Marketing & Communications

How Many ‘Brandividuals’ Does Your Organization Have?

By • November 5, 2012

By Dana Plotke

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re living in a more transparent world
these days. From the Occupy Wall Street movement and reality TV star weddings to
Twitter and Facebook, people are demanding to know what and who is behind the
curtain and then connect with those on the other side. The same holds true for B2B and association media. Publishers are encouraging writers and editors to build
their own personal brands and credibility within the marketplace, which in turn
enhances the publishers’ core brand through increased engagement and revenue.

  • If your association wants
    to remain relevant, you must capitalize on your influential people who tell
    their story and who can be a unique resource for your members.
  • Successful communications
    staffs should think like marketers, write like journalists and leverage their
    personal brands to engage members.
  • Your members are
    increasingly intolerant of communications that are not truly relevant to them.

In a recent interview
with FOLIO
, chief content officers from UBM Techweb and SourceMedia talked
about the idea of “Brandividuals” and “Opinionated Reporting” as being their
best bet for successful editorial offerings.

We concur. Business models are changing, and organizations are evolving. If associations want to remain in the conversation, they need to
capitalize on the people who tell their stories and can make them unique
resources for their members.

One thing for associations to take particular note of is the B2B media
executive’s lack of concern over turnover and how that affects the core brand. No
one individual is relied upon to uphold the core brand—the organization must
provide the foundation and ownership over that. Supporting that brand, however,
is encouraged as a shared responsibility among staffers.

The other thing worth noting: There is no right way to do this. Take
the following examples on Twitter: The Texas Society of Association Executives’
(TSAE) executive director represents the organization under her personal Twitter handle while the core brand also highlights the communications manager
behind the branded tweets.


The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has chosen to reference
their staff’s Twitter handles as part of the custom background for the ACC
brand’s Twitter page.

Larger staff associations or organizations that utilize a regular set
of freelance writers, may want to consider doing what the Financial Times (FT) has done, and set
up a public list
of the journalists that work for the publication.

The fact is, the days of “build it and they will come” are over.
Consumers of media are increasingly discriminating as they sift through clutter-filled communications channels to find what is truly interesting to them. The
successful communications staff of tomorrow will think like a marketer, write
like a journalist and use their personal brand to sell it all to the reader.

Are you ready for this shift in reality? Maybe you have already been
moving in this direction? Share your story with your peers at the Association
Executive Roundtable Group
discussion on LinkedIn.

Dana Plotke
has worked in B2B marketing and communications for more than 15 years,
with a focus on association media and events since 2002. She leads the
marketing efforts of Naylor, LLC.

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