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‘Brand Advocates’: Blending Personal and Professional in the PR World

May 20, 2009

PR professionals are what I like to call “brand advocates.” Even when it’s not the 9-5 time (ok, we all know it’s more like 7-10, then BB time at 2 am) you still represent your clients and the company you work for.

In the age of the internet, you can find out who anyone works for just by looking at a company Web site, or their LinkedIn. Even personal blogs, Twitter and Facebook aren’t foolproof. Last week, I posted a blog from a journalist friend that caused my organization to be brought up in the same breath of myself being called stupid. I do have a disclaimer on my blog that states my views are my own and do not represent those of my company, but people still know who I work for.

So, a few months ago I decided to revel in it.  Know why? Mensa is a social and community service organization for those that score in the top two percent on an accepted standardized, intelligence test. When we took the dive into social media, the CEO and myself mapped out what type of brand we wanted to portray. Our idea? Quirky, but somehow relates to everyone else. We have no other membership requirements besides an accepted test score. Our members come from all walks of life and are so many different personalities.  My personal brand is evident reflects that sentiment in my personal SM, which is one of the reasons I head up our campaigns.  I view the Mensa SM efforts as “LAF with a Mensa twist” because who I am outside the office can be seen inside the office as well. If you read any of Mensa’s Twitter feed, you can definitely see how personable it is. Our members respond much better to that than they do to all promotional feed of our events or upcoming promos.

You have to be able to blend both your personal and professional ‘personalities’ if you want to achieve transparency in the social media sphere.  Everything I write, or when I put up a guest post, is representing my personal and professional brand, even if I don’t state Mensa and have a disclaimer. People still associate what I do, and what pictures are on my FB, with my organization. I chose not to hide my organization because I am proud of who I work for – and SM corporate should always have a personality attached to it.

My CEO put it best last week when we were discussing SM strategy: No matter what, everything that is on the internet and attached to your name is attached to Mensa as well.

I couldn’t agree more.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2009 2:09 pm

    Great perspective. I can’t separate my life and work anymore (especially online). To do so would be disingenuous to my company, myself and those who trust me to provide them with a useful perspective. If I’m working with someone I’ll provide full disclosures and ask them if it’s cool to utilize what I’m doing with them in a blog post. Transparency=Win. Let the Mensa flag fly, Lauren.

  2. May 20, 2009 2:17 pm

    I can definitely identify w/ these points. I used to work in PR and still find myself endorsing my clients even though I don’t work for them anymore.

  3. May 20, 2009 3:01 pm

    Lauren, the perspective and value you continue to provide always amazes me. You’re hitting on points that people with 10, 20 years of communication experience can’t grasp.

    “Be human” is one of those phrases we all throw around … but it’s true. Your SM efforts — both personal and corporate — are successful *because* you let your personality shine through. People want to interact with other people. Like you, I’m finding lines blurring between personal and professional. But, at the end of the day, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I like what I do. It’s not a 9-5 job — it’s part of who I am. So, why not embrace it?

    Heather @prtini)

  4. May 20, 2009 6:03 pm

    Amen, Lauren. You have a bright future ahead of you. Stay true to yourself and your brand, and you’re golden.

    Jen | @rockstarjen

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