Why Covert Branding Works Against You

March 28, 2011

in Business

Would you buy a product you cannot see that hasn’t even got a name? Thought not. Still some people believe they can get a following on social media by branding themselves that way.

identity, covert branding, social media, Linkedin, Facebook, branding, covert branding, ghost, transparency,

Would you do business with a ghost? Thought not, and the same applies to the rest of humanity. So leave covert branding behind and start reaping the benefits of social media.

How can you take people seriously when they hide their identity? Obviously you should not post your contact details on social media. But your name and picture are essential if you want to be taken seriously.

A statue cannot sign a contract

Hiding takes away fear and I can understand that to some extent. But what’s the point of using social media if you are afraid of it? And what’s there to be afraid of? Apart from people who, usually for dodgy reasons, are using a fake identity, social media is a wonderful thing that people should embrace and make the most of.

But when you hide behind a photograph of, say a rose, and an alias you give the impression you have something to hide. So if you haven’t, what’s the point in making people suspicious? Chances of getting new customers, a job offer or business proposals are next to none if you are not transparent.

Identity theft doesn’t only take place online

Some people hiding claim they are afraid of identity theft. Seriously that can unfortunately happen even if you have no presence whatsoever online. All it takes is for a letter with your essential details to fall into the wrong hands. And,deplorable as it is, it happens all the time. Both in the real world and online.

Fearful leaders and entrepreneurs

Is it really feasible that so many people priding themselves to be leaders and entrepreneurs are afraid of online identity theft and posting a photograph or name? Seriously they wouldn’t be leaders and entrepreneurs if that was the case. So why are they hiding? Far from all of them are con-men, so why don’t they post their names and photographs?

Linkedin is not Facebook

If you use Facebook to communicate with your friends only, anything goes. But on business networks, such as Linkedin, you have to come across as a serious person. Posting a picture of yourself half naked doesn’t do the trick. Or a picture that makes you look dishonest. Chose a photograph that makes you look business like. It’s not a question of being ugly or beautiful but looking like a person businesspeople would like to be associated with.

Like products without logos

Imagine walking into a supermarket with your shopping list and all the logos and descriptions had disappeared from all the products displayed. How would you know what they were? Even a simple thing like buying a can of Coca Cola would be difficult because you wouldn’t know what was in the different cans. And how would you know if you were picking up a bottle of shampoo or body lotion?

Learn from 007

There are covert agents on social media aiming to influence public opinion pro whatever country they are working for. They don’t want to draw negative attention to themselves and I can guarantee you that they all post a name, appropriate photograph and a credible profile. If not, how would they be able to do their job?

Would you do business with a ghost? Exactly, and you are not the only one. The same applies to the rest of humanity. So do yourself a favour by refraining from covert branding and instead display your photograph and name on social media. When people take you seriously, things can happen out of the blue and the positive aspects of social media will be available to you. Invisible branding works against you so unless you are in a witness protection program, or something similar, be transparent and start reaping the benefits of social media.

Photo: dawnzy58 – Flickr
2Φ3Σ27Φ (\)λ√λ22Φ.·. (Roberto Navarro) April 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I just recently started understanding the importance showing who you are in posts and comments a really cool add on for WP blogs is WP.com Jet Pack that includes Gravatar Hovercards (great way of identifying yourself) A post about Hovercards Here

Alex@Jocuri March 29, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hello Catarina,

I wonder, isn’t a brand something that identifies your business? You don’t necessarily have to show your face in order to gain a lot of popularity and you can gain confidence from other by using a marketing strategy which does just that.

But you have to provide some security elements for the users, such a sense of being able to contact you anytime and that contact methods are fast and diversified. Also, having some information about your business that makes it a bit personal can also increase your customers trust in you.

I honestly think that branding a business with your picture it’s not a good strategy and the best thing is to make a trademark logo that can be recognized by everyone and everytime they see it, they should think at your business.

Catarina Alexon March 29, 2011 at 11:40 am

Ever heard of personal branding, Alex? That’s what we are talking about here. Not how to brand a company and the different aspects of it.

Sincerely your comment has nothing to do with what the article is about.

Notice from your picture that you may be into covert branding of yourself. Your choice and I hope it works for you on Linkedin.

Tia Peterson March 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Is it really feasible that so many people priding themselves to be leaders and entrepreneurs are afraid of online identity theft and posting a photograph or name?

That point is great, and it amazes me, as well. This is merely the fallout of a bad situation (more on that bad situation below).

As for covert branding, I think a lot of people (myself included) hold back – it’s a form of fear, but mostly it’s lack of confidence. It could also be self-doubt, or even perfectionism, which is a bit crippling. I spend a lot of time investigating my own brand and service offerings, tweaking, etc. I never hide but a few years ago, I would have. And if I’m not confident in an area, I will not go forward with it.

Dare I say this: Too many people start businesses when they really need to be working for someone else. I don’t think business ownership is for everyone. It’s okay to work for someone else; I don’t know why we give that such a bad name. To me, it’s about being happy and having joy with your life. When people are forced into business ownership due to the economy, we end up with a bunch of people who don’t know what they are doing, and I think that leads to even more confusion and lack of confidence.

And lack of confidence leads to weak branding, fear, hiding, flying under the radar, etc.

I would rather preach finding joy in life than preach business ownership to people who don’t have the slightest inclination to do it. This would solve the issue.

Sorry to take it so far off-topic, LOL.

Catarina Alexon March 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Gosh Tia, you really picked a line where I was being sarcastic. Of course the majority of the so called leaders & entrepreneurs don’t belong in those categories. They just like the current buzz words and feel they have to describe themselves that way.

Agree with you that lack of confidence often is the reason behind covert branding. However, if they are that shy they shouldn’t describe themselves as entrepreneurs, experts and so forth.

You are so right when you say that too many people start businesses when they should be working for someone else. But that’s because of the recent recession. The same is happening in Sweden for the same reason. The amount of new companies started equalls the amount going bust. Crazy isn’t it? Anyway, at least in the States it’s not considered shameful to go bancrupt. But in Sweden it is. Have heard Americans speak highly about a person just because he has gone bust twice. That’s a healthy attitude.

By the way you have to read the comments on my blog to this article. There is one from a guy who is into covert branding. You will love it. Replied in a diplomatic way since I can’t be bothered to argue with him.

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