Personal branding as asset allocation

We’ve all been impacted by the global financial crisis in some shape or form.  As we uncover the reasons behind the current chaos (this is the one of the best related posts I’ve read), one theme that keeps repeating is investment in risky vehicles.  Many seemed solid at the time, based on constructs like the Gaussian copula function.  Or at a personal level, carrying a manageable balance from month-to-month on a couple credit cards (perhaps in addition to an adjustable-rate mortgage).  Now we know better…right?

Well, how are your personal brand investments doing?  Pretty well, I hope.

Let’s pause for a second – you are tracking the activity of your personal brand, right? As Lord Kelvin said, if you want to manage it, you must be able to measure it. You can get started with this framework for measuring social media.

Where are you investing to grow your personal brand?  (Normally this would be a rather gauche question to ask, but with personal branding it’s all out in the open anyway.)  Time equals money.  How are you spending yours?

Here’s a brief description of personal brand investment classes:
  • Aggressive. Sites that are hardly known, but offer a chance for you to reap big gains by being an early adopter.  People who were early on Twitter and FriendFeed have been able to make a name for themselves as guides.  On the downside, your investment may disappear if the site goes bankrupt, e.g. ma.gnolia or Pownce.
  • Growth. Sites that have reached critical mass and close to mainstream adoption.  For example, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook.  These are closer to dividend plays – they offer value from the existing network and connections going forward.  On the downside, these assets can fall out of favor and lose value rapidly, e.g. Friendster.
  • Conservative.  Tactics that don’t benefit from network leverage, but generate solid returns.  For example, having your own domain and mapping it to your blog’s URL.  On the downside, it takes a lot of hard work to build these positions.
What would you do if Twitter suddenly shut down? Or Facebook and LinkedIn?  Or Six Apart, WordPress, Blogger?  “Hey, remember me?  I had that Typepad blog.”  or “You might not remember, but I was following you on Twitter.”  To mitigate this risk, it’s important to reinforce the strength of your connections with direct personal contact.  That’s doesn’t mean sending auto-DMs; it means actually connecting.

Allocation is key and will be driven by your personal goals and objectives.  Only you can determine your personal branding asset allocation and at minimum you should review where you’re invested.  If you’re concentrating your efforts into a single area, you may be overexposed to risk or not allowing your brand to grow fast enough.

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  1. Brand diversification is a very smart idea. Being one-dimensional in today’s environment is not only dangerous, but putting limitations on the growth of your brand. Having a successful presence on each of the more powerful social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can increase your audience geometrically the more people (potential customers) you can reach, and then keep as followers, contacts and friends.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Peter. You always make me think.

  2. Well put, Peter. I would indeed be quite upset and suddenly bereft of an extraordinary number of connection if Twitter went away permanently. I was faced with a similar realization when the Magnolia database became irretrievably corrupted — what if Delicious went away forever too? I’d lose thousands of bookmarks and the networks of friends and key information sources there.

    So, to your point: It was great to finally meet you in person at Boston Media Makers yesterday!

  3. Hi Peter,
    What if twitter or facebook shut down? That is exactly the problem that inspired us to build, which is currently in private beta pending a re-design. I’ll be at SXSW, and would love to chat with you more about it. It is a paid service of $5.95/month or $49/year that backs up all your social media accounts in a single place, in case of emergency. It’s lifestream insurance. If you want to test it out pre-launch, you can enter ‘betabackup’ and register for the site.

  4. A blog or website with its own hosting would be the backbone. AFter that would come membership of social media networks etc. But for an individual the whole scenario would be different. Being in direct contact with friends through phone and email are obviously important. Basically we have a lot more communication to do, but then we get to know a lot more people.

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