I have long been in agreement with the concept of “half-owned brands,” as Todd quotes Chris Brogan.
In fact, when I re-started this blog, it was with the simultaneous dichotomy and intertwining of personal and professional brand in mind. In fact, in a post last summer, I wrote:
I had been blogging at Tech PR Gems, the Topaz Partners PR blog, but several people, particularly Ed Lee, convinced me to re-start this blog for myself. Gischeleman’s blog (original name of this blog, and you’ll see I keep that name on the header) has started to find a voice in the ensuing months (I think), and it is fun to write. More than that, I like to use it as a lab: what gets traffic? what gets reaction? Can I use the blog to spread viral media? How do I attach this to network?
What I learned: Personal brand is important, no matter how tightly aligned you are with your organization or employer. Plus the more blog posts you write, the more your writing and thinking improves.
So, what about Todd’s list of responsibilities? First, the company:
Job #1 – Protect itself.
Job #2 – Get the hell outta the way.
Of course, it’s not that simple. But the idea of creating trust, and giving employees– those who want it- a little rope to explore their own public persona– is a good one. Those who would say that employees blogging, and being public about their affiliation, is irresponsible are being blind to reality. Should I not go to cocktail parties or other public events and let people know where I work? Phooey! And if my posts betray a lack of knowledge of my craft, then too bad for me– it’ll start to show up in my work as well, and I’ll be employed somewhere else before long.
Now, Todd’s responsibilities of the “person”:
Job #1 – Stay humble.
Job #2 – Boost the Company’s brand.
“Humble” is nothing but common sense. It does the company no good, and me less good, to become an egotistical ass-hat. Some ego is healthy– we call it Confidence– but yah, humble, ok sure.
Boosting the company’s brand- to me, I do that through my positive association. It’s not always overt– I hate being overly promotional of anything (yup, I’m in public relations). But I’m not going to cover up my affiliations, and I’m going to wave the SHIFT flag on occasion, without inflicting damage on others (unless they are being egotistical asshats).
To reiterate what I say so often- your brand and your employers are inseparable. Choosing where to work is a life choice, and you represent your company as much as your company represents you. Live with it, revel in it, and go forth and polish your personal brand.
One last thing: I object to being called a “rock star.” I played tuba in my high school marching band. If you saw this kid walking by, would you say “rock star?”
(Yes, I am wearing my band jacket in that photo. No, it no longer fits)