How to Repair a Derailed Personal Brand

Imagine you have worked hard to build “brand you”.

  • You have established a firm belief in your brand by uncovering your brand attributes, strengths, and unique promise of value.
  • You have developed the tools you need to become your brand including a personal brand statement, a branded bio, and both an online and offline brand communication plan.
  • And you are clearly, consistently and constantly managing your brand environment and brand identity to be your brand every day.

One day a “Google Alert” pops into your email inbox.  You are eager see if your brand visibility and credibility is growing.  To your surprise you see something that is off-brand.  People in your brand community begin to comment on this, tweet about it, and share it.  Before you know it your brand is in question.  You might consider blowing this off hoping it will disappear in cyberspace.  However, by not taking action your brand is derailed.

A ‘Derailed’ Personal Brand

In the world of cycling, when your chain is derailed your bicycle will not move forward – you cannot pedal, you cannot shift, and you run the risk of crashing. When this happens, you need to pull over, assess the damage, take out your tool kit, and make the necessary repairs before you try to pedal on. By constantly maintaining and tuning-up your bike you can prevent such derailments.

The same holds true for your personal brand. It is almost inevitable that you will go off-brand, but if you have the proper tools and the right training you can repair your brand. Here are 5 tools you need to have in your ‘personal brand tool kit’ to keep yourself tuned-up and on brand.

Tool 1. Maintain consistency across all channels and touch points

If you are not setting your own reputation, someone surely will.  Take control and establish a strong on-brand presence.  Always make sure your personal brand is expressed in a consistent way.

This includes your social media accounts, your website/blog, your business cards, your office, and even your physical appearance.  Even if one of these elements is off-brand it will eventually get noticed and can derail your brand.

Tool 2. Remember, one size does not fit all

When dealing with your brand derailments, offer an individualized solution depending on the context, person(s) involved, and the issue at hand. If needed, reach out to the person who derailed your brand one-on-one, keep the conversation on the issue at hand, and listen to what they have to say.

Also, as your family and friends share information about you online, take the time to educate them about the photos they tag you in, the images they post, or the comments they make about you.

Tool 3. Don’t take it personal

This tool really goes hand-in-hand with Tool 2.  Always remember that what you say online stays online, so be constructive.  Never play the “blame game”. Handle it professionally and absolutely avoid fighting negativity with your own negativity.

Tool 4. Manage your SEO

You do not need a huge ‘marketing budget’ to effectively manage your on-brand message.  The average person has enormous power to control their personal brand message with little to no financial investment.

Post and publish your own on-brand content with strong SEO on a regular basis in a blog, website, video, and social media channels.  This will elevate your on-brand message in your search engine results, while pushing down any off-brand content. You want to absolutely make sure nothing off-brand appears on the first page of your search results and ideally nothing on the first three pages.

Tool 5. Control your search results

Even if you are diligent about managing your SEO, something still may appear online that is derailing your brand.  Imagine if you could control your search results and avoid mistaken identity? Now you can by setting up free accounts with Vizibility and BrandYourself.

Vizibility enables you to organize and share your entire online identity in one click from your curated Google results. Each Vizibility account comes with a personal SearchMe link button instantly directing people to your true online identity.

BrandYourself takes it one step further by giving you an easy to use dashboard to not only populate your optimized profile with relevant content, but how to build more relevant content about yourself in credible places across the web.

Related: How Personal Branding is Just Like Riding a Bike.

By Peter Sterlacci

Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer" and is one of 15 Master level Certified Personal Branding Strategists in the world. His company, BeYB, is introducing a leading global personal branding methodology to on-the-move careerists in Japan. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSterlacci