Category Archives: Branding

How to be yourself in 2010

This morning brings massive coverage of the launch of Path, an iPhone app that gives you social networking capability with your fifty closest friends.  Some writers are calling it the anti-social network, but Path is branding itself as a personal network.

The most intriguing line to me, though, comes from the Path's own blog post.

Because your personal network is limited to your 50 closest friends and family, you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal. Path is a place where you can be yourself.

A place where you can be yourself.

Maybe this means being able to share photographs of yourself in a hot tub on Path so you can refrain from doing so on Facebook, where potential employers might see you.  From what I understand, this is a major concern today.  Being able to share photos of yourself in full bacchanalian vigor without fear of reprisal or unemployment.  So I guess it might be a good thing that we now have a more contained space for doing that.

But.

I want to be the same person on Twitter that I am on LinkedIn that I am in my neighborhood that I am when working.  I might express myself a bit differently in each venue, but essentially, I'm me.  I think that should be the goal.

How to do that — to be one self online, in person, on the job and on the town?

  1. Practice the fine art of holding back.  Do you really have to share that photo or that thought?  Consider whether you are adding to a conversation or merely grandstanding.
  2. Share the thoughts and the pictures that portray the better side of yourself.  If you must share something negative or questionable, make sure it winds up making a positive point.  And watch out for sharing too much information, anywhere.
  3. Understand that you will, in all likelihood, mess up.  Be ready to acknowledge that and move on to the next opportunity.  And do the same for others.
  4. Listen and engage.  Think about what you are reading or seeing and how it might expand your thinking or your understanding of a situation.  Ask questions and converse.  This is one of the best things about online networks — expanding our circles, expanding our perspectives.
  5. Be consistent.  There are people with whom you don't have to hold back — but you should always be the same person.  Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy.

 

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More on the how Facebook and Twitter are different — and how to use them together

In this interesting comparison using basketball as the analogy, we see how to use Twitter and Facebook for different branding purposes.  Also intriguing:  keeping your customer within your "walls" on Facebook instead of sending them home to your website. From VentureBeat's Digital Beat column.

Social media reading for those dipping their toes into the ocean: February 22 2010

These are on my radar screen today, courtesy of the talented bloggers and execs I follow. 

Liberty Mutual at BlogHer

When I was at BlogHer last weekend, I was pleased to find a Liberty Mutual booth.  The company runs my most favorite television commercials today, the ones that show people helping each other along a theme of personal responsibility.  Powerful humanity without the schmaltz.  It's remarkable how thought provoking the content is within the short timeframe.  The commercials are part of a larger campaign called The Responsibility Project.

The company was at BlogHer as a sponsor and to do some more outreach on its campaign.  Liberty's PR firm, Ketchum, had folks manning the booth. I asked the Ketchum people to give me some background on the Responsibility Project, and here's what they wrote:

"Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility
Project was a sponsor of this year’s 2009 BlogHer conference. The Project was
created in 2008 and uses entertainment content to create a forum for people to
discuss what responsibility means to them. The Responsibility Project has
covered a number of topics including parenting, education and the environment,
among others.  The  Project never takes a stand on what we feel is
right or wrong – we are simply creating a forum for discussion. Knowing that
BlogHer ’09 would be a strong gathering, Liberty Mutual decided to sponsor the
event and present an opportunity for influential women to voice their opinions
and join the discussion on what it means to 'do the right thing.'"

Rather than just hand out toys, Liberty conducted a survey — and not just on responsibility in general but on the responsibility of bloggers.

With the FTC looking into the question of bloggers accepting products for review and whether there's some underhanded quid pro quo happening, the Liberty Mutual survey featured a quick but interesting set of questions about things like the proposed FTC revisions to the Guidelines for Endorsements and Testimonials, sponsored blog posts and appropriate blog content.  I asked the PR reps to share the results.  Here they are.

  • 98 percent believe it's acceptable to receive a free product
  • A majority of participants cited transparency, disclosure and honesty as key caveats to receiving free products and to writing sponsored posts
  • 84 percent say that honesty is a key trait of a responsible blogger, followed by transparency — 66 percent, and reliable sources — 56 percent.

Liberty also conducted video interviews of bloggers, and Ketchum shared the link.  Click here.

I'm not sure yet what I think of these results, except to say that the more we can discern between bloggers and journalists, the better. We are just at the beginning of this process, however, so patience is key.

By the way:  BlogHer itself was a fun, interesting experience.  It is terrific to see so many people dedicated to writing and to exercising their franchise for free speech as well as building rock-solid businesses.  It was a good weekend for seeing the right kind of branding, from participants, to sponsors, to BlogHer itself.