With the rise of personal branding comes a new relationship between corporations and their employees. The public is increasingly relating to and responding to individuals rather than faceless brands which is–many believe–a great development.
Corporations reap the benefits of having dynamic and influential social media and content managers (just think of Mashable’s Pete Cashmore or Problogger’s Darren Rowse) but despite the numerous exciting benefits, this trend ultimately points to a shift in the power dynamic for brands…
- Recruiting a following - Companies will begin to recruiting individuals with developed and wide-reaching personal followings. Major brands will essentially buy personal social networks and the trusted personality to funnel brand messaging through to potential customers.
- Losing an audience – When you mix a personal brand with a company (setting up a Twitter account for your company that is also your own primary account) you create a massive conflict for a company. Remember the mess with Noah Kravits and his PhoneDog Twitter account, @PhoneDog_Noah?
- Lack of control – As soon as a brand calls upon individuals to use their style and voice to carry the banner for corporate marketing initiatives, they lose control. Allowing individuals to take on personal ownership of brand messaging gives them a significant degree of power. Developing a strict code of rules for all employees will lessen, but not eradicate, the possibility of embarrassing mistakes or leaks.
- Overshadowing – If an employee curates a certain sized audience or develops a sizable enough influence, you could have your very own hostage situation on your hands as one person becomes increasingly equated with everything your company name stands for. Allowing individuals the opportunity to take personal ownership could translate into an influence-based hierarchy that could be threaten for an unprepared company’s personel structure.
These are some of the hurdles that corporations have to consider before embracing a full-blown social media campaign. With careful planning, preparation, and monitoring they are easily cleared, but the field will continue to change as social media evolves.
How else is personal branding dangerous for corporations?