Lesson in Brand Management

Michelle Beckham- Social Media Queen
Life is Highway- Jump on the Social Media Interstate!

My life in the social media high speed lane has been humming along in high gear.  I am having a blast helping companies and individuals harness the power of Engagement and building their Digital Brand.  But somewhere along the highway I was lured into the bright lights by a figure from my past, and decided to take a detour to check out a less-paved roadway. Yeah, it sounds kind of vague and mysterious- just chill and follow along…..

I was invited to take part in a Tech News Podcast series to be hosted by a very popular Web-site that produces streaming music stations, interactive video programming and new media channels. Sounded very enticing, as podcasting is one area of digital media that I have not even remotely examined yet.  The other enticing factor was the person who had extended this offer: a shrouded figure from my very distant past.  Lol, yeah my creative writing slant is showing here.  This mysterious figure and I met during the B.I. age in the first ever chat rooms as junior high students. Hunh, what!!???  B.I.- Before Internet, kids found a way to meet virtually from the comfort of their homes or in cars parked on family driveways:  I’m talking about the age of the CB radio.  While Smokey was chasing the Bandit and barking out “10-4″s across the interstate, hundreds of teens were meeting, flirting and discussing life on those same channel airwaves.

I happened to meet Craig, founder of  this website, when I was 13 and we struck up an “on-line” friendship.  We lost touch when he went off to a religious boarding school at 15 and recently found each other decades later on Facebook.  Turns out our career paths intersected with social media and we have been trading tips since we re-met on-line about a year ago.

Jen, a large on-line radio personality from Arizona and the third-co-host for the podcast, indicated to me prior to our taping that the Tech Show might be a little ‘edgy’. Edgy, hmmn, I really didn’t see myself as an ‘edgy’ personality, but I thought I would poll my social media community to see what they thought.  The consensus was that my personal brand isn’t remotely edgy in the least.  In fact the descriptors I got back were that people find me:

  • Focused             Sincere
  • Extroverted   Competent
  • Motivated        Dedicated
  • Driven               Passionate
  • Energetic         Invigorating
  • Inspiring

You can check out my thoughts about the poll in the video below.

Ignoring the poll, we ran the test pilot and it became evident to me in the middle of taping that this show was going beyond what I would call edgy. In fact, I would describe it as racy, sophomoric and highly anti-PC, factors that are incorporated by this genre of news to incite divided opinion and reaction from listeners: the stuff ratings are made of!  Look at radio personality Howard Stern and his side-kick Robin who are still going strong after 30 years together!  After listening to the test run several times, I decided that this was a personal Brand Killer for me, so I pulled the plug on my participation. Craig called this paranoia, I called it a smart move.  I shared a private link with folks who know me well and they were in agreement.

Social Media is all about being Authentic and Branding is about Consistency to your core attributes. I know my Brand, as do my followers, and Shock Jock Tech News is just not a part of the C3 brand no matter how funny or entertaining the programming is. When the podcast goes live, the conservative voice buffering out the liberals and taking a pounding from the co-hosts will not be me.  I’m back on my branded highway steering a straight path, but it was a helluva lot of fun being in the sound booth with Craig again in the absence of nearby truckers fading in and out…..

Lesson learned:  Be True To Your Brand!


7 thoughts on “Lesson in Brand Management”

  1. To Thine Own Self Be True!!

    There are so many compelling, exciting directions we can take, and yet I’m a core believer in honoring your gut instinct.

    I remember a story about Gwyneth Paltrow. Early in her career she received opportunities to read for the usual blonde, bimbo type of roles and her brother warned her that if she went for them, she’d stereotype herself and miss her higher goal of being a highly successful, serious actress. She had to believe in herself enough to bypass the quick attention/money for something better.

    She got it and you will too. You have everything it takes to be a huge success in this industry and I’m proud to know you.

    Well done!!

  2. Good decision, Michelle. It’s tempting to take every opportunity that comes along. You don’t want to mess up your branding.

  3. Thanks Lori and Mike- and yes there is something to be said about gut feelings and intuition. I sensed that the project was going in a different direction in the middle of the “practice” taping. Coming from 15 years of working with a full array of top Brands at Procter & Gamble, I for one, am clear on how important it is to keep a consistent brand image for the consumer.

    In the end this could have been a big mistake, but because of my instincts, experience and feedback from my own personal board of directors, I was able to turn this in to a warning tale for others: Be True To Your Brand and make sure you research the hell out of everything you attempt to undertake that is outside your area of expertise!

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