Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Whose Brand Are You Anyways?

Thornley Fallis a Canadian PR Agency came out with a new “online communications policy" . The one line that immediately struck me as odd was "your always one of us". While that phrase disturbed me, it is hard to argue their logic. Their policy states:

"You may be active in social media on your own account. That’s good. But please remember that whether you are on your own time or company time, you’re still a member of our team. And the judgment you exercise on your own time reflects on the judgment you exercise at work. There’s only one you – at play and at work."

In fact, research would support this. Our personal and work lives are increasingly becoming completely intertwined in a way that our HR and Social Media policies (if we are progressive enough to even have those) haven't even begun to understand.

On a similar note, there has been some recent controversy around Forrester's new blog guidelines that states that analysts personal blogs on non-Forrester domains must not discuss their area of work expertise. Mathew Ingram's post over at GigaOM has some interesting ideas that suggest that research needs to be social and therefore Forrester's decree moves in the wrong direction.

What i found interesting is that so many of the commenters seemed less concerned with Mathew's social research premise and more concerned over individuals abilities to build their own personal brands. On the opposite end of that, Brandsavant blogger and Forrester client Tom Webster has a great post on why he agrees with Forrester's approach.

Thornley on the other hand doesn't want anything shut down and in fact, allows total freedom with this one little stipulation. He states that he is:

"comfortable encouraging people to post freely if they know that their actions contribute to the achievement of our objectives."

And by objectives he means the four key objectives of their company. I get it. I get that they are trying to be transparent and open. In fact, are trying to take the opposite tact of Forrester but I worry that such a broad policy could be easily taken out of context. Mark Federman wrote a very thoughtful post on this subject that I highly recommend you read (and Joseph Thornley has commented as well)

All in all, I find myself not liking any of the approaches or options laid out and yet I'm not sure I have any meaningful alternative to suggest (gotta love that).

Forrester just shut stuff down. Not liking that.

Having no restrictions seems like a recipe for disaster from a Corporate brand perspective. So don't like that.

Thornly wants me to think about my companies objectives 24/7 and as a friend of mine put it, unless they are paying me 24/7 I'm not thinking about them 24/7. So not liking that.

All that leaves me asking the question, whose brand are we anyways?

What do you think?

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