Your Personal Brand

It’s often said, “A great reputation takes a lifetime to build and seconds to lose.” Next week we’ll be going through a Social Media training at the company where I work, and our PR Director and I are a bit nervous. Because we both know the value of this statement, and we both know that anything said, particularly when it is known you are the representative of a company, but in some cases, even if you aren’t, may be reproduced/reprinted. This really came to mind when reviewing a couple of different links this week that really shocked me, because, the people mentioned were either in PR or Social Media and really should have known better.

And then I was driving into work yesterday and thinking about my personal brand, ie. my reputation. My reputation and brand has many aspects. It is the work that I do, but it is also the company I represent. It is my ethnicity and ancestry, but it’s also those in my family who are still alive. And most importantly, to me, it’s my beliefs, but it’s more than my beliefs, it is Christ Himself.

I often think about how anything I say represents where I work, particularly since my job is to promote all that is great about Cleveland. I have complaints about this city, but, they’d be the same complaints I’d have in other metropolitan cities, and I inherently have an inclination to look at situations as how they can be improved rather than being negative (ok, this season’s Browns might be the exception, but at least we have the Cavs, right?). As for my family’s reputation, I don’t tend to do anything too embarrassing to tarnish that one. But it’s the last one that got me thinking. How well do I represent the brand of Christianity? It seems terrible to call it a brand, but in a way the comparison makes sense. Wikipedia defines it this way:

“A brand is a collection of symbols, experiences and associations connected with a product, a service, a person or any other artefact or entity.”

Christianity is clearly more than a brand, though unfortunately for some, perhaps maybe it is just a brand. But, my life represents Christ just as much as what I say could potentially represent the company for which I work. I am a Christian just as much as I am an Interactive Strategist, even if it’s in a different sense. And sometimes I wish I did a better job in the process of being a Christian. I hope that those around me are more interested in learning about Christ in the same way that those who hear about where I work are more interested in learning about Cleveland, because in my mind, Christ is infinitely more important…the most important. But do I act like it is the most important in the way that I live? Not necessarily all of the time, which sucks.

A good example of this. It took me awhile to even disclose on this blog that I work for a local civic organization, it wasn’t until about a month after that when I posted the “What I Believe” page. Both, because I was afraid that something I said in ths blog would poorly represent either the company, or Christ.

So, this is what I was thinking as I was driving to work this week. Regardless of if you are a Christian, what is your personal brand, or do you even think of it in that way? Especially if you are dealing in the world of social media. Do you have any examples where you’ve been quoted or burned? Or do I just worry too much?

Until next time,

Lorelei

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3 Responses

  1. That’s food for thought. I’ll try and follow up with a real comment later. Just wanted you to know that someone is reading this and considering what you say.

  2. OK, I’m back. I’ve thought through some things and I think I have something to answer to your questions.

    I agree that it is inevitable that we will be associated with one group or another, and that people often will regard that association as a representation of what we believe. For example, as a registered dietitian, my credential is often used by special interest groups or food lobbyists to endorse their products. They will say things like the American Dietetic Association or Registered Dietitians agree that our product is safe or just as healthy etc., etc. The truth is we don’t all agree and we don’t have to. It goes both ways… I don’t always represent my professional organization’s positions, and they don’t always represent mine.
    When it comes to representing Christ, I look to God himself for validation of how I am representing Him. This is because scripture tells us that God knows us inside and out. He knows our hearts and He alone can change us into what He created us for. He is more patient and forgiving than any person ever. Also, there are many passages where He encourages us to “learn” from Him (examples, Matthew 11:29 and Philippians 4:11). Learning is a process, and rarely a single moment. What I desire to represent is this: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, and read it in context to get the full representation of that verse).

    So do I have a personal brand? Yes, I think I do, but it is my brand, no one else’s. As for the worry, it is good to be concerned and cautious, yet I don’t think that should be what is the driving force.

    Have a blessed week!

  3. Renata, thank you so much for your response. And what a great verse to share: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”. I appreciate the encouragement!

    Lorelei

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