How to Maintain Your Personal Brand as a Corporate Employee

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A strong personal brand is beneficial on many levels. At the core it differentiates the designer, developer, marketer, etc, from the rest of the pack within crowded disciplines. It functions as a self-promotion agent that works for the practitioner 24/7/365 ultimately ensuring this person becomes a magnet for new and interesting work opportunities.

The foundation of a personal brand is initially created by consistently doing good work. From there, commenting, interacting and reacting in public discussion forums, blogging, Twitter, Facebook and the publication of articles and even books further solidify an individual as a thought leader.

However, “the idea of personal brand is often associated with independent practitioners”, as David Armano puts it. And for independents there are typically no conflicts as they are in the business of promoting themselves, their skills and knowledge. However, for practitioners working within corporations and interactive agencies, the challenge becomes balancing their personal brands with the corporate brand.

Many opportunities for friction

As a corporate employee you don’t represent “you” out in public — you represent the company. The opinions, theories and expertise you present publicly all get attributed to your employer. If you say something controversial, the story that will propagate is not “John Smith said…” but “John Smith, Lead Developer for Company X, said…”  Add to this the risk of disclosing proprietary or sensitive financial information and it’s no surprise many corporations aren’t interested in promoting individuals (outside of C-level executives) externally.

These same corporations are only now beginning to comprehend the power of the social web and don’t understand the need for external “corporate ambassadors1”. Colleagues within the organization can also be points of friction as they begin to question whether the now-public practitioner is actually a “work horse or a show horse”, as Christian Crumlish, Director of Consumer Experience at AOL, puts it. If it’s not clear that the company is getting more benefit than the individual, resentment can build causing the individual to start defending their activities.

Crumlish also suggests some companies are concerned that making their star employees visible exposes them to competitive employers looking to poach talent. This alone may make an organization reticent to promote individuals externally.

Finally, if the practitioner works for a less-established brand, there is a risk the personal brand will ultimately outshine the corporate brand. While this is certainly not an issue for global corporations, start-ups who have one or two star employees could face this challenge.

Overcoming these hurdles

The challenges may seem risky but there are some specific ways to mitigate these risks. By following the guidelines featured below, you will be able to convince your employer to not feel insecure or threatened about you strengthening your personal brand and encourage you to participate in public events.

Make your employer the star

To alleviate any concerns that you are attempting to promote your brand more than your employer’s, make it obvious who that employer is and that you’re speaking on their behalf. Any public facing documents you present must have company branding. This includes white papers, conference posters and slide decks. In addition to branding your thought leadership, all online profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, et al) and blogs should clearly disclose where you work. Finally, all client associations should also be disclosed to minimize the risk of perceived conflicts of interest or favoritism.

Luke Wroblewski, former Chief Design Architect at Yahoo! and Lead Designer at Ebay, who is a popular speaker at many design conferences, ensured all his presentations were branded with the Yahoo! and Ebay logos. Like Wroblewski, Crumlish, a mainstay on the design conference circuit, also made sure he was seen as a “Yahoo! Person” in all of his public efforts.

Fronteers Conference2
Participation in conferences is a good way to strengthen your personal brand and solidify yourself as a thought leader. Image source: Fronteers conference3

Make your colleagues smarter, bring back learnings

Conferences, meetups and other professional extra-curricular activities provide tremendous learning opportunities. As much as you are a presenter at these events, you must also be an attendee. The opportunities for learning and growth are tremendous. It’s important to capture that knowledge and bring it back to your organization to share with your colleagues.

This shared learning can take two forms. The first is sharing the specific things you learned while at the event. What did the other presenters discuss? How does it relate to the challenges you face as a team? How can it be applied? These are the domain-specific elements you picked up from the other presenters.

The second is sharing with your colleagues how to become more successful and active within these external communities. You’re likely not the only person in your organization who is interested in furthering their personal brand. Bringing this education to your colleagues who did not attend the conference and sharing your techniques on how to become more active on that front helps minimize any jealousy that may develop in your colleagues and positions you as a mentor.

Your employer is now a thought leader

When attempting to convince your superiors to allow you to participate in public forums on behalf of the company, it’s imperative to remind the organization the benefits the corporate brand gets from this exposure. Active engagement in industry-specific forums and conferences gives the company the chance to stand in front of peers as a thought leader and, in many cases, frame the conversation on a particular topic. Brand perception of your employer improves as adjectives like cutting-edge, innovative and supportive (of new thinking) are associated with it.

In addition, both your business development and talent acquisition departments benefit from the corporate brand enhancement you’re facilitating. Every interaction that is publicly available from the employees of a company provides an opportunity to strengthen that company’s public persona. Tweets and blog posts about the kind of work or processes taking place there humanize the company and increase the attraction of higher caliber employees as well as potential new customers.

This may not be obvious at first to your employer. It’s imperative that you showcase these successes internally. Positive mentions for the company in tweets, blogs and post-conference meetings should be forwarded to the organization’s management. When employment candidates express interest in the company, try to make sure that they are asked how they heard of the company. Each time a candidate mentions a public appearance or some thought leadership showcased in an industry forum, make sure your superiors are aware. If possible, quantifying (in dollars) the value of these appearances should further your cause.

High-level talent that is acquired through word of mouth is significantly less expensive than talent acquired through staffing agencies. Also, have your business development team assess the source of new leads and customers to see how many were driven by the company’s public presence. Each one of those leads and customers has a monetary value which, when tallied, can justify the expense of sending you to the next event to present.

Be bold, yet humble

In some companies, your superiors may not see the immediate value of your personal brand. In these situations it may prove more successful to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.  Write a blog post on an industry or domain-specific topic and share it publicly. If it drives discussion and positive perception of your employer, tell someone.

Attend the next local meetup and present a quick deck on your latest thinking.  Did someone tweet about it? Share that with your boss. Was there a strong discussion on your blog that reflected well on your employer? Point your PR person to it. Showcasing the success of a low-profile activities or blog posts should engender some level of support from your boss. One word of caution though: ensure that you’ve consulted your company’s policies on such activities, as Crumlish advises. You don’t want to end up violating corporate policies that could put your job at risk.

Choose the right employer

If creating and maintaining a personal brand is something you value then it’s imperative to view your employer through that lens to understand if your goals align. As your personal brand has been developing and growing, has your employer been supportive? Is there a broad corporate understanding of the benefits you can bring through promoting your thought leadership externally? If the answer is ‘No’ then it may be time to evaluate new opportunities.

Becoming an independent practitioner is the easiest option but may not be viable for everyone. In that case, how much do prospective employers “get” the concept of employee empowerment? This is a discussion that should be clear from the outset with a potential new employer. Set the right expectations in your interviews and, if possible, have public-facing activities that grow both your personal brand and the corporate brand written into your job description. There’s no more effective way to balance your personal brand as a corporate employee than to actually have it as one of your position’s responsibilities.

Conclusion

Ultimately, for the personal brand to grow, the “company should get more value than the individual”, as David Armano said. If that balance is off, then you should consider becoming independent. That doesn’t mean that you cannot create, cultivate and curate a personal brand within a corporation. In fact, a personal brand can be crucial to your continued success and career progression. Be respectful of your employer and their policies but find creative ways to promote yourself while promoting your company at the same time. Personal branding enhances corporate branding. It makes the company appear more “human” and approachable. It makes people want to work there and it attracts good press. If balanced correctly, this is a win-win for all parties involved.

(sp) (vf)

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Jeff Gothelf is a user experience designer based in metro NYC. He has spent his career designing engaging experiences for clients big and small. He is currently the Director of User Experience at TheLadders.com where he helps executive jobseekers and recruiters make meaningful connections with each other. Previously Jeff helped shape the designs of AOL, Webtrends and Fidelity. Jeff publishes his thoughts on his blog and on Twitter. Jeff is presenting Lean UX: Getting Out of The Deliverables Business at this year's SXSW 2011 conference and the IA Summit.

  1. 1

    I must say it felt like the author has written this article personally for me. Every point every suggestion seems to fit perfectly. :)

    Thanks

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  2. 3

    Rupnarayan Bhattacharya

    December 28, 2010 4:34 am

    Good article no doubt. In my opinion we always need a good balance in personal branding versus employer’s branding.

    1
    • 4

      yes Rup, you’re right, very well said, personal branding vs. employer’s branding should also be considered in making a choice.

      1
    • 5

      Agreed though you need to make sure that your employer is comfortable with your personal branding activities. If not, it could cause friction.

      0
    • 6

      Nice Post

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  3. 7

    Terrific post. Not surprised that it resonates with folks as more and more “average” employees tap social networks to be heard. This of course leads to the benefits and friction outlined in this piece, but it is indeed becoming a new reality.

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  4. 11

    This is a very good article. I believe that creating a personal brand is very important, especially in today’s workforce. There must be something that separates you from the rest. I recently blogged on this very same topic: http://jacobbrowndesigns.com/blog/brand-yourself/

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  5. 12

    Really great article. Not everyone sets out to be a corporate star or a personal branding whiz, but as more people are using social media to connect, their personal side can’t help but come through. I agree with David that this is a new reality for employers, ready or not.
    Thanks for sharing, Jeff.

    3
    • 13

      Exactly… ready or not, for better or worse.

      1
    • 14

      This may be the new reality but my gut tells me most employers are not quite ready for it. Moving forward in these directions should be done with baby steps.

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  6. 15

    Great post. Put in the larger context of corporate brand and reputation management, these points help make the case for another category of employee ambassadors – those that are seen as thought-leaders within smaller influencers groups. Any employee ambassador program can add another dimension by identifying and cultivating a few individual thought-leaders to help carry brand affinity farther into specific industry areas.

    3
  7. 16

    This was a really good read. One other issue that creeps up from time to time is making sure you don’t outshine your supervisor. You haven’t run into it personally but I know a lot of people who run into that issue more than a concern about outshining the corporate entity.

    2
    • 17

      Great point, Devin. This is a situation only you can recognize. Perhaps, if this is your situation, you can involve your boss in the activities. For example, my boss and I are submitting a joint proposal for a conference or two next year. It helps us reach a better understanding on the subject of personal branding while still enhancing the corporate brand.

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    • 18

      I left a reply to this comment that contained no offensive or inappropriate language- I’m curious as to why it was removed?

      Wouldn’t making an effort to -not- outshine your supervisor be a path to stagnation? Why apologize for the things you are proud of?

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  8. 19

    “A strong personal brand is beneficial on many levels.” So very true. After years of hard work and persistence a lot of my efforts are finally starting to pay off. How do you recommend to keep the momentum going?

    0
    • 20

      See if you can build those accomplishments into thought-leadership activities (blogs, posts, discussions, books, presentations, etc) that showcase your wins along with the way it benefited your employer.

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  9. 21

    Interesting article, but slightly unsettling…

    “If it’s not clear that the company is getting more benefit than the individual…”

    ^ Is it really being suggested that once employed by a company, they practically own you and your success? That once employed by a company one should minimize or downplay their personal endeavors and growth? This is terrifying.

    I am constantly growing, learning, trying, making- and all of these things are personal to and for myself. I am educating and bettering -myself- so that not only do I become more awesome, but my employer benefits from the increased awesomeness. It is not the other way around. I do not increase my awesome so that my employer alone can reap the benefits…

    And if my employer is not proud to employ me and accept my personal endeavors, achievements and pursuit thereof, well…. then there are bigger problems.

    5
    • 22

      I think there’s a healthy balance in there — you grow by doing and learning at your job (at least we aspire to that) and by sharing that knowledge you enhance your personal brand while at the same time shedding light on the accomplishments of the company.

      Now, if your employer doesn’t appreciate or see value in your activities, then, as you said, you have other problems to consider.

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    • 23

      I think the rub is when you are asking your employer to give you a day off or even pay you while you speak at a conference or write a blog post or what have you.

      In that scenario, I think it’s fairly reasonable for your employer to expect that your efforts are yielding benefits for the larger enterprise and not merely polishing your personal brand.

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  10. 24

    The points given for helping your career (and job satisfaction) by producing consistently excellent work are valid, but I feel a shudder when this is associated with “personal brand” and “thought leader” terminology. I think this elevates the concept of branding beyond what is beneficial, and minimizes the actual person.

    I’ve been both astonished and appalled by employers who inappropriately use the idea of branding as a way to pressure and manipulate employees by telling them they are “off brand” if they don’t work 12 hour days, talk the right way, wear the right color nail polish, or have a personality that the employer doesn’t happen to particularly like. I’ve also seen employees who are clueless and useless use the concept of the “personal brand” to conceal their ultimate inadequacy; papering their office with spreadsheets and website runouts of market competitors and calling executive-level “brainstorming” meetings far more frequently than is actually productive, to look competent and embedded in a whirl of work when in fact there is only whirl and no work.

    The same applies to “thought leadership”. Thinking and jumping into new channels of communication is great, and participating in industry discussions of new ideas and technology is even better, but when I’ve seen this phrase it seems to be used mostly by people who intend it as code for “let’s come up with great new ideas instead of addressing real problems that are preventing our growth, and require real work right now to solve.”

    Work should be about doing the work, and the recognition that comes from that should be just that – recognition of consistent good work, instead equating the person with a “personal brand”. It seems to me too easy for the “personal brand” to eventually minimize the person, or to over-emphasize a lot of “noise” while concealing how little work is really being done.

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    • 25

      It’s exactly this great work that provides the raw material for the motivated employee to promote themselves externally. It is purely that employee’s prerogative. The thought leadership label only gets applied to someone after repeated forays into the community. Any attempts to artificially install that label typically are short-lived and don’t hold up outside of the corporation.

      Now, if participating in these external activities is deemed “off brand” then, as mentioned in the article, you may want to reconsider who you work for.

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  11. 26

    I’m going to agree with Nik above, and sway from the general consensus that I believe this article is ultimately harmful to the employee. Let’s face it, unless you’re working in a job you are so comfortable and happy with that you don’t even bother to polish your personal brand, you need to forget about your current corporate employee brand of self.

    Like you said above, “If you say something controversial, the story that will propagate is not “John Smith said…” but “John Smith, Lead Developer for Company X, said…”. Except people don’t usually remember the “John Smith” part, they just say “the Lead Developer for Company X”. Your name is easily forgotten in any number of larger company names. If you are not promoting yourself, you probably don’t care much to leave your company, in which case I congratulate you on finding that perfect job.

    Unfortunately for the vast majority of us, defending ourselves against corporate problems isn’t a problem anymore, because we’re more concerned with finding a new job anyway, finding the right job or retiring. I haven’t seen anyone offering a pension in the last 10 years, much less decent company work places outside small and growing companies aside from those in the Forbes 500. The rest of us plebeians have to deal with simply getting paid, making a real name for ourselves and getting outside the soul-sucking 9-5s that we currently have to deal with until we can land that sweet job in the Forbes 500 that 5% of you get to experience.

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    • 27

      What I was hoping to get across in the article is that, as you’re doing this self-promotion, take care to balance it with your corporation’s culture. If you run into the problems described above, at least there may be some ways to get around them so that you can improve your brand and get to that next great gig.

      3
  12. 29

    This article was somewhat unnerving to me as well, alone the same vein as Nik. I always do my best at my job, and since I’m part of our marketing department I work hard to market our company and improve our service offerings to the best of my ability. But, like Nik, I’m constantly improving myself. I’ve worked to make sure that much of what I’m learning is documented and available for everyone in the company, but ultimately my growth is for my personal journey. My accomplishments as an employee are just that – MY accomplishments. They benefit the company, certainly, but I tend to view the benefit as being primarily mine. Breakout hit upon a good point, too – some of us (I’d venture to say many of us) aren’t working where we want to working, doing what we want to be doing. So our success, while beneficial to our current company, is also preparing us for our next (hopefully better) job and provides our current supervisors with positive things to say about us when we ask for a recommendation to include in our resume. Just my two cents.

    3
  13. 30

    This article reminds me of all the things that killed me in the corporate machine after 15 years in there… The Prisoner said it best “I am not a number”… nor am I a brand or a product… I really like being an individual… I think I’ll go listen to some Rage Against the Machine.

    4
  14. 31

    Nice article Jeff. Expecting some more articles in future falling under same line.

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  15. 32

    Great article, Jeff.
    As a community manager I find myself sometimes struggling in this area sometimes. A few people have said it above and I have to agree, that this is becoming a new reality and companies are going to need to find a way to deal with it.
    I was lucky enough to get a job with a company I really like and believe in AND they hired me because of what I have been building as my “personal brand” (although I kind of hate saying that about myself). I think that both of these things really help because I’m constantly building my personal brand, but I love bringing my company into it. I know that I happen to be one of the lucky ones, but there really can be ways to strike a good balance for both parties,

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  16. 33

    It is strange that virtual employee around there is a remarkable turn of money, while in reality, also known as men and women, not.
    I know that the brand is created by people, and remains faithful to its owner, however it behaves. But I would not enemies among humans, have their own thoughts and actions that are not always wrong.

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  17. 34

    Great article Jeff. Thank you, Mike

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  18. 35

    I’ve worked for some of the biggest global corporations and it was the not-so-silent word that employees should, “come to work, go into your cubicle and come out at the end of the day.” Big Brother was always watching and corporate rules prohibited any employee from airing company work, initiatives or even mentioning the company outside the barbed wire gates. It was also an unwritten rule that anything one did within a five mile radius of the “cult compound,” otherwise known as corporate headquarters, was “under scrutiny of the corporation” (i.e. if you caused a scene at a pub a few miles away, you could be fired for not “upholding the corporation’s image”).

    With that said, one can and should create a personal brand INSIDE the corporation for visibility to upper management. The only problem with that are the petty politics of middle management and the status quo. Long time managers don’t like subordinates who may be a threat to their positions. While any tome on business preaches empowering workers to excel and move up within the company (a sound replacement issue), the human need to crush threats and change negates those principles. There are often those in charge of public relations and they call the shots…or not, as is often the case.

    Your points are all well put and sound for company growth and employee engagement but when has common sense, ever ruled the corporate giant, especially these days? There’s a reason we see the same companies listed as the “best place to work” year and year again. When they slip from the ranking, they never seem to reappear.

    As for me, next time I’ll keep my head low and my name a secret. Let the public relations people do their jobs…or not.

    3
  19. 36

    “Any public facing documents you present must have company branding.” This sounds like a line straight out of an employee manual – not what I expect to read on Smashing Mag.

    A heavy burden like that is what I want to learn how to avoid.

    1
    • 37

      Daniel, What do you mean “heavy burden”? I think it’s reasonable and professional to accurately portray who you are and where you are professionally, at the time of any presentation. Having a corporate environment that lets you grow enough to be able to present and speak to an audience is kind of a gift! I think a small plug on their behalf, and fair to suggest.

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      • 38

        I would feel different if my employer identified this type of promotion in my job description and/or was compensating me for the effort (if it was done during work hours or company paid travel etc.). Otherwise, I don’t see it as my duty to promote their brand. Plus, it is a heavy burden to tell all the Smashing readers “Any public facing documents you present must have company branding.” Many creatives wear different hats, corporate, freelance, personal startup, all at the same time. And we need to learn how not to be burdened by such an obligation but rather how to balance our efforts and not transgress our employers policies.

        2
        • 39

          i think a preso you gave in your spare time could ignore your employer without any harm done, but if the employer is sponsoring your time, considers your outreach work to be part of your job proper, supplied the equipment you use to do the work and write the presentation, or generated the case studies you’re speaking about, then it makes sense to acknowledge your affiliation with the larger entity, no?

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  20. 40

    I think a problem with associating your “personal brand” with your company brand as strongly as suggested in the article is that they may not resolve around the same topics. If you are a marketing director for a company that sells rainboots, your advertising blog doesn’t need to be associated with boots any more than your company needs to be associated with banner ad retargeting, etc.

    1
  21. 41

    Excellent post. It is hard to understand a lot of times that no matter what you say, or even what forum it is in, it often reflects on your employer.

    I struggle with it a lot as a corporate development manager, but also a freelancer, and blogger. What do I blog about, on which site? The ultimate problem is who gets the credit. My employer, my freelance, or just me. Lots to think about.

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    • 42

      Right, it does require a lot of thinking sometimes, especially in terms of whether to share certain information or how to share. However, here lies an opportunity as well to benefit them all — the employer, a team or your own company.

      All in all, a nice post and quite a timely one for me! Thanks Jeff!

      1
  22. 43

    wow, this article is rather apt and timely for my personal situation! I setup my personal site to promote my core strengths in SEO however it was never meant to garner any freelance business, given that it wasn’t the purpose and I didn’t want to compromise my full time job. I merely wanted to show prospective clients that if I could do a great job with SEO for my own site, I could do just as good or an even better job with theirs. I’m currently working on a re-branding which would use some of the tips in this article. My current employer is super flexible and doesn’t worry about my site as it poses no threat but I’d like to play it fair.

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  23. 44

    Ary Surya Parta Winata

    December 30, 2010 7:08 pm

    I like the article, bring me knowledge. thank you

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  24. 45

    wow thats cool i found it after a long time…i’m very glad thnx admin

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  25. 46

    Why would anyone live like this?

    We’re all bright, capable people here – SM’s target audience. Why waste our endless potential slaving away for corporate masters?

    Go out there and do your own thing. Leave your own mark on the scene, and don’t give a shit about propping up your “employer.”

    The only employer you need is yourself.

    1
  26. 47

    I am on the other end of the spectrum, working for the corporate but have no interest long term in staying the same job. I want to rather start my own online business.

    Question is should I brand myself online as an entrepreneur and someone who wants freedom from 9 to 5 and the type of expertise I will be branding has nothing to do with corp. job.

    How can I maintain my personal brand in this case? If the employer finds out, they may consider that I’m not the die hard type of corporate material.

    Has anyone or the author run into this scenario and what are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks

    2
    • 48

      My advice to you would be to build an online presence that showcases the work you’ve done, the things you know and the leadership you can bring to your industry. Consider it a glorified resume and make sure it’s easily found via SEO, Twitter, etc.

      In essence, you’re carving out your space online. People will start finding you as they search for the things you do. When you’re ready to break out on your own, you’ve got a significant head start in creating that personal brand.

      Good luck.

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      • 49

        Thanks a lot for your reply. Let’s talk specifics may be of help to others too. Say I’m a geek at his day job who doesn’t want to brand himself as the techie (u can outsource lot of the mechanical IT stuff even programming and design) so not much high value there.

        I will be building a brand online which will not benefit from my day job. So it’s not like I’m say a CPA (Cert. financial planner) at my day job and I want to strike out on my own as CPA. It’s more like I’m a CPA but I want to try my hands on affiliate marketing or online marketing stuff.

        Hope that makes sense.

        Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

        Thanks

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        • 50

          In some ways I think you have it much easier than the points made in the article because your personal activities are not competing with your day job. As long as you’re performing your job to your org’s expectations, what you do in your spare time, especially if it has nothing to do with the org, is your business. If/when that activity becomes more than your hobby, it’s your choice then to make the switch to that line of work.

          Anecdote: I knew a guy once who was a phenomenal technical architect at his day job — revered and respected. At home though, he was an avid photographer (and a very good one at that) with a unique way of creating his art. This work got a tremendous amount of attention which never concerned our employer — because it had nothing to do with his day job. When the photography became a viable source of income he resigned to do it full time. No regrets, no hard feelings.

          Hope that helps.

          [Jeff]

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  27. 51

    I ran into a similar problem a few years ago when I worked for a small marketing agency. As I was learning social media (to be used for their clients) I inadvertently started my own online brand. My bosses weren’t terribly thrilled by this. They had me slap a corporate logo on my personal website. I did it, but it forced me to temper what I said online because I was then speaking as “Jim MacLeod, Art Director at [company]” instead of just myself.

    This article would have been helpful back then.

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  28. 52

    PATRICIA COOMANS

    January 6, 2011 1:23 am

    Excellent post. Thank you very much for this information. I try to learn more about marketing.
    It is a wonderfull world.

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  29. 53

    Superb article! I think it’ll be more helpful to my career as a UI developer… thanks alot!

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  30. 54

    Tulsi Soft Consultant wants to say ! This is great job done by Smashing Magazine

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  31. 55

    Phenomenal! I just shared on Twitter using our corporate employee hashtag #ssempl and in our social media users group (SMUG) on Facebook. I think the idea “every day is game day” at work sums this up nicely as well as the concept of being the “CEO of me”. So many employees feel companies owe them something in return for their employment when the reverse could not ever be more true. Your corporate ambassador concept is right on! Thanks for this insight so clearly spelled out.

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  32. 56

    Jeff,

    Great article — I’ve been talking a lot about this both internally (my company is GREAT about letting us build our own brands) and with friends who are at more restrictive organizations.

    My feeling is that when you like a person, you like what he or she represents, whether it’s a product, a philosophy or something else. I certainly turn to my networks for advice on everything from workout gear to iPhone apps. And I turn to the PERSON, not the brand. But it all contributes to brand awareness.

    Katy
    (in the spirit of no link dropping, I’m not including my website…but it’s my name, if you want to stop by!)

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