The idea of branding is not a new one. Some of the most successful companies in the world are known for their brand. Businesses spend significant time and resources in building and maintaining their brands, and for good reason. Successful branding can yield a loyal, consistent following, and the profits that come along with it. A failure to maintain a brand can do just the opposite.
Businesses are not the only ones with a brand to maintain, especially with the arrival of the digital age. Megan Marrs, in an article on Forbes about personal online branding, discusses how employers will often now Google applicants before calling a person in for an interview.
This development in hiring practices shines a light on how important building and maintaining a personal brand truly is.
Managing your brand
Begin by determining what your brand actually is. What work do you do? What work would you like to do? What qualities do you want to be known for, such as hard work, kindness, etc? Understanding what image you want to put forward is the first step in creating that image.
It is difficult for many people to accept this, but everything you put online will affect your brand. Your Facebook and Twitter updates, your blog if you have one, all of these are fair game for potential employers, and sometimes even current ones.
You may not want to keep a tight rein on your web presence at all times, but it is important to understand the potential consequences of your actions.
The explosion of social networking is creating new situations for which there are currently no guidelines. Is it fair, or even legal, for current or future employers to peruse your tweets? Should it be? These questions have yet to be fully answered, and may not be for a while.
Until the rules are better defined, it may be wise to consider what your online brand is, and how your future actions will affect it.