Last week, I spoke to Mr. X (name anonymous) who works in a big MNC as his day job but blogs, writes, speaks and gives interviews on noted developments in the tech-media world. Now he has his own fan following, more so, a small community of evangelists who endorses his words and wisdom to the extent possible. Now that was all fine but while our conversation led to the realm of personal brand representing his company officially, he was a bit jittery about how its going to span out.

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So I got few pointers that sometimes companies are skeptic about letting one or more represent their brand image. Though I started thinking about it sometime back and tweeted about it too asking fillers from twitterverse. All I got is mixed responses and I won’t lie but it was somewhat expected.

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Since I was ruminating on the pros and cons of personal brands representing a company, these are my thoughts:

THREATS with PERSONAL BRANDS

  • Most of the companies are wary about letting someone represent their name since their popularity can make them like minnows in front of their target market.
  • Though some companies are approaching this with conservative steps but factors like transparency, internal-external authenticity and the costs associated with it to nurture, develop and establish a personal brand is proving to be a hindrance.
  • Loosing control of the brand name is one of the biggest factors. When a company lets someone represent the brand/company, then it becomes the personality of the person gets attached to the name of the brand/company. In case of its image getting tarnished, the brand/company gets into a fix.
  • Poaching and Gap Reality – As mentioned by Jeremiah, its true that personal brands comes a cost to the company and more so it can expose its star performers to the competition. Also in case, they leave the company, it leaves a gap in the hierarchy.

OPPORTUNITIES with PERSONAL BRANDS

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Like threats, personal brands also provides lots of opportunities for companies to explore and be close of the market facts. realities as well as trends.

  • Personal brands can act as company representatives and give a human voice to those hard nosed walled garden of corporate alleys.
  • Personal brands can bring trust, authenticity and transparency to monolithic organizations via social media and help companies to forge subtle alliances with target market to understand their needs and cater to them much faster than competitors.
  • Personal brands can give face to faceless organization in the age of transparency and conversation, where brands know they need to join customers where they are via means of social media by engaging themselves to real-time conversations.
  • Personal Brands can act of another channel to evangelize your latest offerings via engagement and conversations rather than monologue pushing via traditional channels.
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So after this the big question is should we or should we not encourage personal brands to proliferate in the organizations?

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…and this is my take on it:

  • No matter what companies do, conversations will always continue which will affect the way consumers act, react and spread information.
  • Without company being vigilant, its for sure that someone somewhere from within the company is talking, writing or saying something valuable for the company. So it makes sense to tap that talent and nuture them.
  • If someone is already doing it, then companies should tap that potential to save time, money and talent to broadcast the message via conversational channels of social media rather than monologue mediums.
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So what is your company up to with such things? Are they forging relationships with customers via such strategies or its still a walled garden approach? Any examples, you like to share.

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