The pervious post, Brand vs. Reputation, was my first in a series about Personal Brands. In this post I will more closely be discussing and examining reputation. I will attempt to put this word in a more modern context and point towards how it relates to brands today.
Dissecting reputation leads me to the two words, honor and respect. These are two conducts that have played an important part in building our society. Upholding honor and respect is living up to certain expectations. Norms and rules are set in the family, or in the community, and then used by members to size how well we perform in the social setting. Religion is a perfect example, one of it’s attributes being functioning as a social ‘measuring-tool’. But these types of ‘tools’ are not specific to religion, they’re also found in secular countries and individualist cultures.
So why do we continue to rely upon these seemingly ‘dated’ social rules and norms? Well, they make us feel comfortable! People generally like the feeling of being prepared, or to some extent know what to expect. We may no longer look to God for the final verdict, but judgement still takes place. Todays preferred norms and rules, our ‘religion’, is commonly influenced by one or more subcultures, such as; the company we work for, the people we hang out with, the brands that we follow, the bands we listen to and the art we enjoy etc.
By openly conveying your association, you are identifying yourself as a part of the group. You’re implying that you will abide by their rules and norms, and in further extent, committing to upholding the groups reputation through the management of your own personal brand. The personal brand is hereby assigned a higher importance, it becomes a piece of the larger than life, ‘societal brand’.
You may at this point be thinking; “heeeey, I’m my own, I stick out, I’m an individualist and that’s awesome! What the #€%&/ is this girl talking about?!”. Well, dear Gen-Y reader, I’m sorry to shatter you perceptions. But to calm your anguish I’d like to add this; it’s in community the sweet spot lies! THIS is where we create value! Whether it’s higher monetary or relational-status we seek, we’re NOTHING without the support of a ‘tribe’. Reality is that everyone, more or less, deliberate or not, engages in tribal activity every day. So, by finding YOUR ‘campfire’, with the right ‘circle of scouts’, your ability to influence will turn from a simple add/subtract equation to an exponential function.
Now, I still want to leave you with this – Don’t give up being different, being YOU! Instead, see brand management as a waltz. You are performing, rocking back and forth between conformity and individualism. The audience, your ‘tribe’, will endorse ‘good behavior’ and discourage or ignore the ‘bad’. Let’s just say… if you’re doin’ it right – you’ll notice!
Finally I’d like to share my source of inspiration for this post, watch the 10 minute YouTube clip of Dr Patrick Dixon on ‘Marketing to Tribes…’.
/BENSON for B|Social
This is the second in a series of posts discussing reputation, personal branding and Online Identity Management, so stay tuned!