What Does Your Brand Say About You?

Vin Diesel. To many he’s just another muscle bound action man – the modern day equivalent of what Schwarzenegger and Stallone were in the eighties. I’ve even heard one girl say “It’s obvious he hasn’t got a thought in his pretty little shaven head.” So lets take a closer look at Vin Diesel and see if there’s anything behind the muscles.

  • Vin used some of the money he got from acting to set up a video game company because he wasn’t happy with games being tailored to the lowest common denominator.
  • One time, when out driving a new car he’d bought after a movie deal, he came across a car wreck and pulled a newly wed couple out from the flaming wreckage of their vehicle, saving their lives and giving them a hell of a story to tell their friends and family.
  • He’s such a big fan of Dame Judi Dench that he filled her dressing room with flowers as part of his request for her to play a part in the Chronicles of Riddick.
  • Vin’s favourite hobby is to play tabletop role-playing games. He has a level 35 elven mage in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign he’s been playing for over twenty years. One of his tattoos says “Melkor” which is the name of the character.
  • During the filming of Pitch Black the contact lenses he wore to make his eyes look “scrubbed” became fused to his corneas thanks to the intense heat.

So, not really the sort of things you’d think about when you think of Vin Diesel eh? I was especially surprised with the Judi Dench thing myself.

There is a point to all this by the way. This post is the first in a series of posts I’ll be making about your online brand – the way you portray yourself and how people think of you based on that image.


“But Mik, I don’t have a brand. I’m just myself here, exactly like I am offline.” Sorry pal, but that’s a load of bull. Let me put this simply, even if you were online twenty four hours of every day you wouldn’t find enough time to be yourself as you are offline. Typing takes longer than speaking and allows you to think carefully about how you phrase things which, for a lot of people, changes how the things they say are received. Plus there’s just not enough time in the day to do the pursue all the interests you have offline when you’re online. Even the fact that we can’t see what clothes you’re wearing or how your hair looks changes the image we get of you. So you see, you’re not completely yourself online.

“So what am I then, Mr Smarty Pants Furie?” I’m glad you asked that, as it’s kind of the entire point of the post. Online you are the sum of your posts, your photos, your comments and your forum threads. This is the brand you portray to people as yourself while online, and it’s quite important. Employers have been searching for people by their names on social sites for a while now in order to get a feel for the person before they hire them (in some cases before they let them get to the interview stage). You might be the best in your field and the nicest guy around but if all your posts are about how much you drank last night or how you’re so hungover that you’re skipping work today then you can kiss that dream job goodbye. I’ve heard stories of family members looking people up online when they’ve found out that one member of their family has got a new girlfriend. Sure, you’re a sweet girl and really seem to love him and everything, but can you explain why your web page is covered in skulls, pentagrams and photos of death before his family scares him off you? As you can see, our online profile can have several effects on your life offline. More and more we’re starting to be defined by how we portray ourselves online. The same thing affects us online as well.

  • Do you really expect to be popular on the forums if you have a swastika as an avatar? Sure, you may be Buddhist and know that it’s the symbol for universal harmony, but to most of the world it’s a Nazi symbol and you’re not saying anything about Dharma. By all means have the symbol as an avatar, but make sure you explain it’s original meaning in your signature else you’ve no-one but yourself to blame when people start giving you abuse.
  • Want people to show you respect yet you’ve got a page full of hateful posts insulting anyone based on their colour, religion or sex? That’s just not going to happen, no matter how much you try to justify it.
  • Trying to convince people that you’re all about peace and love. You’d better not be getting into constant arguments with people and hurling insults at them then.

There’s so many other things about the way you appear online that can affect the way people view you. If you have the same name on other networks then you’re easily trackable. That’s not a problem for most people but what you do in one place can affect you everywhere.

  • You may well be good friends with a lot of girls, but if your Youtube profile shows you’ve been uploading porn then people are going to start thinking differently about you.
  • People may feel sorry for you when you get into an argument with someone, but if they follow your profile to other sites and see you constantly in fights with people on the forums they’ll start to think of you as trouble.
  • Do you get a lot of people thinking you’re a sexist pig? Can you really blame them if your Flickr albums are full of half naked girls?

The point is that while it’s pretty easy to put forward all the positive things about yourself online, you can just as easily ruin all that by adding negative concepts to your personal brand, whether you aim to or not. This post could be three times as long and still barely scratch the surface of how our personal brand negatively affects us both online and offline, but for now I’ll leave it here.


Next time I cover this subject, I’ll discuss creating and maintaining a positive online brand from an original concept and beyond.


32 thoughts on “What Does Your Brand Say About You?

  1. But Mik, I don't have a brand. I'm just myself here, exactly like I am offline. :worried:"Trying to convince people that you're all about peace and love. You'd better not be getting into constant arguments with people and hurling insults at them then."And"People may feel sorry for you when you get into an argument with someone, but if they follow your profile to other sites and see you constantly in fights with people on the forums they'll start to think of you as trouble." ๐Ÿ™„

  2. You put up an interesting point Mik and by reflecting and applying this to myself I can only imagine what people think of me as per my posts, comments and attitude towards other people.. Could your own honesty be a factor? Sure.. I mean people can only believe what you tell them and that can be as little or much as you want it to be but it could also only be half truths and flat out lies..I'm just about the same online as offline with just the same temperament or so I see myself though alot that I think goes unsaid through that typing takes so long so just a rethought gets commented or posted..In the end we're just all what we make ourselves in other peoples eyes.. Would it help being someone else? Probably for some people but to keep it up would be thoroughly exhausting methinks..

  3. Very good post, you have got deep into this and starting with example as you did with Vin Diesel, shows that you have been thinking about it for a while.I remember when I was a kid in a secondary school, I was a freshman when I met a guy, 2 or 3 years older than me, dressed as a punker, haircut as a punker, even his military boots were splashed with a red paint…. Scary guy, someone you wouldn`t like to meet in a dark street. But in a school, he was brilliant. The best scholar they have had for a generations, best marks in all subjects, every year…. There was no professor that has bad opinion about him, they respected him, it was obvious…

  4. Good points, Mik, I've read something like that in Cosmo 5 years ago :eyes: :devil: Vin is a cutie ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, "Allangie" is my brand but I'm too lazy to pretend someone I not really am so I'm just myself here, ALMOST exactly like I am offline ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. I think this post will speak to everyone. I worry what image I'm giving out, because I try to be open and post lots of photos when I'm not used to it, and sometimes show people just how much I regret it. I probably come across as a bit of an asshole who's very fickle and dramatic. *shrugs* sometimes I regret it a lot, I've pushed myself to be too open. You make an excellent point about Vin Diesel, he is typecast as dumb muscle in movies, and so many people presume he is just that as a person. This is a really good post, and I hope a lot of people read it with care.

  6. This is my first blogging ever so I don't know how people "really" see me on line. But I like to be here and I am glad that I have met most of the people. And I guess, if I am on a lot of friends lists, then I have something in common with all these people :up:Maybe I should ask… errr…. well, maybe not :lol::lol::lol:

  7. I've been reading a lot recently about this and obviously have my own thoughts about it. What no-one seems to have mentioned is the obvious fact that what you do online affects how people see you online. A lot of the points I'll make in this series of posts will apply to me too.

  8. Dunno why those specific examples came to mind Dan. Must have picked them up somewhere. :whistle:.Clint, that's kinda the point of the series. How brands and reality work together and clash. We all want people to see us one way or another, whether we realise it or not, and there's no real way to show our entire selves online.Darko, the contrast between how we appear and how we are has always been of interest to me, probably cause I look a bit thuggish and like to be as polite as possible in real life just to counter that impression. It's amazing how much help you get from officials when people feel guilty about misjudging you.Kim & Darko, I'm a fan of Vin. Another thing most people don't know is that he got into films by making them and has just as many producer and executive producer credits to his name as actor. He's a clever and talented guy, but most think of him as muscles and that's it. I thought he'd be the perfect example of how anything can add negatively to how people think of us. Interestingly he lists his race as multicultural, because with an italian mother and black father he could never get film roles as he was "too black" or "too white", so I reckon this might interest him a little too.Alla, it's not so much about pretending to be somebody else as how people view us based on the limited nature of the conduit we connect to them through. You could read my profile and get one impression but seeing my DVD collection would probably give you an entirely different impression basically. Text based conversation is limited in that body language and minor inflections and emphasis on words is lost, which can entirely change the meaning of a sentence.

  9. A witty comment that everyone would laugh at IRL, could sound cruel and malignant on a screen. IRL, most of our communication is non-verbal. Online, all that visual communication is cut out so the same comment, in ve absence of visual cues, carries a totally different message. Smilies are used to replace these visuall cues but they don't quite do the job. In time, multiparty webcam sights will replace existing entities.

  10. Yes, people are trying to present themselves in public as they would like other people to see them. But there are a million tiny little things that are impossible to cover and cautious beholder will reveal a true picture under the pile of sketches. This was very interesting to me too ever since I started to think seriously about other people. And about me, as well ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. I've always had this little ability to read people.. Yeah I'm a guy and to read a girl's signals was what got me into it..When you get to know someone online you start to take note of their typing style and manner of commenting.. After a while you can actually read that person with text only..But. A person can also just put on a show and there you go and sympathise with the git..Is that beside the point or have I lost myself for a momento?

  12. Originally posted by Mik:

    Dunno why those specific examples came to mind Dan. Must have picked them up somewhere.

    Sure :whistle:

  13. The point is, some things are different online and most people act and react differently online to offline. This is automatic and sometimes not even aware of it.

  14. Wow, you are extremely articulate and if you are not a marketing exec for a Fortune 500 company, you probably could be. Very impressive.

  15. I'm the best there is at what I do, Scooter. Everyone knows it to the extent that they've never sat down and wondered what it is that I actually do. ๐Ÿ˜†

  16. Oh, do read the others in the series if you get a chance, and let me know what you think. I'm always looking for new views I might not have considered.

  17. I did read the other post of this series and posted there as well. You're a genius, what can you say!! :yes:

  18. Pingback: Brand Identity – How To Perfect Yours | The Dark Furie

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