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Brand Exposure

Do you understand the difference between presence, visibility and overexposure? Have you figured out how to apply the laws of scarcity to brand management? If not, then this post is for you. While a brand without exposure is not much of a brand, I consistently find that brand exposure is an aspect of brand management that is all too often overlooked as a success metric. Whether you’re assessing the strength of a personal or corporate brand, finding the appropriate level of brand exposure is key to sustainable growth in brand equity.

As I stated above, having an underexposed brand, or what I like to refer to as having a brand in stealth mode, means that you really don’t have much of a brand. Conversely, having a brand that is mismanaged through overexposure can cause a brand to go into decline by diluting hard earned brand equity. The reality is that premium brands are viewed as such because they jealously manage their brand exposure. They pay attention to the both the frequency and reach of their exposure. While they are careful to insure that their brands are visible to the right constituencies, they simply won’t allow overexposure. When a brand’s pedigree has an element of mystique, scarcity, intrigue, or sophistication, said brand will be in high demand. Let me be clear that I’m not advocating brand snobbery, just astute brand management based on time tested success principles.

Intelligent brands create at least some level of focused planning surrounding the issue of access to prevent overexposure. Once a brand is overexposed it becomes commoditized, diluted, and ultimately. will go into decline. While you might not detect brand taints associated with overexposure in the short-term, this principle holds true across most genres over time. Think about any overexposed brand that comes to mind and you’ll see that it quickly begins to lose its luster. Once a brand’s appeal begins to erode, it will require significant time and expense to recover. It is simply a more intelligent approach to consistently manage brand exposure than it is to let your brand run wild and then attempt to triage overexposure.

Let me offer just a few examples to help connect the dots: Recording artists that release too many CDs over too short of a time period hurt their own appeal. The same holds true with authors that release books with too high a frequency, or actors that churn out too many movies. You may also notice that politicians who confuse their real job with that of a media celebrity will lose the respect of their constituency and taint their effectiveness.

Please keep in mind that the personal brands of business people are not immune to the phenomenon mentioned above. The goal of a sound brand exposure strategy should be to increase your demand, which in turn allows you to pick and choose your opportunities, which in turn further increases your demand…the goal is not to seek every opportunity in the marketplace, but to have the right opportunities seeking you.

I’ll close today’s post with a prime example of personal branding overexposure that while a pet-peeve of mine, will certainly draw the ire of many. I’m a huge believer in the use social media and social networking to further brand exposure. That said, I have little use for social networking junkies who collect friends/followers/contacts just for the sake of watching the numbers go up, while adding little or no value to their network. I would suggest that if your brand is based solely upon the quantity of contacts in your LinkedIn network, or the number of followers you’ve amassed on Twitter, and not the qualitative relevancy of said contacts, then you are more likely stroking your ego than you are acting as an astute personal brand manager. If no real interaction, no real value add, or no real engagement takes place, then while you migh have a lot of contacts you likely have very few relationships – there is a difference.


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    Scott Williams

    January 17, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Very well said sir! Value add and engagement are key.



      January 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Hi Scott:

      Thanks for the comment. For what it's worth, I think you do a great job of both. I'm a big fan of what you do. Thanks for stopping by Scott.


    deborah nixon

    January 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Mike. I applaud your comments in the last paragraph. All those followers and connections don't really have meaning except to make one feel important and/or popular. Social media makes it all too easy to fall into the over-exposure mode. And then the cynic in me emerges. We have all been the victim of somebody's saved up tweets-all blasting out at one time. Why do these people think I'll read tweet after tweet after tweet. It's like verbal diarrhea.

    So you are right on. Manage your brand judiciously. If you are going to say something, make it worth reading and listening to. Otherwise, it's just alot of noise. And there is enough of that around already.

    You, of course, are the exception:)



      January 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Deborah:

      Thanks for the comment with which I obviously concur. I also appreciate the kind words. Thanks Deborah.



    January 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Great post Mike and especially to many of us who have not experienced a great level of success or notoriety. Many of us are victims of our own over-branding and actually have little to offer. Only the mature and those who have a measure of success truly learn the niche to proper branding. Most of us have mismanaged ourselves and have become victims of our own undoings. I can say this has happened to me due to my own selfish ambition and lack of experience. Time and reality has zapped me into a better perspective, but at times I still over-tweet or something similar thinking I have something significant to say. I enjoy reading your blogs because they offer insight that unlocks truth.



      January 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Tom:

      Thanks for the transparency of your comment. I've fallen into some of the same traps over the years – we all have. Keep up the great work and thanks for stopping by Tom.



      January 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Hi Tom: Thanks for the transparency of your comment. I've fallen into some of the same traps over the years – we all have. Keep up the great work and thanks for stopping by Tom.



    January 18, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Hi Mike

    I guess this is true and you have said it very well. but again brand without strategy is difficult to manage. The Personality of the brand manager is crucial because your values determine your approach to your personal brand and that of the organization your are heading. Your cannot successfully manage someone's company brand without knowing how to manage your own brand.




      January 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Thanks for the comment Oarabile. I agree with your sentiments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



    January 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Interesting post Mike. Things to examine and consider in our upward climb. At the bottom of the hill we all seem to chase scraps from the table. Hopefully, as we gain traction and momentum in establishing a real brand, we can be more selective and discerning about preserving it. Experiential insight with prudent advice.

    Joe M.



    March 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Thought provoking  … reading the script definitely heighten my awareness  of my brand … very encourgaing

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