Role of the Business Card in the Digital Age

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I’ve often wondered about the seldom used box of business cards that sit in one of my desk drawers, as well as the stack that occupies a small place atop my desk.  While they contain useful information, they’re often left behind.

I’ve forgotten to carry them when attending important vendor meetings, or when interviewing a potential new hire.  I realize at those moments that I’ve just made a business faux pas. Although one that’s glanced over by almost everyone as I’m also seldom alone in forgetting to carry them.

Once upon a time, business cards were critical in making first impressions, establishing methods of communication, and demonstrating that you are a professional.

Today, they have been somewhat displaced by smartphones that allow us to enter our contact information directly, and sites such as LinkedIn.

In today’s world, I do believe that business cards can continue to be an effective marketing tool for entrepreneurs and executives as it’s a piece of yourself and your brand that can be left behind as a reminder.  This is amplified when time is of the essence, phone batteries are low, or you want to be sure your email address doesn’t get misspelled.

For me, this serves as a reminder to keep them at the ready.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Why Do I Need a Personal Brand?

Branding Green
As a politician, athlete, celebrity, executive or entrepreneur it may be obvious that developing a personal brand is essential. What may not seem as apparent is that everyone should give thought as to what their personal brand is. Branding is all about perception. If you place a negative perception about yourself, product or service into the universe, then people will perceive that as reality. Likewise if you carefully craft a positive and measured persona about who you are and what you stand for, people will take that as face value.

Creating and cultivating your personal brand is all about strategy and it can be extremely difficult and tedious. The upside however is very rewarding because it allows you to control the message about who you are. If you do not take control, others will. A great deal of introspection is required to really focus on your past behaviors and decisions, beliefs, accomplishments, short-comings and goals to build a full view of what your brand should be. For many, it’s wanting to be seen as a rising star, potential CEO or a no-bull politician ready to shake up the status quo; or simply as boxer Floyd Mayweather has said, ‘The Best Ever’. However, if your past actions do not align with your stated objective, a great deal of cultivation will be needed to close the gap. This is especially true if you have a negative online persona. Slander and negative content is easily found about many people online and it can be explosive to a person’s personal goals. Handling and defending it quickly and proactively is a must.

So now what? If you’re interested in learning how to best build your personal brand there are a few options available. There’s always the Do-It-Yourself method. If you have a marketing background, this may be a good option. If this is not the case, working with public relations firms that specialize in personal branding and reputation management can be a great solution. If you reside in the EU, it’s as easy as submitting a ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ request to Google.  This essentially erases negative and misleading content about you from search results.

And don’t let all the hard work of building your brand fall by the wayside. After you’ve polished your online brand, be sure to proactively manage your online reputation. Being proactive and responding quickly to negative interpretations about your brand is key to being effective in accomplishing your goals.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

What can I do about negative online publicity?

urban01It’s frustrating.

Sometimes warranted, but still painful.

A great learning opportunity.

If it’s untrue, it’s slander – and thus legal options are available.

Cleaning up negative publicity can feel as fleeting as trying to obtain an 850 credit score after a bankruptcy and foreclosure.

  1. Step one is realizing negative content has been posted about you.
    • May be very obvious, comments posted on your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, video rant, website dedicated to you, etc.
    • Conduct your own search. See what’s being said about you.
    • Utilize an online reputation management firm to analyze mentions of you
  2. Determine the source. Is it from a reputable news outlet, relative or friend, employee or person with clout? Is it from a stranger with no connection to you? Determining the source is critical in determining what to do next.
  3. There’s a saying that all publicity is good publicity. Hmm, I’m not sure this always hold true, especially if you’re ill equipped to put the right spin on it.
  4. What can you do about it?
    • Act swiftly by putting together a plan of action. Get ahead of the storm.
    • Contact the source (try to negotiate removal or redaction of the comments, etc.). Now this can be a sticky situation, and may require an impartial party or representative to act on your behalf.  It will require diplomacy as a heated exchange with the source can aggravate the problem.
    • If no contact, or if contact is reluctant about removing the content, don’t fret (too much) as you still have options.
    • Slander and libel as a legal option?
    • Hire an online reputation management firm
    • Monitor. Like cleaning up poor credit, safeguarding and clearing your name/brand online is an intense undertaking that requires patience and tenacity. For those of us who are much too busy to keep up with what people are saying about us, trust in a company that specializes in online reputation management. There are also numerous apps that monitor mentions of specific names and organizations across the internet, and aggregate that information on your behalf.

Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.

Oversharing Online – How much is too much?

WhisperingHave you ever had a conversation with someone or even a group of people, and later thought – you know, I wish I hadn’t told them that.

Well, that same experience happens with social media. While it’s normal to want to share details of your life with others, it’s important to actively remind yourself to filter your thoughts and words. If not, you can potentially overshare information with others, which could lead to dire consequences.

This is especially true if you’re utilizing a social media website such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

With our ‘always on’ and real-time technology world, a misspoken word or thought, can cause irreparable damage to you and others.

Before posting any information online, whether it be an image, video, tweet, posting or comment – pause and ask yourself:

  1. Can this be traced back to me? If so, it’ll be hard to deny any allegations.
  2. If my employer, government agency, professional associations, etc. see the post, image or video, would it cause embarrassment or issues? Remember that some employers and organizations have moral clauses in their contract agreements and by-laws.
  3. Am I revealing information that may be proprietary or subject to a non-disclosure? The legal issues can be tough to overcome if you’ve publicly violated a legal agreement.
  4. Did someone tell me this in confidence, and if so, would they be offended to see it posted online? This is especially important with friends and family, be careful not to share information on their behalf – especially without their prior consent. If there’s any doubt or uneasiness about what you’re posting or sending, simply don’t do it. In this case, the old adage applies, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  5. And ultimately, could this post hit me in the pocketbook and cause financial repercussions? If so, the answer is apparent, steer clear from posting the content.

While I’ve mostly focused on content published on social media websites, the same advice applies to emails and text messages. Be careful of what you email and text to others, after you hit send, you have no control as to how the information will be handled. It can be forwarded to others, posted on unsavory sites, manipulated, and many other unfathomable actions.

While social media definitely has its place in today’s society, we should remind ourselves that some aspects of our lives should remain behind closed doors.


Rolanda Gregory ©2016
All Rights Reserved.