Market More Authentically by Cultivating Some All-Stars

Steve Rubel on Digital Communications

By Published on .

Personal branding, while not new, is hot. In these uncertain times, many workers are flocking to social media in an effort to build their own brands.

But just as perennial all-stars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez help the Yankees sell more tickets, businesses also recognize that having a few "corporate all-stars" on staff can help them market in an authentic yet cost-effective way. (This is one of five trends we at Edelman have identified for 2009; the full list will be available on our website Feb. 17.)

Steve Rubel
Photo: JC Bourcart
Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP-director of insights for Edelman Digital.
Dan Schwabel is one example. Online he has established himself as an expert on personal branding. However, Schwabel is also a social-media specialist at EMC Corp., one of the world's largest tech companies.

Drawing on his personal branding experience, Schwabel has revolutionized the way EMC communicates and collaborates with its stakeholders. He is driving the company's Twitter, Facebook, social-media press release/newsroom, social bookmarking and blogging strategy all by leveraging its corporate all-stars.

Not every company will want corporate all-stars on the team. But those that cultivate them will be in a strong position to be heard in the noisy social sphere. Here are three considerations:

Use blogs to connect customers and corporate all-stars
Blogs are fast becoming a key part of many brand communication plans. However, according to Forrester, only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs say they trust them. To mitigate this, turn boring product blogs into communities that connect customers and corporate all-stars around their shared passions.

Give all-stars independence, yet ensure they stay focused
To be successful, employees with personal brands need to carefully balance their roles as semi-independent thought leaders while maintaining a clear connection to their employers. The ideal situation is when the individual's and company's goals are aligned, the subject matter overlaps, and transparency reigns.

Equip and support personal brands in becoming active listeners
The advantages of having authentic online all-stars go beyond relationships, branding and overall visibility. These people also become active listeners. Equip them to act on potential crises and issues, and enable them to identify new ideas and unmet needs.

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