A tweet does not a brand make. Well, maybe it does if you’re a high school student trying to create a personal ‘brand’ for the consumption of your fellow math club members. But not if you’re a business or organization interested in establishing and nurturing its brand.
There’s more and more talk these days about the opportunities that blogs, podcasts, and YouTube afford any Tom, Dick, or Sarah to ‘brand’ themselves. We certainly support those efforts – if only for their entertainment value. But the ease of generating and broadcasting a message doesn’t mean that every person, team, department, and line of business should create its own brand.
Branding is more than reputation-building. Branding is the art of creating preference based on the science of delivering value. Sure, people, teams, and departments can strive to establish reputations for humor, execution, or service. But for an organization to achieve its branding goals, they need to do so within the parameters of that organization’s overall brand promise to its stakeholders.
If the Obama campaign wants to be known as a bringer of change, but Joe Biden highlights his 35 years in Washington, will the undecideds receive a clear message?
If Apple promises the market innovative user experiences, but its R&D department casts itself as a technology-worshipping code factory, will the company attract the creative talent it needs to serve its overall corporate goals?
Cultivating the personal reputation of high-profile employees is important. Giving a team a relevant identity energizes as well as galvanizes. But building a coherent brand requires managing both of those efforts as elements of a greater whole – not by enforcement, but by engaging individuals, teams, and all stakeholders with the brand.
Twitter, Wordpress, Vimeo, et al give everyone an opportunity to say anything. The result is often cacophony. When everybody is somebody, nobody is anybody. But when you align everyone’s efforts around a common purpose, a beautiful, powerful harmony can emerge.