18 Responses

  1. Rachel Levy
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    Thanks for the post! I couldn't agree more that the Ning model is the best of both worlds. @kodakcb is another example. There's something about talking to a log that is more stilted and less personal. It's easier to build a relationship with a face versus an inanimate object. The challenge comes in when you have multiple people tweeting for a company… how would you handle that?

  2. Jason Keath
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    the same way. Ning has several people tweeting. they choose to use logos to help with the consistency.

    Dell, Twitter, IBM, Zappos, etc all have several people extending their brand through Twitter. Most of them are real people, with photos as avatars. Companies should allow all their employees to extend a brand through whatever social networking they are naturally drawn to. Zappos teaches every employee about Twitter, has a simple Twitter policy, and lets them decide whether they use it beyond that.

  3. Ben Atlas
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    People come and go. You can't have a person tied into a brand icon. Like Michael Jordan would have his face on Nike, what if the next year they sign LeBron?

    Some iconic brand images are far more powerful than faces.

  4. Jason Keath
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    more powerful is one thing. but creating a conversation is another. it depends on a companies goals for Twitter I suppose. I am assuming, to some degree, that the goal is to drive discussion, conversation, relationship.

    Your point was echoed tonight in the #PR20chat on Twitter that @BethHarte puts on. Asking what happens when a personal brand is a CEO or account rep at a company and leaves that company. Do they take all that built up trust and personal brand with them?

    I would argue no. I think personal brands are healthy for companies to encourage. Treat them well and they stay. Personal brands can also benefit a company long after they leave. Just as Jordan will have lasting effects on Nike. And most importantly, people are going to have personal brands one way or another, especially within Social Media. Forcing that personality outside of your brand is missing out on the best part of that employee.

  5. Rachel Levy
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    I was thinking more along the lines if various people are tweeting from the same account. But, I guess what you're saying is that there shouldn't be a “corporate” brand? Just employees?

  6. Jason Keath
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    there can be. I see the impulse to have a corporate account, but I just find them less engaging, more of a bull horn, less of a relationship. ideally, if you have multiple authors on a corp account, I like when they are signed tweets, preferably signed with twitter usernames. our local newspaper in Charlotte is playing with that (@theobserver) as well as a local design shop (@studiobanks). I would prefer the signatures link to real people so I can seek out that relationship.

  7. Rachel Levy
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    Just was reading more about you… so, the @highheels account… what are your thoughts on that?

  8. Rachel Levy
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    Agree… I like the signed tweets idea. I agree with everything you're saying, but do struggle with the idea of how a corporation can have an account and be personable. I haven't seen many who do it well. (excl heels.com of course!)

  9. Jason Keath
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    that is a longer story. ping me on Twitter and I can give the back story there. but it was originally a bit of an SEO play, before my time there.

  10. DianeCourt
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    Agree (with accompanying laughter) though in part that's because the tweets under logos I encounter are less engaged in conversation than in one-way statements. They may be non-promotional interesting, useful links to other blogs, in-house blogs or retweets, but there's little if any exchange with the community. At the same time, I understand having gone profile just for that- essentially a company “news feed,” while individuals from the company participate in their own right. Of course any time I feel like I'm being “sold” something – I just feel like bitching and blocking -photo or logo.

  11. Ben Atlas
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    First of all Twitter is not a conversational format. I don't care what anyone says. Blogs are conversational though. Second and obvious point you have to take it case by case. Oprah is brand and a person. Microsoft is brand that transcends even Bill Gates, hence Microsoft on Twitter. You want to tell a story than a person is better. You want to reply to a question, an icon avatar will do.

  12. jakrose
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    I see that perspective Ben. Respectfully, I disagree.

    Twitter is very much conversational for those that use it most. If you are reading feeds and searching for news, I would agree, not much discussion going on there. But for me, 50% of my content on Twitter are @ replies, responses to others, conversations. This very post began with 2 pretty large conversations on Twitter.

    The photo avatar as a reflection of personal brands is obviously something I am more supportive of than others. Perhaps a blog post is due on my part about why I think brands should invest in the personal brands of their employees.

    Thanks for your comments

  13. Ben Atlas
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    Personal brand is separate from a corporate brand and increasingly so. Frankly I find your idea of shaping a corporate brand with a person a bit passé. Sort of a through back to the corporate past and dare I say totalitarian cult of personality past. Fact of the matter is that people are less and less tied to a job or a company. This change is fast and furious and for the better.

    PS You have your experience with twitter and I have mine, but those things change as you know.

  14. Kevin Chastain
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    None of thes things mean anything.For the kingdom of God is at hand.Look to the skies ;wait upon his return for we are the generation that shall sleep;
    before he returns.I am poor ;but yet happy money truly means nothon to me.We are wasting are time on this earth .
    For God is on his way back to this sinnful world.Do you thank he is going to be happy at the way this world has became?No for he will destroy the earth and all the sinner for God is a God of Wrath you will fear him.For he destroyed the world once he will do it again.
    I pray that you are saved for the fear of the Lord is the begganing of Knowledge.For his word was here before the world began it will be here long after it ends.I pray for you all,i pray for peace in this world ,i pray for the lost.For they will be destroyed by my Father anger.Seek God in all you do.For the love of money is the root of all evil…
    http://www.twitter.com/supperkbc
    http://profile.to/kevinchastain
    http://www.trollchastain.blogspot.com http://www.myspace.com/kbchastain12love

  15. Suzi Craig
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    TOTALLY DISAGREE with Ben – Twitter is all about conversation, either with one or the many. You obviously don't use it enough or are not having interesting conversations.

    AGREE with Jason – people want to connect with people.

    I have been struggling with idea of having a Twitter account for our company, Fathom. It just doesn't feel right. What is working well, is that 4-5 of us are actively on Twitter and making our connections while building our own fan base, while still getting the word out about the cool stuff happening at Fathom in a very personal way. Altho, if we do decide to put the Fathom handle out there, I would do what this agency does, and have folks sign off each Tweet so that we can still keep the personal flavor: http://twitter.com/cmithun

    I feel like, if you have a strong legion of die-hard fans (like a non-profit) AND you start conversations that are interesting, insightful and engaging (versus just adding to the noise), you can connect with your audience as an organization. But, there is still a wall there if you present the corporate face only (logo) vs. personal face. Plus, your content can only get so personal if you are under the mask of a brand vs. a person. Or can it?

  16. Swan
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    Great point of view from @ready2spark: http://www.ready2spark.com/2009/06/first-impres

    She is strongly pro-photo over logo.

  17. Silver Platform Shoes
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    Thank you, great advice. Timely for us, as well. Have a couple of companies we haven't yet settled on the 'avatar' or logo. This puts some ideas out there for us and the example was really appreciated. Thank you.

  18. Kevin Jagger
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    Good post – I like these debates along with the Facebook Group vs Fan Page as one allows for a brand to be represented and the other a person on behalf of the brand. Each has its own merits but really depends on the types of conversations and level of engagement you are looking to get into.

    A personal photo with the corporate logo twibbon was what our team settled on. Seemed to work and it was consistent across departments.