A Quick Lesson in Branding: The One and Only You

How many brands do you have? There’s your professional one for starters and then your personal one but that’s separate and different, right? Um, not exactly.

According to a piece published yesterday on PRWeek, Peter Shankman, small business evangelist at Vocus, makes the argument that everything we post online — whether we think it’s professional or personal — is personal. In the piece, he states:

“Every single day, someone directs me to their LinkedIn profile to learn more about them. You know what I do when they do that? I go right to Facebook and search on their name there. Why? Because I know they’re on their best behavior on LinkedIn, but on Facebook, they’re going to be “real.” Guess what? I’m not the only person who thinks this way.”

Shankman points out in his post that “every last photo, comment, and check-in” essentially encompasses the brand.

And although social media provides a vehicle to display ourselves down to each and every comment, technically offline we’re not disconnected to our authentic one and only selves. The work day is not confined by specific hours within a day or walls within an office. In essence, we’re never not “on.”

In the post he added, “Let’s face it: You don’t “shut off” at 5:30 p.m. If you’re a spokesperson for a company, what makes you any less that spokesperson simply because it’s 1:30 a.m. and you’ve had nine tequila shots? Nothing. You need to be smarter. I’m not saying don’t have fun – but I am saying you need to be aware that everything you do, both on the clock and off, affects your brand. And your brand is all you have.”