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Archive for the tag “personal branding”

Justine Sacco: An angle you haven’t thought of yet.

Everyone’s heard of the curious case of Justine Sacco. The communications professional who was apparently born without an internal filter. The woman who tweeted what has been called, “The Worst Tweet Of All Time“. I’m not sure if it was the worst of all time, but it is likely in the top 10.

It really was the perfect storm of internet rage. The tweet went out just before Sacco went wheels-up on a long Christmas flight to Africa. The rage was immediate, but since she was at 45,000 feet enjoying packaged cookies, limited legroom, and carefully screened movies and television, she did not have the opportunity to respond. She didn’t have the opportunity to re-think her tweet, and delete it. She didn’t have the opportunity to apologize for her apparent lapse in sanity.mob

The fallout was predictable. The longer she didn’t respond, the angrier the hive mind of the internet became. In one thoughtfully written article, the folks at Buzzfeed were accused¬†of fanning the flames even further, even dumping gas on said flames. The pitchfork squads formed in dark corners of the internet, and they marched on Sacco’s employer, typing as fast as they could, hashtagged placards waving wildly.

Poor Justine Sacco got off the plane 12 hours later, and did something she probably still regrets. She turned on her phone. She discovered that she was the most hated woman in the world, and that her employer had publicly fired her while she was on her fifth episode of “Big Bang Theory”.

Sacco made a very bad decision, and paid a large price. However, the mob mentality that formed around this incident is really the scary part of the story. The fact that her employer knee-jerked, succumbed to the mob, and canned her without discussion, is a sad comment indeed.

The Sacco case has been dissected ad nauseum since Christmas. Analysis is plentiful. Social media tips about personal branding have flourished.

I have but one question: Do you think Justine Sacco would still have her job if her twitter bio had included a disclaimer reminding everyone that “tweets are my own!”, or “views do not reflect those of my employer!”.

Of course she wouldn’t. Her life would still be in ruins.

Your views absolutely do reflect on your employer, disclaimer or no.

People who still put these useless disclaimers in social media profiles thinking it gives them some sort of license are, to put it mildly, fooling themselves. These disclaimers have no legal force, look silly, and are, most importantly, wrong.¬†Social media disclaimers are the present-day equivalent of the old Facebook “post this status to protect your privacy” chain letters.

Your views, your actions, your tweets, all reflect on people, brands, and companies that choose to be associated with you. Or hire you. Justine Sacco learned that in the worst way possible.

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Marketing Yourself in an Election: A Primer (Part 2)

Yesterday we discussed a few things that can help a candidate stand out in an election campaign. Today, a few more.

If you are new to the politics scene in your neighborhood, you’ve likely got an uphill battle. You’ve probably got an unknown product (you), up against an established, successful product (the incumbent). Make an impression. Stand out. Be a purple cow.

Social Media: Important, but don’t take on more than you can handle. It is far better to have one active Twitter account then inactive accounts on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest, and whatever else you might want to connect with. Connect is the key word. If you haven’t got time to connect because you have far too many social media channels running, you’re not going to make an impression.

Engage on Social Media: but know when to disengage. Politics can inspire some spirited conversations. Letting yourself get bogged down in a heated debate in a public forum leaves a negative impression. When things do turn negative, or you’re in danger of being mired in minutia, gracefully disengage. Offer a more detailed response via email, telephone, or in person. Be polite.

QR Codes: don’t bother. Once thought of as the Next Big Thing in social media, QR codes really haven’t hit critical mass. Yes, they are different, and do stand out, but how many more people do they help you engage? If the code is on an outdoor sign, thinking people will stop a vehicle to scan your code is not realistic. If it’s on a flyer delivered to the home, isn’t it easier just to list the website? It stands out but does not give you any advantage. Worst of all, if your code leads to a website that is not readable on a mobile screen, you’ve just turned off a potential voter and wasted their time.

Your picture: have one, but not the one you think. You aren’t going to stand out with the usual smiling-into-the-camera head shot; taken, of course, while wearing your best suit and tie. In radio advertising, active verbs cut through the clutter, help get past the gatekeeper and inspire action. Similarly, in visual marketing, action pictures are more compelling than static headshots. Use a picture of you actively engaged in your community. It will stand out, and it will connect.

Your Opponent(s): be nice. Politics can be a rough business. It is not for the thin-skinned. Be the candidate that sticks to the issues, and explains to the voters what you can do for them. Time spent talking negatively about other candidates is time wasted indeed. It’s a negative that sticks to you. Negative campaigning turns off voters. Be the candidate that encourages voting, not the one that sours people on the process. Yes, at a national level, sometimes negative campaigning is used as a tactic. However, all it does is re-energize the “base”, or the people most likely to vote, and it encourages those who are just moderately engaged to not vote at all. At a local, municipal level, going negative is not likely to produce any positive results.

Be different. Don’t do the same things as everyone else. Stand out, and you’ll be noticed.

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