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Take team for the one

Mike Driehorst recently wrote a post about the effect of personal brands on companies and how they can enhance a company's reputation. Some of the examples he mentioned were Jason Falls, Bob Lutz (GM, a client) and Lionel Menchaca. He also brought up Boeing's former CEO, Randy, who was blogging here. Coincidentally, as pointed out by Chris Brogan, they've replaced him with a CEO by the same name, which reminds me of the George Carlin bit about replacing your dead dog with the same breed of dog that looks just like your old dog - that way you don't have to change the pictures on the wall.

But I digress. This post is about people putting themselves in front of their employers for personal gain. Am I against it? Hell, I write this blog, don't I? At some level it makes sense. Call it owning, as Mike said, your own personal brand.

The question is -- When does it go too far? The entire clan at Forrester bolted after Groundswell for consulting gigs. As proof, Jeremiah's post about Facebook ads garners way more comments than the Forrester blog. Steve Rubel threw his entire agency under the bus with this post. Bottom line is that there are people who put themselves first, employer second.

So I'll ask you -- is it more valuable for you to promote your company or for you to promote yourself, or is it all part of the game?


Michael said…
David: First, thanks for the plug.

There is a fine line in personal v corporate branding. In some ways, because actual people are behind the blog, the personal brand will always win out no matter what. (Unless, a better replacement comes along, once the person leaves.)

In many of those examples, the personal brand comes from the person's personal blog. So, in those instances (and in mine, and in yours, and in many others), the corporate brand does take a bit of a back seat.

Even with the bloggers who are corporate -- like Bob Lutz, Lionel Menchaca and Boeing's two Randys -- you connect more with the person than the company.

I think you should "take one for the team" if you can establish a corporate blog and don't blog elsewhere. But no matter what, because of the personal, kind of one-on-one nature of blogs and etc., the connection will always be more personal than business.

And, as I noted at the end of my post, the team will just have to accept that.

Shannon Nelson said…
This is interesting to think about after the conversation we had the other day.

I've been finding that I am being quoted more and brought out more publicly lately and it has had a positive effect on the firm. I do admit, I get nervous about that. I don't want to overshadow them by being a press machine, but at the same time it obviously has it's pros too.

Do you think it is a fine line between being your own brand and being a part of a brand, when you are one in the same?
David Binkowski said…
I think the industry has matured over the past few years, to be honest. We all got recognized because of speaking opps, blogging, trade and general news mentions, etc.

At this point it's become a narrower argument: the folks putting themselves first are doing a disservice to their employer only when they're being negative toward said employer.
Shannon Nelson said…
Do you think the transition is easier (or less) when someone associated with a company (and is a part of the branding) leaves the employer and goes elsewhere? Thinking for example of Rubel. Everyone knows/associates him with Edelman, does it then do a disservice to him or his employer from an image standpoint if he were to leave them and join another firm? Would he be able to duplicate that same branding elsewhere?
David Binkowski said…
I think it's a fair question, but hard to answer because it depends on the value the firm feels they're getting out of the publicity. I don't blog half as much as I used to, mostly because I'm busy. Then again, my clients might subscribe to my blog but know that the value I provide is in the room, over email and in a one on one scenario specific to their business. The notion of broadcasting strategies is ridiculous because our business is not a one size fits all proposition.

In Steve's case I think the thought leadership piece and "in the know" angle he brings would leave a ding from a publicity perspective, but I can't answer whether or not clients would be hurt or if the firm would lose business as a result of it. Folks like Steve, Brogan, Arrington, Solis -- the list goes on and on -- are all pumping tons of content and news, so I'm sure Richard could find a replacement for that piece of what he brings to the table.

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