Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the film classic The Wizard of Oz. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Dorothy discovers the true identity of the Wizard. This scene is symbolic of many political and social truths in our society.
Coincidentally, we saw this same scene play out in the Internet marketing industry this week. On Wednesday, Seth Godin, launched Brands in Public. In short the program aggregates mentions of brands from different social media sites to a single page on Godin’s Squidoo. While Godin claims that he consulted many brand managers about this idea and they all supported it, there was a barrage of criticism from folks in the Internet marketing industry. Most of the criticism drew attention to the fact that Godin himself has been a champion of transparent marketing tactics such as “permission based marketing” however, this program seeks to leverage the hard work of other brand builders with out their permission.
It appeared on Wednesday that Godin’s curtain was pulled aside and his true identity revealed. As the scarecrow might say, “You humbug!” Despite all of his high ideals and transparent philosophies, Godin is looking more like a spammer than the international marketing guru we have learned to love. Perhaps, Seth Godin’s true genius isn’t in his books or his blog, but rather in his ability to market himself as a champion of transparency while simultaneously hiding his true agenda behind his own emerald curtain.
In all fairness, Friday, Godin released details about changes that the Brands in Public program will be taking. Now, they will only create a page for a brand if the company requests it, and the company will have joint control of the page. This seems to be in direct response to the surge of criticism on Wednesday. It’s a positive turn of events, but the question that I have now: Is Godin’s curtain now permanently open? Now that we have seen Godin behind the curtain will he begin being truly transparent?
The Biggest Danger of Personal Branding
The biggest danger of personal branding is not in failing, but succeeding. To have a successful, well known personal brand means that you are held at an extremely high level of scrutiny. Your supporters and brand enthusiast will have high expectations that you must reach.
Because of this you must be careful to always be sincere and engage in an honest dialog. If you can do this successfully then when your emerald curtain is pulled aside there won’t be any surprises!