biz, or no one will ever hire you if you don’t have a video resume streaming from a drupal site you designed and manage yourself.

Just slow down and start with the first big question you must answer before you can create your brand. This question stumped most of my bootcampers, so you don’t have hit the buzzer and shout out an answer. It may take time.

When I say to you:

“I have the perfect opportunity for you!”

What is it?

Then consider:

Who has it?

Who competes for it?

What makes you the ideal thought-leader and lucky person who gets to do exactly what you want because it suits you so perfectly?

What additional steps, skills and qualities do you need to embody so you are ready?

Or in a nutshell: You are getting a lifetime achievement award. What it’s for? That’s your personal brand.


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