I just received some of the best advice I've had in a long time from fellow blogger David St. Lawrence. His suggestion to reveal more of my personality on my blog (since that's what blogs are for!) addressed something I'd been thinking about for some time, both for my offline and online world. I often point prospective clients, as well as members of presentation audiences, to my blog as an example of the many-to-many online trend, plus to show how bloggers are often negating the sanitized marketing messages of corporations. So, it hasn't been easy for me to walk that fine line between being professional while 'unsanitizing' my own message and letting my own authenticity shine through. But this is nothing new... in the real world, I find I have the often have the same challenge. As an only-child military brat, I grew up into a very independent and somewhat difficult-to-know adult. As I mentioned to David, I think I'm going to learn more through blogging than I'd ever expected!
So if a corporate brand is an idea in the minds of customers, then a personal brand is the idea of me in the minds of everyone I come in contact with. So I've been asking myself, what is my own personal brand? And I realize now that I can't stop at simply defining my brand; for if I keep half my brand attributes hidden, then the idea formed in the minds of others won't reflect my true nature. I think this goes back to honesty, transparency and authenticity in the corporate branding world, of which so many companies are afraid. And many (probably most) individuals are as well.
I like the recent post on BrandAutopsy on Executives are Blogging. My theory is that executives are concerned about the same thing as I am: they're so tightly linked with their companies, they're apprehensive about letting personality and personal viewpoints shine through without somehow tainting the corporate brand. And yet some of the best brands are those where personality does shine through. Far from tainting the brand, quirky and offbeat and honest personalities make the brand more human, more approachable (ike Virgin and Southwest Airlines).
And as I read back through this post, I realize that I've been writing for too many years with my business hat on... I think I've forgotten how to be quirky! Bear with me, this will be an evolution...