When weird can work: 5 tips for grooming your personal brand

By Malcolm Cox, Grapeshot, marketing director

It didn’t take us long to uncover her true identity. Sitting before us in the interview hot seat was “Lizzie,” a strong management candidate with great agency experience, first class academic qualifications and glowing client testimonials. She claimed a quiet life in the suburbs.

But her Twitter feed revealed a secret life: On weekends, Lizzie applied face paint and became “Catface,” a feline-inspired rave denizen. Did we turn her away? Hardly. We offered her a job on the spot. And she’s doing great.

Why did Lizzie misrepresent her extracurriculars? Well, not many companies are as progressive and open-minded as Grapeshot. But Lizzie overlooked her digital foot prints, markers that allow others to form nuanced, and often inaccurate opinions than what was possible in the pre-digital yesteryear.

One’s Facebook profile and Twitter feed can offer anyone who’s interested—including potential employers—a rich profile consisting of your friendships, pastimes, phobias and foibles. Facebook has indexed trillions of posts to be searchable. Lizzie didn’t account for that. Now we all call her, “Catface.”

Gentle office ribbing aside, if you care about what others think about you, manage your profile thoughtfully and not impulsively. How public is your profile? How public should it be? What about that college blog you used to write? And those songs you wrote, which now seem more David Brent than David Bowie.

Smart brands recognize the importance of a more strategic, managed approach to managing their social media presences carefully. Responding to Tweets. Posting on Facebook. Or uploading to Pinterest. Yet many of us choose to be much more careless with the evolutions of our own personal brand profiles.

So here are five tips to manage your brand signature online:

  1. Have a content strategy. Proactively write and comment about particular subjects that resonate and are relevant to your industry role.
  2. Think before you post.
  3. Look through your portfolio or files. Repurpose content that you’re proud of and publish it to your LinkedIn profile.
  4. Prune your pictures. Untag the pictures of you bleary eyed with a traffic cone on your head. Catface on the nightclub podium reflects an authentic, quirky individuality that can be linked to creativity and personality, two very important attributes to have in advertising. On the contrary, bleary eyed with a traffic cone on your head reflects a lack of discipline and self-control.
  5. And while we think of it, don’t post drunk.

With care and attention, you can focus on the particular online content that conveys significant meaning to others that helps you in pursuit of your goals. In concert, drop the stuff that distracts and demeans and hone in on your brand signature. In doing so, like Catface, you may not appeal to all people but you will appeal to those who are like-minded, which , at the end of the day will serve you better.