2011 PRSA Digital Impact Conf May 5-6, NYC

I am looking forward to getting back to NYC to present at the PRSA 2011 Digital Impact Conference: “Building Knowledge, Skills and Value for the New Decade”. It is May 5th and 6th at the The Sentry Conference Center.

My session is on Friday May 6 at 9:45 and is called

“PRofiting From the Personal-Branding Era: How to Convince the CEO to Encourage Personal Brands”

I’m particularly excited about it because we have been able to take the Personal Brand Era theories we believed to be true and begin testing them on our newly revised schipul.com. In particular we customized our staff pages to highlight the employees’ personal brands. And internally have turned up the heat on training and direct employee promotion.

Courtney PembertonFor example on our site Courtney is on our biz dev team. Instead of her bio, we tell Courtney’s story. And while I can’t say yet that we have closed any deals because people know the answer for “What’s your hidden talent?” for Courtney is “An impersonation of a Minnesotan named Gayle“, I do know that she is more approachable. And apparently also has an ongoing dispute with a penguin. (I can’t explain that last part. But you can ask Courtney on twitter.)

Of particular interest will be our discussion of the THREATS to corporations from strong personal brands. I’ve learned a few things from the school of hard (read=EXPENSIVE) knocks over the last year. They aren’t just threats. They are expensive dangers that WILL bite you financially and hurt your brand.

  1. What if you hire someone with a strong personal brand, announce it to the world, and then they quit unexpectedly a week later? You can do all of the damage control you want but it is still a ding on your brand. And as a CEO no matter what you say, you look kinda stupid. Having people retweet “congrats on the new job” tweets while others are tweeting “what happened” or more likely sending DM (Direct Messages) is awkward. How do you handle this?
  2. What if you hire, train, promote and then the employee leaves with all of their new training before you recover the cost through billable time? How many times can you afford the 20k training cost loss before you cease training or stop promoting personal brands? It is a valid question. We’ll talk about it with candor.
  3. What if the corporate and personal brands are so strong you get hate mail from anonymous people on facebook about your “strong corporate culture”? Yup, that really happened. I can tell you it didn’t bug me, but it did. Venom hurts. We’ll talk this through on how we changed internal communication to combat this perception?
  4. What do you do when the team gets too full of itself? How can you prevent a good thing from coming across as arrogance externally? It ain’t easy, but it can be done.

I have a few solutions and thoughts for you as the CEO of a 35 employee growth company. Please join us at the PRSA Digital Impact Conference and let’s get this sorted out!