BEWARE: Fake personal brands – online
By Jon Michail
Do you tell falsehoods? Have you ever been tempted to exaggerate just a tiny bit on your webpage, your LinkedIn account or your Twitter or Facebook profiles? And if you have, do you even care that your family and close friends know that you are a deluder? Heck, since our politicians are doing it daily who can blame us common folk.
There are many people out there who do tell big lies, not some white lies but some of them absolute whoppers about the awards and accolades they have collected throughout their amazing careers. And fortunately, there are many who don’t need to lie because they have a sense of honour.
During your online travels, you will come across both sorts of personal brands, those with integrity and those without that may even turn out to be scammers. The latter are the narcissistic self-promoters. They are fervent believers in Adolf Hitler’s dictum: ‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.’
The former have profiles that reflect their true experience, qualifications and capabilities. Their bios and profiles are simple and factual. Yes, they may be out there, although they’re rather more self-effacing.
But worse than the social media puffery is the way the less than truthful personal branders exaggerate their professional capabilities and backgrounds online. Some of their claims are nothing but falsehods. If you take the time to check them out, you find it’s as you suspected – the only true facts on their web pages are their names and that at times may also be suspect (probably).
So, if you’re a deluder, do you know that you are one? Of course you do. How can your brand and your profession be worth anything if you don’t believe in them yourself?
Maybe you refer to yourself as the ‘Number 1 award winning blogger.’ Hmmm. Who said? Where can I find this information? Who awarded this much-coveted description? Who can verify your claims? But it must be true – it’s all there on your profile. Or your webpage, written by you. Perish the thought that this interesting fact doesn’t exist anywhere else, apart from in your over-active imagination.
Maybe you’ve advertised yourself (on your personal webpage) as the country’s most successful leadership guru. Once again, I have to say hmmm … who said? Where can I find this information? Who awarded this much-coveted description? Who can verify your claims?
Yes, I know I’ve already asked those questions. I keep asking them of all the self-styled so-called experts, no matter whether they claim to be ‘the nation’s most critically awarded architect’, ‘the country’s most successful investment broker’ or ‘my primary school’s best goal-kicker’.
Sadly, there are thousands of so-called CEOs of so-called global companies who have just themselves on the payroll. They exist only in their imaginations and in their parent’ basements. Maybe they’ve attended a course and have now set up their own training establishments. Perhaps they’ve self-published a ‘how to’ epic or advertised on YouTube. They may even have paid a fee to have their poetry included in a journal of winners’ poetry.
This is the internet – a shining new world of vivid imagery and self-branded ‘entrepreneurs’. Just as well you have the commonsense to navigate your way through it. Right?
Do you agree? Let us know your experience with online deluders.
Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives and entrepreneurs to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.