Friday, October 12, 2007

Stephanie Fierman Shares Strategies
On Protecting Your Personal Brand

Points Out That Reputation Management Isn't Just For Brands

In the new world of user-generated content and social media, the importance of reputation management and monitoring brand mentions should not be limited to corporations. Stephanie Fierman, CMO Club Board member, sparked a lively conversation at the group’s dinner in New York this past Tuesday, October 9, with her presentation about personal reputation management.

Citing her own recent experience when several anonymous blog posts rose to the top of the Google results when her name was searched, Fierman urged the group to think of themselves exactly as they think of their companies and employers: as precious brands that deserve promotion and protection.

"Reputation management, both for individuals as well as corporations is nothing new. But the fact that anyone, frequently hidden behind a cloak of anonymity, can post online content about you that may literally be visible to millions of people forever – whether it be true or false – that's new," Fierman explained.

Fierman pointed out that many different stakeholders may find information about executives online, including current employees, bosses and other associates. Given the constant microscope that most CMOs are under, Fierman added that it is critical for members to manage their own personal brands as they manage their careers, particularly those in the market for new professional opportunities.

Fellow CMO Club member Lauryn Franzoni of Execunet supported Fierman’s presentation strongly on this point. According to Execunet, 85% of recruiters say they use search engines to find information on job candidates, and 45% claim to have eliminated a candidate from a search based on information found on the web. And those numbers are bound to increase, as Franzoni told the group that she had attended an event in the last week where 100% of the recruiters in attendance said they make it a practice of checking out candidates online.

To help address the growing concern, Execunet offers its members a webinar and other reference material. The webinar called "Digital Dirt: Online Reputation Management and How You Can Use the Internet to Your Career Advantage," includes the results of Execunet's research on the topic.

For practical steps on how other CMOs can protect their own personal brands, Fierman was to develop your own persona online and “make it part of your daily activities to keep it current – and do it before a crisis occurs.”

A few of the top tips Fierman offered on developing and effectively managing personal reputation online, included:

· Monitor your online presence on all of the search engines, and also check online news services, newsletters, blogs, chat rooms and image banks

· If you do find inaccurate or otherwise unacceptable information about yourself online, respond quickly and authoritatively in the realm where the original content appeared. Your goal is to not only help yourself, but help those seeking information about you to get an accurate picture.

· Create search-friendly content. Blog, post to other blogs, create a website, create online profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and use business information sites such as, and to communicate.

For more information on the topic of personal reputation management or to reach Fierman directly, visit her website at

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