Personal versus Professional: Another ambiguity for digital marketing

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Getting used to ambiguity in the world of digital marketing

Merging the Personal & Professional by the Myndset
Merging the Personal & Professional

Last week, I wrote (post: Virtually Real) about the existential challenge for brand marketers to live with a whole assortment of ambiguities. These ambiguities center on the blurred line between the virtual and the real, otherwise known as the online and the offline.  With increasing frequency, you will say “did we meet on [ Facebook ] social media, or did we meet in real life, before?”   I would tend to believe this question might become stiff competition for the statement that one hears so often: the coincidence of “it’s such a small world.”  Similarly, for marketers, customers will no longer remember whether they discovered the brand or product via the internet (banner, forum, social media…) or the “real” traditional communication channels (ad, mag, dinner party…).

Meanwhile, another zone of confusion that is clearly different, but related to the off- and online existence, and that has serious implications on our lifestyles, is the blurred line between the personal and professional life.

For digital marketers, they face the challenge of sorting out, on a personal level, how to manage their own time, replying to a fan’s comment on the brand fan page and finding the time to answer a Facebook message from a “real” friend (much less deal with all the emails).

4 factors driving the imbalance

The quest for work-life balance has been a relevant topic for several decades, behind the desirable notion that “I work to live” as opposed to “I live to work…”    Today, the search for work-life balance is decidedly more difficult and rare because of a combination of 4 coincidental factors:

  • the access and immediacy of the internet (high speed internet, 3G or 4G, wifi everywhere…),
  • the constant connectivity (smartphones, internet of objectives),
  • the fact that we are operating in a global 24/7 “world is flat” environment,
  • and the economic pressures (which aren’t likely to dissipate anytime soon)

Professional and personal lines forever blurred?

It is no wonder, then, that the border between professional and personal has blurred.  Certainly, the acceptance levels for letting the personal cohabit in a professional sphere differs between cultures (country and corporate, that is).  Many justifications include words to the effect: “it’s just what we have to do … to survive.”  But, just as the professional world can concretely aid us in the management of our personal lives (organization, communication skills, [family] management skills…), the personal life has enormous advantages to bring to the professional arena, not least of which is your attitude (or myndset).  So, whether it is the crossover between the on and offline or the personal and professional, there is a need to be at one of the ambiguity.  It will also be worth explicitly finding ways to organize one’s life in function of these ambiguities.

Social media marketing: a personal affair

Of all the reasons, there is one that leads me to believe most fervently that brands need to learn how to accept the personal sphere into the professional environment:  It is the fact that the brand’s client should be — de facto — at the center of the brand’s preoccupations.  And, for a brand (whether it is its brand marketer, digital marketing, customer service…) to know how to attract and interact with its client, the employee must learn to operate within and respect the personal sphere of the client.  Specifically, when posting on the Facebook wall, which is by definition the exemplary hybrid media, navigating between the personal (with your friends in a “free” environment) and professional (pages that generate money for Facebook).

The personal in personality of the employee is key

In order for a brand’s social media strategy to succeed, the first and most engaged player must be the employee (starting with the community manager).  A personally motivated employee means having a corporate culture that treats the individual with respect, values that are congruent, provides rewards that make sense and opportunities to learn.  The personality of an employee is vital in creating an engaging and authentic voice in the social media communications.  These are the qualities that must be infused into a social media strategy in order to generate a strong, meaningful and loyal customer fan base.

At its heart, the message of this post is that branding — inside and outside the company — must get more personal.

8 Comments, RSS

  1. Helena Chaves

    Nowadays with the internet in all parts of the globe, anyone can have access to information and relations. On the other hand all this information created a collapse of this resource, the information today are dynamic but are disposable, and because of that any kind of relationships are becoming superfluous. People no longer need to find friends in a bar, because they can have all of then on facebook, customers are no longer loyal to a brand because they can search on the internet similar products, cheaper and perhaps better. And relationships between companies and customers follow the same path, one customer is loyal to a company only from the time that this relation is useful for your purposes, there isn't a marital relationship, it's just business!

    The world today is increasingly virtual and superfluous, so we must find a way in this virtual world to bring back the old values of trust and relationships with a brand!

    Like Minter Dial said "the brand’s client should be — de facto — at the center of the brand’s preoccupations", because the client is the most importante person for the brand, is't it? So to make a mark attractive the marketers have to "be" this mark, like their image, and they have to convince employees that this is also important for them and for the company. Internal customers should be the first to become interested, because they are the catalysts of this brand.

    That is why the term "home office" might be interesting for an employee or not, because when he works at home he gets more time for yourself and your family, but otherwise they are not inserted in the atmosphere over the company. But it's really good engage so much the personality of an employee with the brand? They will know the limites of they personal life and work? So I think the phrase "branding – inside and outside the company – must get more personal", it end like:" …get more personal, respecting the limits of the personal life of each one. "

  2. Some wonderful points, Helena. I think that the multiplicity of choice and the ease of change have certainly rendered some relationships superfluous — or at least with weak roots.

    I very much like the expression that 'marketers have to "be" the mark.'

    And, as you say, if branding toward the customer needs to get more personal, the issue for management is how to give smart enough guidance not to abuse, for example, a community manager who, by passion, replies to certain Facebook posts in her/his "spare" time… not to mention the Blackberry that is attached to certain employees' hips.

    Thank you for your considerable comment.

  3. Nevena Doneva

    Working is taking an important part of our lifetime. Even if we accept that the levels of cohabitation of these two aspects- personal and professional depend on the cultural differences, we have to admit that if it's us who are performing a kind of useful activity (working), we have to give from ourselves. Our personality is the potential that we have and will be in this case the source of our internal motivation. I think that by becoming more personal brands try to take care exactly of this potential which will allow to us to be constantly motivated and passionate about life.Why should brands have customers? Because customers are those who need the brands.They want to find a kind of support and a way to express their personality by taking part of 'brand's community'. I think that the important question for the brand marketers is how to recreate this personal needs and motivation in the brand in order to find a better way to communicate with their customers. Everything can be attractive if based on a free choice. Customers are free to choose but once that they find themselves in the brand that suits them and makes them happy what should they change? It's the same principle as in emotional life.Marketers can have pretty good professional results if they learn to take care of our personal motivation.

  4. Catia Goncalves

    Personal relationships and professional relationships do have their differences, but it is important to allow this inter-relationship, bringing some personal values ​​for the profession and many leading corporate learning for life. After all, what would be human if not for the exchange of experiences?

    For too long we have heard that the professional and personal personas of individuals should be separated as the so-called social demand, which mix the two worlds would not be the best approach for success in the labor market and that professionals should learn to cut through their behavior and attitudes in terms of what is expected of them "socially."

    To speak of human relationship is complicated because each has a vision and an understanding of life very private, and cyclical and mutable.

    But we can´t forget one point the personnel attitude influences completly the professinal environment.

    If the personnes don´t feel good with themself how can they become a good professionells????

    First to understand the clients we need to understand ourselfs…motivation is so important "brand’s social media strategy to succeed, the first and most engaged player must be the employee".

    Like Minter Dial said “the brand’s client should be — de facto — at the center of the brand’s preoccupations”, because without them we don´t "survive", so first we need to believe, because if we believe we can!!!! we need to focus in the clients, make them believe, but is not just the clients who needs to believe US TOO!!!!

    With all this virtual and artificial world all the physics connections are being remplace for the virtual connections we need to be more "touchable", we need to take care, we need anchievement.

    So even inside or outside (in the house or in the company) our personnells skills needs to be used!

    Share the feelings even with a brand, become more emotional, become more us could contribute for a different and a lovely world!

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