Pioneering Brand Strategist, Speaker, Author and Founder of Reach Personal Branding

William Arruda

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Is Your Brand Nestled in Professionalism?

First, what is a brandjacking?

This week’s #brandchat was all a flurry about Nestle and their handling of what some would call a “brandjacking” from Greenpeace then carried on by their thousands of Facebook fans.

Nestle Facebook Page From an article by the Wall Street Journal regarding the incident to host of comments, BRANDidos discussed what went wrong; how could it have been prevented; to how can they (or any other brand) recover from this.

First, what is a brandjacking? During the chat, we defined it in three ways:

  • Every time someone unofficial represents themselves as speaking for a company or,
  • To hijack a brand to deceive or divert attention; often used in abusive or fraudulent activities devised for gain at the expense of the goodwill, brand equity and customer trust of actual brand owners or,
  • A brandjacking by a consumer refers to how the consumer perceives or uses your product or service. A smart company will learn rather than fight this positive reaction. One of my favorite books covers this subject: Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing

What went wrong?

Here's some excerpts from the chat recap:

JohnAntonios: A1: first off i think it's nestle's fault (wrt facebook) - it's a mismanagement on their front - they were bickering #brandchat  [WRT = with respect to]

shotgunconcepts: Brands MUST plan for an online crisis response in the same way they’d plan for a traditional crisis. Q1 #brandchat

JohnAntonios: A1: did anyone read the replies Nestle posted on facebook - they are unacceptable in any media #brandchat

karenswim: Q1: The Nestle incident underscores why it's so important to have clear internal communication policy before going public #brandchat

techguerilla: @brandchat Without moderation risk can never be eliminated. Everyone, whether individual or big corp. is vulnerable to it #brandchat

You can read the full chat recap here.

What can your personal brand learn from this?

John Antonios said it best, “when personal branding goes wrong - they let "personal" get in the way of professional.”

We want dirty laundry!Having a human voice in your online interactions does not mean that it’s not a professional human voice. Exuding your personal brand doesn’t mean to “just let it all hang out”.  It does mean be authentic, be real and true to your brand attributes and be as professional and engaging as you would be if we were standing across from each other in conversation at a networking event.

While some want to point to social media being the problem, it isn’t.  The core of the problem is having ill equipped communication practices and neither the company culture nor system provided to effectively train the person(s) manning the keyboard.

Although not every outlet sees that, for example the Wall Street Journal’s column states that “marketers are split on whether to keep the Facebook page up or shut it down and start over again.”

My response“Shut down the page? I don't think so. This is one marketer who is not split on this. You cannot shut down the voices and comments of a community. You can address it. Engage it. Be human about it as if they were connecting with you face-to-face. And, what a "feather in their cap" this will be to see them climb out of this hole and create an engaged and loyal community.”

To bury your head in the sand and pretend you can "just have a do over" is not real. To evolve your brand is real.

Think first! For personal brands in the employ of companies, if you’re in the front line of public relations:

  1. Have an escalation policy
  2. Know how to handle a crisis and be well trained or offer suggestions on what possible scenarios can be.  An airplane never hopes for a crash landing, yet their personnel is prepared for one (one board and on the ground).
  3. Prepare way in advance by putting all the tools and resources in place.
  4. Pay attention to customer needs.
  5. Respond to customer needs –personally AND professionally.

Not rocket science yet often forgotten in the high-speed, hyper-engaged communication of today.  Communication is faster and we have to be smarter.

And, personal brands, if you don’t have these things in place then ask for them.  It will not only protect your company’s brand – it will protect your brand.  Are reputation is still, in many respects, is built by association.

If you’re a personal brand going it alone in the social space, be sure to:

  1. Have a plan as to what you hope to do, experience or gain from being involved with any social network.
  2. Be able to make a daily commitment to that network (showing up once a week on Twitter or your Facebook page has more opportunity to harm your reputation than help it).
  3. Have a definite "friend"ing, following or fanning policy.  Put direction in your connection. For example, if your personal profile is your personal profile on Facebook – then keep it that way.  Know that you won’t be connecting with anyone that you meet at a conference or some random people who happen to be in your same geographic area.  Yet, how will you direct connections like that? Send them to LinkedIn?  Twitter?  Or, have a Facebook business page profile set up for an individual professional?

Know before you go.

Cross-posted on TheBuzz101


Maria     Elena Duron Maria Elena Duron | chief engagement officer is co-founder of #brandchat, a weekly conversation on Twitter. Join us weekly as we discuss company and personal brands!

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Dubbed 'The Personal Branding Guru’ by Entrepreneur magazine, William Arruda is a pioneering brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of Reach Personal Branding. He is credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry.

William delivers keynotes and workshops on the transformative power of personal branding for some of the world’s most successful companies. He energizes and motivates his audiences—and his private clients include some of the world’s most influential leaders. As a thought-leader, William is a sought-after spokesperson on personal branding, social media and leadership. He has appeared on BBC TV, the Discovery Channel and Fox News Live and he’s been featured in countless publications, including Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and the New York Times. William is the coauthor of the bestselling book Career Distinction. He is a member of the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education.