Brand Management: Protect Your Brand!

No, I’m not talking about your company product when I talk about how to protect your brand – although it can apply there too.

But I’m talking about the brand of “you”! That is always an important aspect.

What? You never thought of yourself as a brand?

Well, you are. Let’s look at what a brand stands for:

  • it can mean a product
  • it can mean a lifestyle
  • it can mean a vocation or a profession
  • it can mean a belief system
  • it can mean words or communication proceeding from a source perceived to be the ‘brand’
  • it can mean a certain ‘culture’
  • it can mean many things to many people

Okay, let’s backtrack a bit and look at the origin of the word ‘brand’. In the old days, they used to brand cattle as a means of identifying them with the owner. Since most cattle look the same – or apparently did in those days, they resorted to this method of ‘branding’ them with a hot iron – usually with an insignia or even the name of the owner. I believe that since then cattle have learned to develop certain individualistic traits which may help them stand out a bit more…. Although I confess that I can’t still tell the difference between Mathilda the cow and Bessy the other cow – unless Bessy has a birthmark tucked away somewhere.

Coming forward to today, a ‘brand’ has come to mean many things.

Let’s look at what Wikipedia has to say:

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.” [1]

A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity — it affects the personality of a product, company or service. (End of excerpt from Wikipedia: content reproduced from here).

Alright, so how does it relate to you as a ‘brand’? Look at that: it can be a name, a symbol – and it affects the personality of a product, company or service.

Quite simple. Today, with the new emerging media – the internet, social networking and social media, etc., our lives are all the more exposed to the world. In essence, we are on stage all the time. If ever the saying that “no man is an island” held true, it is now.

So what do you do? Every word you write on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, etc., is going to stay there. You are leaving little traces everywhere you go – especially on the internet. There is no getting away from that. Never have been our lives so publicly on display, and some of us very eagerly embrace this increased openness.

There is an old saying: So live, that you wouldn’t be ashamed to loan your parrot to the town gossip.

In other words, watch yourself: your words, your actions. There is always someone watching you – especially online.

You need to protect your brand. There are no two ways about it. There are numerous instances of people getting in trouble for what they posted on some social network somewhere – on someone’s Facebook page, or under someone’s photo on Facebook or video on Youtube. Companies are scouring over the social network trail of prospective employees and labeling them as ‘not the type’ they are looking for.

Whether you are a known person or not, people will be looking you up in the search engines, or on social networks.

3 ways to build and protect your brand online:

  1. Get yourself your own domain – as in ‘yournamedomain.com’ . As soon as you can do this – do it. Why it helps you is that if you have your own domain, there is no way you are going away anywhere as far as people are concerned, and it gives you tremendous credibility. It also lends you ‘authority’ – for after all, you must be somebody if you have your own personally branded domain – right?? Besides, what if someone else gets it before you do? Back in the old days, they used to have these domain squatters secure famous celebrities’ domain names and those folks used to try to sell them at exorbitant prices back to those celebrities – who just wanted to get their identity back.
  2. Be careful of all you post anywhere, and remember to leave a positive trail behind yourself. Whether you like it or not, you are creating a trail behind you online, so it may as well be nice. Anything undesirable you post will come back to haunt you easily.
  3. Use your own picture for any avatars or your profiles. If you use the picture of a monkey or something else, it doesn’t augur well for your brand. After all, what do you have to hide? Okay, so you’re not good-looking enough? Who cares! If people are looking for a movie star, they don’t need to look for you. That’s not the point anyway. The fact is, people like to connect with real people, and it’s great for them to see who they are connecting with. It builds what is known as : K (Know) – L (Like) – T (Trust). If people know you; they learn to like you and they learn to trust you – you’ve built a brand, and they’re likely to follow your recommendation.
One Response to Brand Management: Protect Your Brand!
  1. Mr WordPress
    June 24, 2011 | 2:21 am

    Hi, this is a comment.
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