Twisting Personal Branding: Tone, Twitter and Trouble

adeleThough your business’s semblance is essential to your success, don’t forget to pay attention to how you present yourself. Your personal brand shows the public who you are as a company, as well as a person. What’s your TWIST? Are you bubbly and lighthearted? Are you serious and driven? Do you want to appear approachable? These are questions you may want to ask yourself before entering the public eye.

Many businesses have a distinctive presence when it comes to their brand, so much so that it feels more like a personal brand. A prime example is the British juice and smoothie company, Innocent Drinks. As the name implies, this brand maintains an innocent, almost comical appearance on its social media platforms. Innocent Drinks wrote on Twitter, “Scientists * say buying our smoothies for half price…makes you 67% more attractive.” The company then followed up with, “ * Scientists may be imaginary.” With both messages, Innocent Drinks reiterates its twist – its humorous tone – displaying a consistent personal brand. Many consumers, especially the younger demographic, have applauded this personal branding, leading to a strong social media fan base. Because of its successful personal branding, Innocent Drinks makes sure the public remembers its products, as well as the company as a whole.

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Personal branding is just as important, if not more important, for individuals as it is for businesses. Celebrities have a large presence on social media, especially on Twitter. The Twitter platform permits celebrities to quickly  communicate directly with their fans. This is why celebrities often flock to Twitter when problems arise that they want to address in a timely fashion.

Not all business ventures will go off without a hitch and nobody is perfect, not even celebrities. The manner in which you respond to errors and setbacks is crucial to how you and your business, are viewed. When things go wrong in a celebrity’s career, they often follow one of two paths to address it: laugh it off or become utterly serious. The path they choose reflects on both their personal and business brand.

Besides her beautiful voice, Grammy award-winning artist Adele is known for her humor which has become a defining personal brand twist. She is also known for not caring what others, like the media, think about her choices and her lifestyle. This is Adele’s personal brand, and it works for her. When parts of her performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards seemed uncharacteristically out of tune, Adele took to the social media platform to explain the story behind the problem. She tweeted, “The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. Shit happens…” She then followed with, “Because of it though… I’m treating myself to an In-N-Out. So maybe it was worth it.” Adele was consistent with expressing her humorous and relaxed personality when her performance did not go as planned. Her personal brand stayed intact, and her fans appreciated it.

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But not all celebrities will remain calm, cool, and collected when they run into obstacles – and this can have an impact on their personal brand. Laura Benanti is a Tony Award-winner for her portrayal of Louise in Gypsy and a five-time Tony nominee. Like Adele, Benanti is known for her humor, especially in her frequent tweets. But Benanti’s personal brand veered from funny to ferocious when her husband encountered a seating mix up on a flight.

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She called out United Airlines, tweeting, “Hey United, the garbage can of the skies, if you book an aisle seat across the country you should get that seat. Not the MIDDLE,” to which United Airlines responded, “Hey, Laura. We know seat changes can be a drag. DM us your confirmation number if you’d like assistance.” After Benanti attacked the airline again (later deleting her tweet), United Airlines answered, “We know this is frustrating, however we do state in our Contract of Carriage that seat assignments are never guaranteed.”

Benanti’s personal brand shifted drastically when everything did not go as planned revealing a brand-inconsistent demeanor.  To her, United Airlines was the villain. In the public’s eyes, Benanti became the villain. The sudden change in her personal brand away from humor made her appear unapproachable.

Clearly, finding your personal brand twist is important. The tone you set for yourself and your company shows the public who you are, what you stand for, and how you stand out. When things go wrong, stay consistent with your brand’s tone and handle the situation in keeping with your brand.

About the author:

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Justin Cohen is a rising senior at Dobbs Ferry High School. An International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, Justin hopes to pursue a career in advertising. He is happy to be a part of the BrandTwist team!  You can reach Justin on Twitter at @justcohen18 and via email at justcohen18@gmail.com.

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Finding the right TWIST can help your brand innovate and deliver. In TWIST: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands, Brand School founder Julie Cottineau provides a clear road map to build a stronger more distinctive brand – complete with examples from real life small business owners who have successfully completed our Brand School program. Pick up your copy today.