Branding the Staff?

photo by Pingu1963

photo by Pingu1963

I came across an interesting slide show entitled “Non Profits and Social Media” by Ed Schipul, which he presented at the International PRSA (Public Relation Society of America) Conference this year.  The particular slide that caught my attention me was entitled “Personal vs. Non Profit Branding.”  I then flipped to his company’s website, Brandtobedetermined, and found the company’s Personal Branding page.

Personal branding within an organization has  huge potential for the non-profit sector. Most often, the organization fails to consider its staff as a connecting point for social media. This is where the idea of “personal branding with social media” could be helpful.

When non-profits jump into social media communication, they often initiate a blog,  foster a social network (creating or joining a Facebook-type group), and add social bookmarking tools to site (see the bottom of this post as an example).

The typical “About Our Staff” page on a non-profit website lists the employees, telephone or email and a short bio. But if your non-profit is trying to send the message to your stakeholders that it is engaging in social messaging, then why not update the “About Our Staff” to a “Personal Branding Page?”  A non-profit staff bio could also include offline professional networks, online social networks where he/she is active, the staff’s public social bookmarks, possibly a professional blog, and of course interesting links that reflect the employees’ point of view. There is so much more, of course, but it is framed by the employees’ personalities and time limitations.

To tie into the employee’s personal brand, what about re-creating the predictable business card?

Employees could give out a “social business card,” such as the ones SpinningSilk Media uses. I give credit to their Harmonious New Media blog for inspiring this connection. On the back of the business card, why not repeat some of the information from the Personal Brand page of the website? This sends a clear message to your stakeholders that the organizational culture has embraced social media and wants to advertise its many opportunities for engagement.

Here’s how my Personal Brand page might look:


(insert short bio. Shorter than the one for this blog!)

(A bit about my consulting work.)

You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and delicious. I engage in conversations on the the Social Media Mafia LinkedIn group, several yahoo groups and Digital Eve Israel. Some of my favorite bloggers are Beth Kanter, Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang and Floyd Norris (NYT). I am most inspired by those who are discovering their real potential!

Tell me what you think. How should it be tweaked? What are the obstacles?

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3 responses to “Branding the Staff?

  1. Great post Debra. I would suggest, however, that it must go beyond what is essentially moving from a cold professional bio to a more personal bio. These people should be encouraged to blog on their bio page. A good example of this is Forrester Research. You can read about the professional background of the analyst but you can also read the blog of the analyst. This establishes the brand of that individual analyst and gives them their credibility. An example is the blog of Jonathan Browne

  2. By the way, I just went to “About Debra Askanase” and didn’t find the links to the LinkedIn invitiation, FaceBook invitation, etc. Personal Branding starts at home! 😉

  3. communityorganizer20

    David, thanks for the “gentle nudge.” You are so right to have pointed that out. I’ve corrected that oversight and will be doubly diligent about updating it!

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