Right now, I’m in the Boston-area with a great group of brilliant women at Alicia Forest’s Online Business Breakthrough Workshop.
And although the dress code is casual and comfortable, I’m not wearing my yoga pants and going barefoot. Why? Because I want to live my brand. Sure, I’m comfortable, but want to also show I’m a professional and respect myself – and my colleagues. (Heck, even my PJs are my signature orange color!)
But lately, there’s a lot of people in the Internet marketing world who seem not to care about their credibility – or their brand. Some are bold face lying to keep up appearances. Others, it seems, are so caught up in their emotions they forget who they are online.
- The ‘Ga-Zillion Dollar Business Coach’ who’s bragging about lounging by the pool and reminding people to be transparent, when in reality this person just filed for bankruptcy.
- The rock-solid high-profile business breakthrough consultant who decided to throw caution in the wind and jump into a legally binding contract.
- The well-respected marketing and branding expert who leaves his/her life – and brand – and decides to start all over again with a new life and brand.
- The mentor who teaches how to connect to rich people and make money off them, who then sells a product on how to make quick cash in desperate times, using the excuse it’s part of a ‘total vision’.
- The women’s business coach who says she was a high level White House staffer, when in reality had some questionable dealings and ethical issues as a lobbyist.
- The relationship author who gets pregnant by someone else’s husband and then sues him for NOT leaving his wife for her.
- And all those people who are proudly and publicly divorcing their spouses – and telling people that it’s a ‘happy time’ for them and their partner. (I think these are the Internet marketing tactic du jour based the way people are announcing their ‘happy’ divorces.)
Here’s the reality folks:
You’re being watched.
The Internet allows people to check on you 24/7. And this can cause a disconnect if you aren’t practicing what you preach.
Brand inconsistencies can come in all sorts shapes and sizes. One day it can be altering that photo to look just a little younger, but another day it may be how we speak, how we treat people or how we deal with clients and customers.
If you get a reputation for being fair and equitable way with your clients and customers, that reputation will follow you. If all of the sudden you stop paying your staff, what do you think this will do to your brand?
If the sh*t hits the fan, and you face a business or personal crisis, you better believe others will be trying to dig up the dirt on you. It’s something I was trained to do when I was a journalist: find the guts of the story. But if your brand is strong, and you have been living your brand, there will be no dirt to be found.
Of course, this idea cannot work for those selling ‘snake oil.’ For example, if you have to work 40+ hours a week to make a living by telling people they only need to work 4 hours a week, then being transparent is impossible. It’s like when someone is selling a dream… but the dream, in reality, is just a mirage.
It’s time to rethink how open you really want to be. And it needs to be based on your goals as a business owner. How do you want others to think of you? Hold onto that and carry it with you – even when you think no one is watching. Then you will truly be living your brand, maintaining your credibility, and clearly… be transparent.
What do you think? Am I off base here? Please share your comments below!