Brand Reputation: How Brand & Personal Reputation Differ

Brand Reputation: Personal vs. Business Brands

Brand Reputation: When asked what qualities are most important in relationships (business or otherwise), honesty tops the list for many people. Consumers want to connect with authentic and trustworthy brands. What does your audience think about you? If they know, like, and, most importantly, trust you, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase and tell their friends about you.

However, honesty online gets a little messy if you have a personal brand. Examples of people with powerful personal brands include Chris Brogan, Tim Ferriss, and Erika Napoletano. Representing yourself, not a separate business brand, has both risks and rewards, but if you go this route, one thing is sure: you have to draw the line between “me” and “my brand.”

Authenticity is NOT about Oversharing

Authenticity online doesn’t mean sharing every piece of you. Giving away your entire life for the public to see can be stressful and uncomfortable. Oversharing can also turn customers off.

For example, you cruise with your family and get seasick. You should not post pictures of yourself losing your lunch in the name of authenticity! That’s definitely “TMI” for your audience. Pick and choose what to share so that you still represent what happened but maintain a little dignity. This stands true in less “gross-out” situations as well. For example, let’s say you just discovered that you’re expecting. You don’t have to announce your fans on Facebook before you tell friends and family. You’re still authentic if you choose to keep some parts of your life private.

Defining Your Brand

Beyond privacy issues, you also need to consider the consistency of your messaging. Your brand reputation may depend on it.

The best way to determine what to share and what to keep private is to define your brand. What three words describe how you want people to view your personal brand online? If the answer is “sassy, fun, and energetic,” what you share online should always promote these attributes. Does that mean that you are always sassy, fun, and energetic in real life? No way – no one is. But sharing a stressed-out rant online is probably not your best option, even if that’s how you feel. It’s inconsistent with how you want people to see you. Every comment you make online should be professional and consistent with your personal brand.

Messaging consistency doesn’t mean lying. Let’s say you’re unhappy with a product you’ve purchased, but your personal brand is happy and optimistic. That doesn’t mean you should lie and talk about how great the product is, even though you think it stinks. It’s all about how you say things.

And, when in doubt, you don’t need to put everything online. Some stuff can remain private. Remember, your personal brand is not you. It is all your best, most marketable parts packaged for the masses.

When the Real Your Comes Out…

Have you ever met a celebrity in person? You probably had one of two experiences: they were as sweet and nice as you expected, or they were horrible, and you’ll never think of them the same way again. If you had a bad experience, part of the reason it was so terrible was not only the other person’s actions but also the jarring effect of expecting something different.

Make sure you’re presenting online; don’t stay too far from the real you that lives your life. If you do, it’s only a matter of time before the truth emerges. If you like to drink and dance at bars every weekend, don’t present yourself as a mild-mannered, family-friendly personal brand. If you are a homebody, don’t present yourself as an adventure-seeker. If you’re an introvert, don’t present yourself as the life of the party.

When people feel like they’re being tricked, your reputation takes a massive nose-dive. They think, “If they were lying about their personality, what else could they be lying about?”

Remember, even if you aren’t building a business based on your personal brand reputation, the way you act online affects how people think about your small business or your employer. Even if you have “views are my own” in your Twitter bio, you could lose customers or be fired if you aren’t presenting yourself well.

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Brand Reputation: When asked what qualities are most important in relationships (business or otherwise), honesty tops the list for many …