20 May 2010 54 Comments

Personal brand: How to misrepresent it

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)


patriotism1patriotismThat personal branding is the way to remain afloat today is no longer a controversy. Individual must remain committed to building a brand he/she will be proud to stand by. Pretence or being a fake today will not help as much. The demand of the time with the advent of social media gives power as well as leverage to everyone to show what they have to offer to their audience.

What we have noticed these days is the way many ‘would be personal branders’ misrepresent their brands without knowing. When an individual is not very careful or do not have a strategy in place,he/she will be doing a great harm to his/her brand. In the course of our job, we have monitored some ‘personal branders’ both at online and offline and our conclusion is that a little act of carelessness or lack of proper understanding of repercussions associated with  their acts have robbed their brands of greater equity.

Every morning it is part of my routine to drop my daughter at school before heading for the office. Along the route today, I noticed traffic was at standstill on a street lane that led to her school, which is very rare. After five minutes on the same spot, I alighted from the car to find out the cause. The scene I saw made me stared at the two people involved. A well dressed, respectable married woman (apparently a middle level executive) was arguing with a company driver driving his boss’s kids to school. Apparently, the road was small and may not be enough for the two cars to go at a time.

The woman in question insisted the driver should reverse for her own car to go. When they could not resolve that, both of them parked their cars on the road and caused a scene. Other road users appealed to the woman not to demean her status through a public and heated argument with ‘ a mere company driver’. But she would not listen. After a while people started to review their stands on the character of the woman because she has an image to protect than the other company driver.

As an individual, my conclusion is, if this woman in question had placed value on her cherished personal brand, she could have behaved otherwise. she has  a lot to lose than gain in this act. The reason is not far fatched, she might not know who is watching and who is meeting her in that situation for the first time. For me she is misrepresenting her brand without knowing. So this story serves as the motivation for this piece. Today wewant to examine ways we may be misrepresenting our personal brands without knowing.

Social media activities: Many create account on social media platforms without a goal, objective or strategy. This informs why many just upload any form of picture, join any group or fan pages or post any kind of content. When you do not know why you are on any platform, it is certain that you will do a lot of damage to your brand. It will have been better not to create accounts at all than to damage what you have laboured for.

Overdependence on hype: personal brand does not rest on a single legged ‘hype’ platform. Personal brand will excel through the combination of expertise and promotion/hype. If a person concentrates on building the hype at the expense of expertise, it is a matter of time before the house will crumble. So never misrepresent your brand by claiming to be what your skills can not handle.

Not dressing the part: It is essential to invest in personal image and outlook. If you are projecting your brand as a high profile one, never go on a television interview appearing like a maid in the house. You never know who will be watching you. Even if you speak the right language, people will still look at your appearance to judge whether you are the right person on not.

Being unmindful of your daily action: Always live your life in a way that will enhance your profile. Fighting with an underdog will smear your name than the name of the other party. Underdogs are looking for cheap popularity and in most cases they win.

Association: the kind of association you keep may help you to gain right perception or make you lose credibility. The only relationship that is forced on us is our parent. We have a choice of any other association.

My conclusion, be loyal to your brand.

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