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Ergo Ego: Personal Brands and the Top 10 PR Whatever


personal brands

Photo credit: FashionablyGeek | Diary of Why

by Frank Strong

@DannyBrown isn’t afraid to call it like he sees it and he doesn’t shy from shock value.  He’s managed to work parts of the human anatomy for both genders equally into his headlines.

I don’t endorse his word choice, but I do agree with his message:  the chitter-chatter about whose ego is bigger is tiresome, offers little value and doesn’t get us any further. In fact, it’s a regression. A four year-old level, Danny says to be precise.

One of my biggest pet peeves is lists.  Not the making of them – I very much like to read lists, to see who my peers have picked, as savvy PR people to follow – rather it’s the subsequent outcome.  The “Top 100 PRs on Twitter” posted on EverythingPR a short while ago is a good example:  just check out the commentary on this post. Some of the comments I’ve seen in posts of late could be books, let alone blog posts in and of themselves.

Ergo:  ego.

Good grief, Charlie Brown! You’re really bent out of shape because you didn’t make the list? There are 90 million people on Twitter, and you’re upset you didn’t make the top 100 on one person’s list?! Come on…try kicking the ball one more time!

“There’s one more reason I think this type of post is more popular – controversy,” wrote Jeremy Porter on Journalistics. “Anytime I rank something, I get above average comments about my flawed methodology or all the people, places and things I left off the list (usually it’s egos getting the best of people – sometimes I really do screw up).”

The ego part tears me up, because I grew up in an agency world where PR was behind the scenes – becoming the story was a bad thing.  Social media has changed this – especially when PR pros have more fans and followers than the journalists they pitch.  It’s given rise to this notion of a “personal brand” a concept I find dubious, though I’ve personally struggled with where that line is drawn between work and personal interest.

Despite my roots, I’ve accepted that to some degree the two will intersect though I live by the philosophy the brand comes first.  To the extent I can lend credibility to the brand, so be it, but avoid the vice-versa.

There’s one exception that comes to mind:  if you own your own firm or have a stake in it.  I believe there’s value to the celebrity CEO – in fact have some forthcoming social media monitoring research that will help demonstrate this point.  For now, it’s service above self.

My thinking is with the risqué guy north of my border:  save the ego, focus the energy on researching and writing good content. The rest will fall in place.

Photo credit:  FashionablyGeek  | Diary of Why

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4 Responses

  1. Danny Brown

    This comment here stands out for me, Frank:

    "Social media has changed this – especially when PR pros have more fans and followers than the journalists they pitch."

    I remember posting something about PR not being the story, and received just as much flack (no pun intended!) as I did agreement.

    You know something's gone wrong when the company that's meant to be sharing the news *is* the news. What exactly does that do for the client?

    I dunno, mate, if this is how Berners-Lee envisioned the web when he created it back in the 90's, I think we safely say he created a monster for faux celebrities and power mongers.

    Oh well…

    Thanks for the shout, and apologies for the non-choice words ;-)

  2. Frank Strong, MA, MBA

    I guess I don't have an issue with being successful; I do take exception to the ensuing jealousy and worse, the useless conversations that underscore that jealousy. My comment is geared that the social media, for all it's benefits, has set the conditions for those disputes. I really just don't understand the ego battles if we focused on results, then we wouldn't have time for them. Disagree with a point of view…fine; think your product is better…okay; but the personal vendettas, that's what bugs me. Bernays focused on results. He almost single-handedly use PR to double the market opportunity for his client. And since he was influenced by Freud, he might have a better appreciation for your word smithing! :-) Edward Bernays: on Propaganda and Public Relations Thanks for the comment Danny Brown.

  3. journalistics

    Thanks for mentioning me in your post Frank. If you didn’t, I would have had to comment to suggest you left me out. I kid, I kid. It’s been a while since I had a chance to read one of your articles – I’m glad I stumbled upon this one (and on one of my favorite blogs too). I do think ranking and list posts – when done well – are valuable resource posts for people. They help people discover things when carefully curated. You might recall I’ve done a couple of exhaustive lists on Journalistics – like the one of 90+ journalism blogs and resources. This wasnt a tactic to get the attention of the bloggers, but rather a service to the community as a whole (there are far too many blogs out there that go unnoticed). It’s been a long time since that post went live, and I need to update it, but I still get comments every month from people who are grateful I took the time to put it together (and yes, a couple that suggest I left a good one off the list).

    1. journalistics Hey Jeremy, long time. Funny, this post is three years old, but I’ve been working on fixing some of the broken links, tags, categories, etc.  Long painful process. As for comment, I agree, even three years later, which is exactly why you’re cited!  Thanks for stopping by bro, we should catch up sometime.  You had some projects and I’m curious as to where they are at!

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