Egotistic oversharing wasn't always top on the list of corporate job applicant criteria, but increasingly, online brand management is becoming a social endeavor. And emloyees that eat, sleep, and breathe the brand are becoming the indispensable moutpieces of big and small companies alike.

According to New York Times writer Laura M. Holson:

"Having a social media aficionado on staff is one way to create conversation about a brand, the same way hip-hop record executives in the 1990s used urban street teams to promote new musicians. And it is a rare example these days of a growth industry: Forrester Research, a research and marketing firm, has 12 analysts advising more than 100 companies on how to use social networks to get customers to do things like open bank accounts or buy more face cream."

Services like Twitter presents potential pitfalls for brands because they straddle the line between work and play, but employees that Twitter in an engaging manner can help their employers tremendously. A corporate Twitter feed can have its benefits, but many companies are finding that they get the most traction when it's clear that there's a real live human typing at the keyboard.

And while media companies like The Wall Street Journal are struggling to control the way their writers portray the brand's reputation in social media, brands that have a more playful image can really excel in the space.

Take for instance an exchange that Ms. Holson mentions between JetBlue customer Meaghan O'Connell and JetBlue employee Morgan Johnston that made it onto Gawker recently:

“I want to make love to the @jetblue terminal,” meaghano wrote.

“I hope you’ll at least buy the terminal dinner first!” Mr. Johnston quickly replied.

Meghan Keane

Published 21 May, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (5)

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Michael Galpert even goes as far as saying “You cant buy that kind of advertising with money @Jetblue did however buy it with 72 Characters!”

You can’t?  Of course you can -- and you can likely make the dollars spent deliver tangible value beyond MAYBE making people THINK “aren’t they a great, funny airline.”

Sorry but it’s called direct response marketing.  Twittermania is out of control to the extent that we're not thinking this stuff through in my opinion. 

What about making people BEHAVE differently — DO something that adds value to their lives through your brand’s behaviors? 

Getting excited about this kind of thing is common and assumes nonsense (ie. this JetBlue Twitter exchange) somehow equals value to an advertiser.  This value, we’re told, are new and based on interactivity in a hyper-connected, digitized world.  But think about it — this “hey look how many times it got passed” value equation is extremely BACKWARD and LOW value. It’s borrowed from one-directional mass communications!

about 9 years ago


Meaghan O'Connell

hey-oh, my name's Meaghan O'Connell not Meaghan O'Rourke!

thaaaank you,


about 9 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Fixed. Sorry!

about 9 years ago


, Managing Director and Chief Strategist at Echo E-Business Ltd -

Great points and debate.

It also depends on what your offering is- whether it is a service or product.

If your offering is knowledge and skills, personal branding is of high-importance. People buy people. I'm the founder of an e-business consultancy that delivers training, advice and skilled services, so personal branding of the team (skills, knowledge expertise) is crucial.  In this case its not about ego but more about a key strategy. Even those who potentially prefer to be low-profile (I myself fall into this category), are needing to brand themselves and become more visible in order to promote business. 

For employees - Some may just have the 'star' profile, some may want to improve their job opportunities, and other loyal employees may be more involved in promoting the business brand.  In the end it comes down to loyalty and the way employees are treated.

So perhaps,  social media has changed the landscape considerably. We may be in a recession, but perhaps this is now a wake-up call for employers to take care of their staff well.

about 9 years ago


Deborah Collier

ryyrg - What does your SALES pitch posting have to do with the authors posting on personal branding?  rgyrg have wonderfully demonstrated how to create a bad online reputation!

almost 9 years ago

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