Go As Far As You Can Without Seeming Like A Complete Lunatic [Filed Under: #PersonalBranding, #Authenticity]
"I can't tell if you're crazy or just stupid," said the head of Public Affairs. "Why would you put a girl in a 3D printed bikini on Twitter? We're a government agency."
"We had to pull that one back. It created all sorts of problems."
But it was great.
The other thing that got me in trouble was a Willy Wonka tweet, a meme about advanced manufacturing.
"Now the Wall Street Journal wants to talk to you! Don't you ever worry about what you will say?"
"Well what if they get into questions about another program, one that has nothing to do with your 'unique' communications strategy?"
"You don't know."
"Are we done yet?"
There is a habit I have of getting on people's nerves sometimes.
It's like the other day when I went to the SPX conference in North Bethesda (this was sort of like a mini Comic-Con).
I ended up triggering one of the presenters.
The person was standing with two other people, who were sitting, and they all looked to me like men.
Clearly, they were men. They had male facial hair.
They were dressed in women's clothing.
You have to know that I do not really care about this.
Even from a moral point of view, even as an Orthodox Jew, I truly do not care what other people choose to do with their private life, sex or sexuality as long as they aren't forcing someone and as long as they aren't perving after kids.
In a previous post I discussed my brief interaction with this person, who said to me that he fantasized about "punching a Nazi."
"I'm a Trump supporter, and I'm not a Nazi," I said. "Can I take your picture for my blog?"
This resulted in a blog pic showing a very upset looking person.
So I went back and said, "The picture was bad, are you uncomfortable?
"Uh...as a transgender Jewish woman I don't want to talk about this right now."
My facial expression must have registered my shock.
This person does not know he is a man.
"I'm a Jewish woman too," I said.
And we just stood there for a minute, probably both thinking different things (other person: I want to punch her; me: well, this is awkward, but I wonder what's gonna happen next).
Truly, the desire to buy and sell things--by having your brand recognized, trusted, desired and preferred--can make even the most wildly divergent people get along.
One of the most important ingredients a brand can have is consistency.
When it comes to personal branding, the trick is to be your complete self, your whole self, all the time.
Along these lines I live by the advice of communications guru Shel Holtz, who said the following about social media in a seminar he taught fifteen years ago:
"Say as much as you can, and then say when you can't say any more."
The same is true for personal branding.
You want to go very far--right to the edge of the self, if you can--and take the audience there along with you.
The trick is knowing when you have gone too far.
It's a line everybody has to judge for themselves.
By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. This is a personal account unrelated to and not sponsored by the author's employer or any other entity. The author shares this content for reuse under the Creative Commons 3.0 License. For more information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/. Public domain photo by StockSnap via Pixabay.