Archive - Jan 22, 2011

Managing Personal and Corporate Brands Online

When I first started establishing my identity on the Internet, nearly thirty years ago, managing personal and corporate brands wasn’t an issue. The only people on the Internet were from universities and research institutions. There was supposed to be no personal or corporate use of the Internet. My identification was my initials and the host machine I was using, which was a weird amalgam of the location, operating system and on information about the machine.

Things have changed a bit in the past thirty years, and I’ve been thinking a bit about this as I read reports about Keith Olbermann leaving MSNBC and Geoff Fox leaving WTNH. Both of these people have very well developed personal brands, probably more developed as a result of their on air personalities as opposed to their online personalities, but the online persona plays an important part. Online communities have sprung up criticizing MSNBC and WTNH for letting go of these popular personalities.

Most of my work is online. Some people have faces made for radio. Others have voices made for writing online. I have focused on my online personal brand. ahynes1, Aldon Hynes, and Orient Lodge are the three primary aspects of my brand, and I try to tie all of them together, as much as possible using similar avatars, color schemes, and anything else that can make my personal brand consistent.

Now that I’ve taken a position with Community Health Center, Inc. in Connecticut, I need to manage both my personal brand, and what my contributions or to CHC’s brand. What I write here on Orient Lodge is promoting my personal brand. It is expressing my own opinions. What I write on the CHC Facebook page, is intended to promote the organization’s brand.

Different organizations have different relationships between the personal brands of employees and the brand of the organization. For media where an individual’s personality is important, the individuals brand get a lot of focus. For consumer goods, there is less likely to be a personal brand associated, unless there is some sort of celebrity endorsement. For realtor’s the individual’s brand is often more important than the agency they are working for.

The medical field seems a bit more complicated, in that both the brands of the providers and the brands of the organizations are important.

So, as I work on establishing the best relationships between personal brands and corporate brands where I work, I would encourage all my readers to think about their personal brands, the brands of the organizations they work at, and how they relate.

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