Meet the “High Priestess of Interiors”: An interview with Abigail Ahern

  • Share:

It’s not everyday that one gets an intimate glimpse into the world of one of their all time favourite designers and trendsetters in interiors. But after attending one of Abigail Ahern’s brilliant Master Classes recently, I had the opportunity to tour her stunning East London home, where I found myself soaking up inspiration at every breath-taking turn. Her dark, eclectic and quirky style has a certain magic about it, drawing guests into a wonderfully inviting rabbit hole of discoveries. What was immediately apparent was how brilliantly her spectacular home and inspiring workshop (not to mention her super cool London flagship store) seem to capture her personal brand.  Needless to say, I was delighted to interview the designer (known as the “high priestess of interiors”) about what makes her such a strong personal brand!

Photo credit: Graham Adkins-Hughes

Tell me a bit about the person behind the Abigail Ahern label. What is she most passionate about?

Interiors. I live, breath, think about them 24/7 and adore them. I am obsessed with creating spaces that make you want to plonk down, curl up with a book, snuggle by the fire. The crazier my life gets the more I want to drill into every little corner and create a sanctuary.

ONE OF THE UK’S TOP DESIGN BOUTIQUES, AHERN’S LONDON STORE WAS VOTED “ONE OF THE COOLEST PLACES TO SHOP” BY ELLE DECORATION.

What three words would you use to describe your personal brand?

Glamourous, boho, mussed up.

Who were your biggest influences or personal inspirations in shaping your brand?

Travel pretty much is my biggest influence, particularly Asia and how they play with shape and colour.

I have to admit that you are one of my personal design heroes. Who are your design heroes and why?

Two American designers have inspired me Jonathan Adler & Kelly Wearstler. They decorate differently, think outside the box.

Your home is absolutely amazing. How does it reflect your personal brand? What do you love the most?

Thank you, I only buy and design what I love so my store looks like my house and my house looks like my store. Also I love everything in my pad…impossible to choose.

DARK, ECLECTIC, EDGY, YET INVITING; AHERN’S LIVING ROOM. Photo source: Hanna in the House

You host your design master classes at your home, which you personally run yourself. I recently attended one, and everything about the workshop seemed to have your personal touch, from making us tea to taking us on a personal tour of your home. It’s quite an intimate thing to open up your home and share a personal glimpse of your life with your consumers. Why do you do it?

I love teaching, happened upon it by accident by doing one masterclass a few years ago and I get so much enjoyment from seeing people literally change throughout the day from thinking they can’t do something to believing they can. It’s inspiring.

Are there any causes or charities you work with? 

They’re aren’t right now, we are the smallest team working a zillion hours a day and with so much going on that we haven’t really had the time to think outside of what we are doing. In the future its something I would like to give time to.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone trying to establish themselves as a strong personal brand in your industry?

Follow your own identity and stay strong. It’s not an easy industry to infiltrate and you need a lot of resilence.

GO WITH THE FAUX. FABULOUS FAUX PLANTS ARE ONE OF AHERN’S NICHES. Photo source: Rose and Grey

What about your vision as a creative, what does the next chapter hold for you?

More books, international design classes, a curtain range, a carpet range and a column for a national newspaper. Pretty crazy in 2018!

Photo Credit: Mel Yates

*************************************

To learn more about Abigail Ahern, check out her fab site, abigailahern.com

Lisa

Leave a comment

Introducing the “Year of Personal Branding”

  • Share:

A New Year often brings the promise of change, perhaps even one of a “new, improved you”. When it comes to growing your personal brand, however, building this improved version of you is an ongoing process that lasts throughout the year…and well beyond!  So I’ve broken down key branding concepts into a month-by-month guide to help you with each step of growing (and implementing) your personal brand.

I invite you to use these monthly Year of Personal Branding posts as a map that will allow you to navigate the whole arena of Personal Branding, guiding you gently throughout the year. Some of the monthly strategies have been chosen in accordance with a particular theme or natural points in the calendar; others were chosen to follow concepts from the previous month. The result is a curated and guided overview of personal branding: how it can help you and how to implement it in 2018.


January – “working your core”

Let’s start off with a reminder of what all this personal branding business is about! Essentially, your personal brand is a combination of your personality, reputation, presence, credibility, values and personal style. A strong personal brand communicates what makes you unique, genuine and compelling. It can further enhance your recognition, establish reputation and credibility, advance your career, achieve your personal goals and build self-confidence.

The personal branding process, first and foremost, helps you to develop an enhanced self-awareness. This includes a better understanding of your vision, purpose, passions, strengths and values in life. During January, we start to explore some of these attributes so your personal brand reflects a true representation of who you are, a “core identity” which serves as the foundation upon which your personal brand is built.

So we begin the year with a Personal Brand Audit, which takes you through the process of looking at your own brand attributes, including some of the ways you differentiate yourself from everyone else.  It also includes some initial work around identifying your personal values, core branding work relevant to both your professional and personal life. Finally, we take a look not only at 2018 but the years beyond, and uncover what implications the results of this branding audit have for the future.

This can be thought-provoking and powerful stuff so my recommendation is to either carve out half a day that you commit to the process, or break it down and work on each stage for a few days. Do allocate a new notebook or document for this process and keep this handy as we will be looking back through the year to tweak and assess how we are doing.

Brand Attributes. 

As your personal brand is best seen through eyes of others, assessing how others perceive you is incredibly valuable for building a healthy brand.

  • Think about how others may have perceived you last year and come up with three words they might use to describe you. You can concentrate on work colleagues or expand this to include friends and family as well.
  • Next, what three words (these should be positive or neutral) would you yourself use to describe yourself last year?  Do you believe they are similar or consistent with the words the others might have used? If not, how can you make the perceptions of others more consistent with the perceptions you hold of yourself?
  • Now, what three words would you use to describe your ideal self (how you would like to be seen)?  What are some (realistic) goals or intentions that can help you achieve your ideal attributes and make them known to others?

If you can muster up the courage (it’s well worth it!), you can also conduct your own informal mini audit by directly asking others! One idea is to do it over email, which can be as simple as:

“I’m going through a personal (or professional) development exercise, which requires me to analyse how I am perceived by others. I would be grateful if I could send me three words which you feel best describe me personally (or professionally). It will only take a few moments of your time, but would be greatly appreciated.”

Differentiation.

Your unique combination is what differentiates your personal brand from that of others. Think about the accomplishments that set you apart from others over the past year.

  • What personal traits helped you to achieve these accomplishments?
  • Which of your unique qualities or strengths did others rely on the most?
  • What did you do better than others (or what were you asked to do more often than others)?
  • If you are thinking of a working context, what did you bring to your position that differentiates you from your colleagues and competitors?

Values.

Your personal values are at the very core of your personal brand. Think of them as your personal operating system.

  • Take a look at the personal values that were the strongest last year. Are these the values that you want to stand for this coming year?
  • Do a “fresh” values assessment for the New Year – you might be surprised!
  • Assess whether you are living congruently with your values. If there are discrepancies between your behaviours and your values, what changes need to be made?

Direction.

Personal goals can give our brands a clearly identified direction.

  • What destination would you like your personal brand to head towards this year? In two to three years? In five to seven years?
  • Do you have a “road map” of short, medium and long-term goals to get you there, even if just over the next year?
  • What would you like more of in your life this year? What would you like less of?

Be sure to check back in early February for next month’s guide, when we look at building on passion and purpose!

Lisa

Leave a comment

The “Brand of the Month” goes to…

  • Share:

Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world an interesting and distinctive brand. This month, I decided to do things a little differently by collaborating with the fabulous Paula Gardner of Scarlet Thinking on a very unique piece!

My latest personal brand of the month goes to…

The First Ladies of Fizz

Here’s why…
This festive brand of the month is distributed amongst the women behind some of the biggest brands of Champagne. You may know the Champagne brands, but many people are completely unaware that the forces behind some of the biggest Champagne names – Bollinger, Laurent Perrier, Pommery and Clicquot – were all widows, propelled into strong personal brands for the sake of their livelihood.

“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—-unless I’m thirsty.”

The words of dame Lily Bollinger illustrate some of my favourite attributes of showing off a personal brand: living it at all times, and having fun with it…and doesn’t she sound like fun?

Dame Lily was far from a passive participant in the family business, but after her husband Jacques died in 1941, during the occupation of France, she took control and got involved in every aspect of the brand, from tending the vines themselves to the marketing of the brand.

While it’s easy to assume that producing Champagne means a life of glamour and bubbles, the history of Bollinger proved quite different. During the occupation, Lily and her husband Jacques were forced out of their family home and estate and over 178,000 bottles of Champagne were seized by the Nazis. Eventually, the invaders demanded that they return to the estate and making wine, a demand which allowed Lily and Jacques to free many of the estate’s workers from prison camp to go back to working in the vineyards: Champagne is a life saver in more ways than one!

Lily, or “Madame Jacques”, was only 42 when her husband died, and she was thrust into running this famous brand. Known for her charm and grace, she enforced the high standards that have carried Bollinger through tough times and into being one of the best- known Champagne brands today. Her work afforded her joys of foreign travel and creativity (she created her own blend, Bollinger R.D. cuvee). Interestingly, she managed to impress her own high morals on the house, refusing to bow to popular demand and produce a Rosé as it is was associated with high-end brothels. The house honoured her wishes until 2007.

Lily Bollinger objected to producing a rosé because it was drunk in brothels.
Photo: Bollinger

It would have been easy for one’s identity to become consumed by running a successful business but Dame Lily still managed to retain a individual personal brand, also remembered for cycling through the countryside on a Peugot.

Dame Lily on her Peugot bicycle

Hailing from an entirely different century, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, or the Widow Cliquot, also became a widow at a young age. In her case it was 1805 and Barbe-Niciole was 27. There is some controversy over whether her husband Francois’ death was suicide over the bad state of the business, or typhoid, ironically treated with Champagne at that time. Whatever the cause of death, her widowhood gave a name to the business – Veuve is French for widow.

Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, better known as the Widow Cliquot, by Léon Cogniet

The resilience behind Barbe-Nicole’s personal brand was likely shaped early in life. She had lived through the French Revolution and even had to be rescued from the Royal Convent where she was studying at the time.

The widow Clicquot was also quite business savvy; she narrowed down the House’s interests, dropping their other involvements and side-products and concentrating on Champagne production: a risky decision during an era where Champagne was out of fashion. It had previously been sought after as the preferred drink of the King’s mistress, Madame Pompador. However, she breathed new life into the brand, finding a new market in Russia and adding her distinctive touch: the bright yellow label.  She also came up with the VCP motto, “Only one quality: the finest”.

Widow Cliquot on the cork, fab personal branding!

Just like Dame Lily, the widow Clicquot became completely involved in the business. She not only became France’s first businesswoman, but one of the first women in modern history to take the helm of an internationally renowned commercial empire. She invented rosé Champagne and the modern bottle-shape still used today. She also invented the revolutionary process of Remuage, or “riddling” Champagne, turning and tipping each bottle by hand every day so that the sediment moves into the neck of the bottle for easy removal, thus preventing it from stagnating and clouding the drink. Even though the process is often automated today, her legacy still lives on.

Unlike Dame Lily, Madame Clicquot balanced building a business with motherhood, and the estate passed down to her great granddaughter on her death. Biographers point out that without her widowhood, Clicquot may have remained in the shadows, as women – single or married – were not accepted in business at that time. Only by your husband’s death were you liberated! The Veuve Clicqout Award, created in 1972, celebrates women managers and leaders and is a fitting legacy for such a figure.

A stone marker at Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin vineyard in the village of Verzy


Madame Pommery
, or Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Melin, born in 1857, would no doubt have been inspired by the success of the widow Clicquot, and that must have played some part in her guiding Pommery to the success it is today.

Madame Pommery’s husband Alexandre Pommery died when her youngest child Louise was less than a year old. With a young family to bring up, Madame Pommery had no choice but to take her business seriously. Having gone to boarding school in England, she decided to use what she knew and aimed at the English market. She worked on formulating luxury brand by concentrating on marketing and building Pommery’s image. Her legacy to Champagne is  introducing the dry or sec Champagne in catering to the English market (she invented Brut champagne for Queen Victoria), and by doing so,  shaped the way we drink Champagne today.

Madame Pommery also embraced one of my favourite personal branding qualities: social responsibility. She treated her staff well and founded an orphanage and maternity programme.

Interestingly, she also ran the first house to open its doors to visitors to the Champagne Reims and as such launched Champagne tourism, a huge industry even now.

Laurent-Perrier is our other Champagne house with a history of strong women. The story begins in 1887, when Mathilde Emilie Perrier, widowed at the age of 35, took the helm of her husband’s Champagne business to keep it alive. She was known for making difficult business decisions and establishing the Laurent-Perrier brand to ensure the house’s survival. Fast forward to Marie-Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, who met her husband during WW1, when she was his nurse, but was widowed shortly after. She left her family Champagne house, Lanson Pere et Fils, to take over the almost dead-in-the-water Laurent Perrier in 1938. She poured her life savings into the business to build a future for herself and her two sons.

On one level Marie-Louise’s story is one of painstakingly building up the Laurent Perrier brand, on another it is a tragic story of a mother who had to see her son, Maurice, sent to a German concentration camp for being a member of the Resistance, and later hearing of his death there. Her other son, Bernardde Nonancourt, who died recently, took on the brand after the death of his brother and was recognised as being a much-loved and larger than life figure in the modern Champagne industry. Today, the house is back in the hands of women, Marie-Louise’s granddaughters, Alexandra and Stéphanie, both of whom are members of the management board. The women carry the house’s heritage of quality, expertise and elegance, and continue to write one of the greatest success stories of women and Champagne.

The tenacious women who held the Laurent-Perrier house together through considerable adversity, including two World Wars

Our Champagne widows were so successful that dozens of Champagnes added ‘Veuve’ to their names even in the absence of any widow running their house, just for added intrigue and commercial value. Now that’s some powerful personal branding!

Lisa

Leave a comment

Navigating the twists and turns: A story of personal branding and career transition

  • Share:

It’s estimated that the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times throughout their life. Ten to fifteen times! This hits home that career change is now considered the new normal of working. But how do we continue to develop a strong  personal brand through the twists and turns of career transitions? Our guest blogger this month, Claire Norwood, speaks to just that. Claire went from designing shoes for clients like David Bowie to building her own niche property development company in the UK. Here, Claire shares the story of her fascinating journey, reminding us that everything we do – the good and the bad – builds a unique picture and a unique personal brand.

Here’s Claire:
Some people find their one true career early on. Most of us make several wrong turns before finding work that feels authentic. But perhaps they’re not wrong turns. Perhaps they just reflect where we are right now.

My parents were glad just to have a job; nowadays we want our work to reflect who we are, so navigating multiple careers is a fact of life. But back when I was a shoemaker and designer, I never envisaged I would one day have entirely different career as a property investor and developer.

Fashion and making things had always come naturally. I’d learned to sew my own clothes as a child, so drawing and making shoes felt perfectly aligned. I’d just met my husband – fresh out of art college and keen for me to follow my heart – and together we lived and breathed art and fashion. We fitted in perfectly in trendy north London, despite having very little money in those days.

Later, when careers were more established, I invested in beautiful clothes and home furnishings. My shoes featured in Vogue, Elle and Tatler, and on runways for Alexander McQueen and Catherine Hamnett. I even made a pair of kitten heels for David Bowie!

I realise now just how curated my life was back then. I socialised with ‘creatives’, my best friend was the editor of Elle Decoration, and I spent hours choosing fabrics and leather in East End warehouses. Though I didn’t realise it at the time, I had my personal branding down to a tee, so it’s not surprising I felt cast adrift when it all came to an end. My desire to do things perfectly, to be perfect, dealt my business a killer blow. Because of course perfection isn’t possible, or even desirable for that matter.

I had worked myself into the ground, and almost destroyed my relationship in the process. Thankfully my marriage survived, but some friendships didn’t. I no longer carried the magical gloss of fashion and seemed painfully unhip all of a sudden. It took several years in the career wilderness, and much trial and error, before finding my feet in property.

I’d always loved doing up flats and houses, so buy-to-let investing suddenly struck me as the perfect next step. Halfway through a year-long property training course, I met the person who would become my employer and mentor. His property search business was just taking off, and he needed someone organised and with initiative; and who was prepared to work for interns’ wages. In return he taught me everything he knew about property, and allowed me free reign with client refurbishment projects.

In the course of 30 client purchases and over 15 renovations, I built up a portfolio of work, and even bought three rental properties of my own. Although I loved sourcing deals and project managing building works, the most enjoyment came from specifying kitchens, bathrooms, paint colours and flooring, and from furnishing each property for the young professional tenant market. We regularly achieved rents in excess of agents’ valuations, which meant happy clients who came back for repeat purchases.

Working in property seems so much more ‘grown up’ than fashion. I’ve done endless self-development work over the years, and property taps into many of these skills, something I never tire of learning.

More recently, my property career has been propelled to the next level as an unexpected result of joining Sister Snog – a group of businesswomen who meet twice monthly to network, support each other and generally have lots of fun. Less than a year after becoming a ‘Sister’, I have left my job and am branching out on my own as a developer. I’m ashamed to admit that, before Sister Snog, I didn’t know that personal branding even existed. I certainly wasn’t aware that I had my own personal brand!

Hearing the stories of these often hugely successful women made me think more carefully about how my branding might look. There is so much competition in every market sector, so niche marketing makes more sense than ever. I’ve looked long and hard at my background and skills set – my life experiences, personality and values.

Carrying out branding exercises, with the help of books and online questionnaires, has been pivotal in deciding how I want to portray myself, especially across social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. I delight in tapping into my creative side to increase visibility and build my brand. The next step will be attracting new investors and possibly crowdfunding, so a solid brand awareness is key, even at this relatively early stage in my new venture.

None of my experiences has been wasted. Everything you do – the good and the bad – builds a unique picture and a unique brand. Now, more than ever, we need to be true to ourselves in order to stand out.

Lisa

Leave a comment

Spotlight on…Creatives

  • Share:

Welcome to our “Spotlight On…” segment!
In this series of interviews, we shine a spotlight on creatives to uncover what makes their personal brand so strong and, well, creative.

Meet Claire Brewster, a London-based artist whose work has been widely exhibited around the world, as well as published in many magazines and books including Vogue, Elle Decoration, World of Interiors, and Marie-Claire Maison to name a few.

Claire’s medium of choice has historically included old maps and atlases, from which she created delicate and intricate paper cuts of flowers, birds and insects. Recently, Claire has found inspiration in a new medium to express her creativity.  Here she talks about her creative personal brand and how it has evolved:

Claire, your work has taken an exciting new direction. Tell us about it.
I’d been looking to change my work for a long while but nothing had quite worked and then last year something clicked. The political events at home and abroad had been pretty traumatic and affecting and somehow making birds out of maps no longer felt right. I started making some wooden masks that I thought would be my way forward but somehow even though I spent hours and hours on them they felt like too much of a struggle. All the while I was making these wooden pieces and little voice in my head was saying ‘what about the collages you make with people cut from magazines? You’ve got sketchbooks full of them, do that’. So I followed that voice and that’s where I am. And I haven’t felt this happy in my work for a long time. It brings me so much joy to make my new paintings which I hope comes through. I don’t really know where I’m going with them, but for now I’m enjoying the ride.

You’ve Got The Whole World (Joan Didion)

How do you still express your personal brand through something that’s such a different style from your papercuts?
I guess it’s still me making them so I’m still expressing my personal brand through them. Even though I’m working in a new direction it’s still true to my core brand values and ideas of transformation and creating transformative work to transport the viewer to another world.

This is Who We Are

Authenticity is important and making work that feels important to me now feels very important right now. It would be easy to carry on doing what I’ve always done but that doesn’t really fit well with my explorer and alchemist (archetypes) nature.

I make sure I use all my channels, social media, newsletter, blog to speak to my audience to bring them along for this journey and hopefully pick some new  people along the way. Telling the story of my new work is very important and something that I’m really going to focus on over the next few months to really bring the work to life and encourage people to engage with me and it.

Has creativity always been a central part of your personal brand? If not, when did it start to become more prominent in your life?
Yes, it’s everything in my personal brand, creating and making art has always been important to me, but I only really took it seriously about 14 years ago in terms of running a business and building up my personal brand.

How do you express your creativity, as part of your personal brand, on a daily basis?
Making new artwork, looking for new ways to express my ideas, reading and researching new ideas, testing out new materials. There are lots of ways I express creativity outside of making artwork, I try to be creative in the ways I market my work and how I use social media and relate to the world.

Does being creative generally flow, or do you have to coax it out?
Some days it flows, others it can be a little shy. But usually when I get down to work and stop over thinking the creativity starts to flow. The act of putting pen/brush/pencil to paper usually goes somewhere.

Are We Too Much

What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who put themselves and their vision in the world, without fear, particularly women – there are so many but people like Maya Angelou, Nawal Al Saadawi, Kara Walker, Brene Brown.

What advice would you have for someone who would like to express more creativity as part of their personal brand? Any specific advice for those initiating a creative career?
As the Nike slogan goes – Just do it!  We’re all creative, it’s not a gift  that only some people have. Creativity comes in many forms, not just in artistic pursuits. Allowing ourselves to see the creativity in many of our day to day activities is important.

Starting a creative career can seem very daunting, there’s no obvious route to progression or pay scales. You have to make it all up yourself, which can be frightening, but is exciting when you consider the possibilities that are available. There’s no one to tell you what to do so you get to decide. With all the opportunity open to you it’s important to take action, to make the best work you can, to keep moving forward, to never be afraid to transform yourself into something new, to stay open to new ideas and mostly have fun.

I’m Not Letting Go

Lisa

Leave a comment

The “Brand of the Month” goes to…

  • Share:

Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world an interesting and distinctive brand. My latest personal brand of the month goes to…

Edward Enninful

Earlier this month, we saw the unveiling of the highly-anticipated December issue of British Vogue, the first under new editor Edward Enninful. Many have hailed Enninful’s appointment as a much needed change in the fashion world, with his cover marking the dawn of a more diverse era in the industry. Instead of playing to the latest fashion or celeb trends, Enninful’s cover features a retro-esque image of Ghanaian-British model Adwoa Aboah.

Enninful, Ghanaian-born himself, took the helm of British Vogue in August, following Alexandra Shulman’s 25 year run. The former stylist was considered a progressive choice; he’s not only the first black, and first male, editor in the magazine’s 100-year history, but he’s from a styling background to boot!

Here’s what I find most striking about his personal brand:

His ability to shake things up

First and foremost, this starts with his vision to make fashion more inclusive.

Vogue has been on the shelf for over a century now, serving as the industry’s fashion bible. Given the industry has faced much criticism in the recent past for its lack of diversity, perhaps Alexandra Shulman knew it was time to bring in someone who could shake things up a bit.

Since his appointment was announced in April, Enninful has been busy making changes by bringing in a more diverse and unconventional line-up of models and contributors. He’s hired director Steve McQueen, models Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Adwoa Aboah, and legendary stylist Grace Coddington as contributing editors to name a few. We’ve also seen a number of senior figures leave the magazine in what The Times described as a “posh girl exodus”, part of Enninful’s plan to diversify British Vogue.

Contributing Editors: Steve McQueen, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell

Hannah Rochell, acting fashion editor at the London Evening Standard, shared that “Diversity is something [Enninful] is very keen on championing, as we’ve seen in the past with his work, so I think that’s definitely something that will be welcomed in the fashion industry as a whole”. This was also echoed by Joe Casely-Hayford, a long-time London-based designer: “In order to progress, we need to challenge the status quo. This is something that Edward will bring to Vogue. It’s the real essence of fashion – it’s fashion, not frocks.”

He also shakes things up with his ability to think outside the box.

In recent years, traditional glossies such as Vogue are arguably being overshadowed by social media platforms as the frontline of fashion. Enninful seems to be well aware of one of British Vogue’s biggest challenges: the magazine’s digital presence. As advertisers and designers now have far more platforms to choose from, they are more likely to target celebs who might wear their labels on Instagram and Twitter. Digital copies of British Vogue remain low compared with the physical sales, while Teen Vogue online, which speaks a different language, has been a huge success.

After Enninful took the helm, the first thing Vogue announced was that the mag was joining Snapchat. Video content such as YouTube is also ripe with potential; perhaps choosing director Steve McQueen for a contributing editor also reflects Enninful’s efforts to increase British Vogue’s impact in an online world. It may be early days, but Enninful is starting to make some nice initial strides here.

His precocious history

Enninful, who grew up in London with his five siblings and mother, a seamstress, went on to quickly become a name in the fashion world, hanging with bestie Naomi Campbell and consulting on major fashion campaigns such as Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, and Dolce and Gabbana. His foray into fashion started at a surprisingly young age; at 16, he was scouted as a model and became the youngest ever assistant on i-D magazine that year. He then landed a full-time job as fashion director of i-D at the ripe age of 18.

With Naomi Campbell. Photo: Esquire

He went on to study at Goldsmiths University alongside his modelling career. Some of his fashion career highlights include:

Serving as contributing editor of Vogue Italia in 1998 and spearheading the ‘Black Issue’, featuring only black models such as Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell.

Photo: Mike Trow

Becoming American Vogue’s contributing fashion editor in 2006

Taking the reigns of W Magazine as fashion and style director in 2011 (and boosting ad pages by 16 per cent in 2012)

Being awarded an OBE in 2016 for his services to diversity in the fashion industry

And now he’s taking the helm at British Vogue. Out of all of his stellar accomplishments, this seems to be the most surprising. Among a sea of candidates that included seasoned fashion editors, the stylist-turned-editor’s nomination for the post appeared to send shock waves through the industry. As one applicant told The Telegraph; ‘We felt like we’d entered Crufts and the cat won.’

I for one cannot wait to see what this cat does next!

 

Lisa

1 Comment

A story of personal branding and female empowerment

  • Share:

A strong personal brand aligns with one’s talents, value and purpose. This alignment may not always be easy to achieve for women building a career in a challenging industry. Our guest blogger this month is Cecilia Harvey, a senior women working in FinTech, as well as a tech start-up founder. With over 20 years in financial services, and one of the small number of women in leadership within Financial Technology today, Cecilia is an advocate for not only women in FinTech, but also for women aspiring to leadership anywhere. Here she talks about how supporting and empowering other women is an important part of own personal brand…

“Female empowerment is a core part of my personal brand which has been strongly influenced by two life experiences: (1) being raised in a household of only women, and (2) attending Wellesley College, an all women’s university. Growing up I was raised by my mother, grandmother, two aunts and great aunt. My home was full of hardworking women supporting one another, which is a core value and very much a part of who I am.

Going to Wellesley College, an all women’s university, certainly influenced my mission to help advance women in the workplace. Wellesley is an environment that fosters a culture of women supporting each other. Being in an environment where you constantly see the success of other women instills confidence. We all came from different backgrounds but we faced similar challenges. There is nothing more rewarding than to celebrate another woman’s success. One woman’s success should inspire other women.

Women Supporting Other Women
Empowerment is using your influence and resources to help advance others. Leading and championing initiatives that advance women is a core component to my personal brand. When I became “management” in the workplace, I was in a position to drive positive change for women. I noticed the low number of women on promotion lists, the high number of women on redundancy lists, the high percentage of female attrition, and the significant salary gaps between men and women performing similar roles. There was not a strong pipeline of women being considered for senior positions. Talented and qualified women existed and they wanted the opportunities but somehow they were not on these lists.

I saw very talented but disappointed women leaving the company and even the industry so I decided to do something about it and create a program, Prometheus, to improve the female talent pipeline. Prometheus connected women to peers, senior management, opportunities to showcase their talent across the organisation and resources to grow their career.

Prometheus was a successful formula so I’ve taken that same concept and applied it to Tech Women Today (TWT). TWT showcases women in technology and, again seeks to connect women to their peers, influencers and opportunities in the industry. The most empowering aspect of TWT  is how women support other women. Members of TWT recognise their own power to be a resource to help other women.

Financial Inclusion is a focus area for Tech Women Today because technology can provide access to financial services, such as bank accounts and loans, which increases women’s bargaining power in society as they are equipped with the resources to help them earn and maintain a living. Without access to basic banking resources women are most vulnerable to exploitation.

Empowerment is also a key culture value of a business I co-founded, WalkingRed, which provides on demand beauty, fitness and wellness services. The majority of our staff is women early in their careers.  I see WalkingRed as a platform in which very talented women and men can showcase their capabilities and build a career in a challenging industry where it’s not easy to advance.

Power Positioning
Empowerment involves about putting yourself in “power positions” by leveraging your resources and network to improve your situation. I always ask women to ask themselves five questions to determine if they are power positioning themselves:

  1. Do you know the market salary rate for your role?
  2. Do you have someone at your job that will sponsor you for promotion?
  3. Are you in regular contact with at least two recruiters in your industry that alert you about career opportunities?
  4. Do you have an “Advisory Board” that is a sounding board and offer advice for how to advance your career?
  5. Google yourself: Is your online profile an accurate and positive representation of yourself? Does your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles best represent your personal brand?

Unfortunately the answer to these questions is usually “No”.  Women that have answered “Yes” to these 5 questions will find themselves in a position of power because they will have critical information and multiple options that will allow them to advance their careers.

Legacy and Purpose
There is nothing empowering about advancing yourself with minimal concern or effort to advance other women. Female empowerment can mean many things however I believe the fundamental aspect of female empowerment involves women supporting other women.  This female empowerment has purpose and leaves a legacy which is a key aspect of the personal brand I want to portray.”

Cecilia Harvey is a senior women working in FinTech, as well as a tech start-up founder. Her previous roles include being the COO of Citigroup Markets and Securities Services Technology, and positions with Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital and IBM Consulting. You can follow her on Twitter at @IMCeciliaHarvey.

 


Lisa

Leave a comment

My Name is Prince: Telling the story of an icon

  • Share:

After the world lost Prince last year, I spent some time researching and writing about the legend and what elevated him to an icon. So I was curious to see if any retrospective could rise to the enormous challenge of telling his story. The My Name is Prince exhibit at the O2 in London rose to this task, and drew me even closer to him, as the best retrospectives can do. After all, the retrospective is perhaps the pinnacle of any given personal brand. A carefully curated exhibition of personal items that includes costumes, pictures, personal trinkets, instruments, hand-written notes, videos, quotes, and music… all strategically chosen items which define the person. We walk around as welcomed voyeurs, getting up close and personal with objects now known as artifacts, intimately exploring each and every corner of that person’s life.

My Name Is Prince is the first official Prince exhibition to open outside of Paisley Park, Prince’s famous Minnesota private estate. As the website boasts, it’s a rare chance to peek at the “hundreds of never before seen artifacts direct from Paisley Park. Visitors will get a unique insight into the life, creativity and vision of one of the most naturally gifted recording artists of all time.”


Personal branding is all making a name for yourself, and Prince did that brilliantly, even when his name was an unpronounceable symbol. At the heart of personal branding are the core attributes of passion, purpose and vision. Prince undeniably exuded all of these. Here are the ways in which I felt the retrospective communicated these aspects of his story:

It reminded us that he was a sheer musical genius, one with vision and purpose.
Prince’s panoply of talent is widely known, but this exhibit hit home just how prodigiously gifted he was. His debut album For You, released when he was 20, was produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Prince. He is credited with playing all 27 instruments on the album. His range of talent was that immense. The intent behind the album was to establish Prince as a musician and to prove his merits, and one can certainly argue that it went above and beyond that purpose. Perhaps this article says it best: “Prince didn’t develop into the kind of artist who could do everything from beginning to end. He started that way.” Not only that, but Prince had a vision from day one. As a teenager, he not only signed his first major-label contract with Warner Bros, but he somehow managed to get the mammoth record company to sign over complete artistic freedom to him, a rarity for even the most established artists.

As part of the ‘VIP experience’, guests get to hold the guitar from his Musicology tour (with special gloves of course!)

An uncompromising artist from day one, Prince seemed to find purpose in creating and perfecting his music, and to do that, he needed to be hands-on. Prince would continue to be heavily involved in all aspects of his music, even after bringing in other artists, such as when he created The Revolution. In some of his most famous albums, such as 1999, he was still the main force behind most of the music.

As a visionary, Prince went on to redefine pop music in the 80’s, and continued to break barriers over the next two decades. Even rebellious moves in the 90’s (mostly against record companies), such as changing his name to the Love Symbol, proved to be genius avant-guard branding for Prince.

It demonstrated that he was almost inhumanly prolific.
Prince was so passionate about music that he seemed to live and breath it. His album covers adorn the walls of the exhibit, just under the ceiling; they surrounded you, like festive bunting, and capture the sheer magnitude of his musical accomplishments. Prince is of course most famous for his late 1980’s records, but he has 39 studio albums to his credit (mind you, that’s over a span of 37 years!), four live albums and multiple compilations. And let’s not forget all of the hits he wrote for others, including Sinead O’Conner’s Nothing Compares to You and The Bangles’ Manic Monday. He was also a songwriter for Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Chaka Khan to name a few.

Notebooks of lyrics and ideas displayed at the exhibit

For Prince, commitment and passion went hand and hand. He not only released several hundred songs over a 40-year-long recording career, but it’s said that Prince challenged himself to write a new song a day. He left behind his legacy in a music vault in Paisley Park, which is said to house hundreds of unheard songs (Prince had shared with some in confidence that he saved his best work), along with more than 50 fully produced music videos that have never been released. Some estimate the vault’s treasures are “enough for a new Prince album every year for the next century. Whatever the exact figure is, it’s safe to assume that, even though he’s gone, his music will outlive us all.”

It showed us that he had one kick-ass outer brand.
Prince’s iconoclastic style was a big part of his brand. He often pushed boundaries with gender stereotypes; his range included straddling a motorcycle in leather to wearing glitzy and ostentatious suits with heels. The exhibition showcased 100 outfits, which were described as “a drop in the ocean” by Angie Marchese, director of archives at Paisley Park. She shared that “he kept everything he wore on his early tours, and the entire wardrobe from the Purple Rain tour and movie – not just his own, but every band member’s.”

Prince’s Purple Rain jacket, Photo: Peter Nicolls. Above, sampling of heeled boots

Given his petite size (some report he was 5’2”, however the exhibition tour guides insist he was “5ft nothing”), he had a team of tailors on demand in Paisley Park, ready to make bespoke clothes for him. In spite of his size, Prince was able to create an effect that he was “larger than life”. This was likely accomplished by his powerful personal presence, gargantuan talent and showmanship, along with his flamboyant costumes. He also never performed without 3” heels, typically custom made to match his outfits.

Larger than Life: “Backstage” at the exhibit

The exhibit tour guide indicated that Prince would often travel with a vast array of wardrobe selections, and would choose what he (and subsequently the band) would wear based on the type of mood and vibe he wanted to create.

The road case at the exhibit from Prince’s Welcome 2 tour. It had been left just as it was found at Paisley Park. The last to touch the items was Prince himself.

Prince also created powerful brand associations with imagery. The Love Symbol was one, which, in the exhibit, was featured prominently on everything from his guitars to his hand towel. Even though he changed his name back to Prince in 2000, the symbol became inextricably linked with his identity. The other powerful association is with the colour purple. Since his untimely death, purple-coloured tributes have appeared across the world. Fans have adorned the gates of his Paisley Park studio with purple flowers and balloons. Prince, his symbol and purple are now together embedded deep in our psyches.

It shared his carefully curated his story, respecting the mystery shrouding it.
Prince was not only one of the most naturally gifted artists of all time, and he was also one of the most mysterious. Throughout his career, Prince developed a reputation for secrecy and eccentricity. The exhibition respects this secrecy and purposely avoids giving too much of a personal glimpse into his mysterious lifestyle, while still beautifully capturing the personal brand of our mega-star.

Mystery is a key ingredient of great storytelling, and Prince worked this, while at the same time, actively controlling the brand image and story-line he put out there. He rarely gave interviews (he announced that he would never talk to the press again after an interview to promote 1999), yet after death he made his story easy to tell…on his terms. Before his death, Prince had already turned Paisley Park into a museum devoted to his career. Angie Marchese, director of archives at Paisley Park, shared with the Times: “Incredibly, most of what you see [at Paisley Park Museum] is as it was when we arrived. The murals, the theme rooms, the corridor of awards, the wall with a timeline of Prince’s influences and protégés, the closets containing memorabilia plastered with his pictures. He made telling his story easy because he’d put the story there for us.”  She goes on to say, “It’s clear he wanted to share his experience here.”

A piece of that experience is now accessible to us here in London, and there’s a good chance that this is exactly how Prince wanted us to experience him.

Lisa

2 Comments

The “Brand of the Month” goes to…

  • Share:

Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world an interesting and distinctive brand. My latest personal brand of the month goes to…

Lady Gaga

Here’s why:
Since Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta transformed herself into the pop sensation Lady Gaga, her name has since become associated with artistic and visual experimentation, eccentricity, unpredictability and provocation. Similar to the late great David Bowie, she has cultivated a wonderfully strange and “otherworldly” dimension to her brand, while balancing it brilliantly with a “human” and highly relatable side. This month, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, we see yet another example of this with a public service announcement for the It’s On Us campaign to end sexual assault (we’ve also seen her latest album just go platinum in the US, not a bad month!).

Photograph: Mariano Vivanco

Launched in 2014, It’s On Us is a national movement with a mission to raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses and flip the “culturally accepted narrative” about sexual assault. The campaign followed from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, established by President Obama and Vice-President Biden. As a survivor of sexual assault, the initiative is one that is close to Gaga’s heart. She’s teamed up with Vice President Biden, who has been an outspoken proponent for campus sexual assault awareness.

There are so so many things to say about Lady Gaga’s powerful personal brand, however this PSA hits on a few interesting aspects I wanted to highlight that make her brand particularly fascinating to me.

Her unconventional yet brilliant approach to co-branding.

Her teaming up with Biden may seem a bit unusual, but it works, particularly given the cause behind their joint venture. This is not the first time Biden and Gaga have paired up. At the 2016 Oscars ceremony, Biden appeared in a telecast to introduce Gaga’s performance of her song, “‘Til it Happens to You,” a song about sexual assault.

Gaga has also made some interesting choices with artistic collaborations. In 2014, she collaborated with Tony Bennett in 2014 for a cover album called Cheek to Cheek. It turns out that Gaga had much in common with the veteran crooner, who she described as one of the few people she can “relate to”, someone who has encouraged her in her time of need. She further shared that Cheek to Cheek changed her as an artist and a person, describing her work with Bennett as ‘liberating’. The pairing of one of contemporary pop’s greatest provocateurs matched with an old-school crooner of a bygone age was an unexpected and risky one. But unpredictability and a proclivity for breaking boundaries have become part of Gaga’s brand, and it works.

Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett. Photo: Steven Klein

Of course, there’s also her co-branding with corporate brands. Partnering up with young and edgy trend-setting brands like H&M and MAC cosmetics seem like fairly solid choices, but then there was that Tiffany’s campaign earlier this year. At first glance, this co-branding may seem like a misstep in co-branding, with the Tiffany & Co name being known for classic (and conservative) luxury jewelry, but the campaign played to the human dimension of the Lady Gaga brand, and it gave us something new and unexpected from both names.

Her personal disclosures create an authentic, human side.

Some of her co-branding choices above have certainly humanized Gaga, but what makes her so relatable is her personal disclosures, as seen with the It’s On Us PSA, which also brings balance to her otherworldly pop star image. As Biden shares in their recent public service announcement, ‘I’m not only with a great friend, but a fierce advocate. Lady Gaga has been the voice for people who have been forgotten and people who have been abused … Well it happened to her. She’s shown enormous courage.’

In addition to coming out as a victim of sexual assault, she has also opened up about her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in an open letter last year. The letter was posted on her Born This Way Foundation website, her non-profit dedicated to empowering young people. She shared that her decision to disclose was made to help her to heal, and also to encourage others facing similar issues to talk about it. Earlier this year, she further discussed her personal struggle and thoughts on mental illness with Prince William in a video chat as part of the prince’s charity Heads Together anti-stigma campaign. In the video, Prince William praises Gaga for her “incredibly moving and very brave” open letter. The video, which has been viewed by thousands and posted on the Royal Family Facebook Page, shows a very genuine side to both Gaga and the Duke of Cambridge.

Gaga has also spoken openly about her struggles with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. She offers a glimpse into living with chronic pain in Gaga: Five foot Two, a  “behind-the-scenes” Netflix documentary about the making of her recent album and Super Bowl stardom.  She has recently cancelled a string of concert dates of her current tour, sharing that ‘past traumas that still affect her daily life, and result in severe physical pain in her body’.

And just as quickly as she reveals her human side, her fans blink and Gaga shape shifts back into some new ethereal creation. She reminds us: ‘I’m half living my life between reality and fantasy at all times. It’s best not to ask questions and just enjoy.’

Lady Gaga during the Super Bowl 51 Halftime Show, Feb. 5, 2017, Houston, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

 

 

 

Lisa

Leave a comment

Facebook etiquette: The good, the bad and the ugly

  • Share:

Social media. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. It’s also a big part of shaping our personal brands. With so many of us carrying out a significant part of our lives online, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the unspoken online etiquette of social media, particularly Facebook.

She really posted that?! Photo: Stylist

I asked Susan Heaton Wright, voice and communications expert, for her thoughts here. She explains:

“Online conversations and networking are interesting concepts. Because you can’t hear the nuances of the voice when people speak – or their body language, you are reliant on what people actually write and the accompanied emojis or photos. In its best form, it is great. But it is a noisy place, Facebook; and rather like a busy pub or party, people show up with their own worries, levels of sobriety and emotions. But, like any party, there are people who annoy you – you know the ones who talk at you, or who aren’t interested in listening to you. There are those who make loads of noise: who are in your face; who make comments you don’t agree with; who don’t listen. They want an audience, and they are on Facebook.”

Susan’s analogy intrigued me, so I decided to take a closer look with an informal survey of Facebook users. After all, what better way to understand social media etiquette than to ask the users themselves? I specifically chose to focus on Facebook as it’s the largest social media platform, and asked two simple questions: “What do you hate seeing people do on Facebook?” and “What engages you?”. Here’s what I found:

Top Pet-peeves

Sloppy posting.
This of course includes careless grammar but also posting pictures without discretion (some participants described this as “inconsiderate tagging, adding or sharing”). I’ve also included the posting of inaccurate information here.

“Dumping the entire night or event’s iPhone snaps on FB without editing/removing dark, blurry and unflattering photos.”

“I absolutely hate poor spelling and grammar (e.g., “your” when they mean “you’re”).”

“I hate being tagged with photos of me that are clearly unflattering.”

“Re-appropriating (not sharing) all your new (hard found) content in your private group on their own page, group or profile on the same day or within hours of your post!”

“Tagging: whether this is a photograph or post to lots of random people. If the photo has you in a compromising position it could have sad consequences – as one of my clients found. His fiancée saw a photo of him cuddling up to another woman and broke off the engagement.”

“I’ve seen a number of posts in recent months, particularly ones with political slants, that simply are not factual. It seems we are moving backwards with the widespread sharing of misinformation, and now live in Orwellian times when facts simply don’t matter. However, when you don’t check your facts and post nonsense to justify your political beliefs, you just end up looking a bit silly, or worse yet, downright ignorant.”

One respondent pointed out that the way we respond to these posts is also an important part of social media etiquette:

“Another piece of etiquette I think is important is the responses to the more nutty posts and comments. There are loads on my stream about the MMR jabs and autism. Still. I have my own views on this, and realize that any rational response or opposing view is not going to end prettily – and partly because what I would have responded might not have been construed in a positive, constructive way and my response would have been PUBLIC! Likewise, someone posted an extraordinary post saying that PTSD “like what servicemen have” is something we all suffer from – we can ‘catch’ it after a common cold…… After the initial disgust, I decided not to respond – realizing this person was not in a good place.”

At the same time, another participant believed it was important to address misinformation.

“Given the widespread misinformation as propaganda on Facebook and the damage we’ve seen it cause, especially in America, I do think it is critical to carefully and thoughtfully respond to these posts with accurate information. Hopefully by present alternative views that offer fact-checked information, we can limit the amount of harmful and insidious misinformation out there.”

Over-sharing.
Oversharing of information (or over-disclosing) was a popular pet-peeve. This included disclosing too personal information, posting too often, and posting about “every little thing”.  This differs from more careful, strategic disclosures (e.g., sharing a condition or experience to raise awareness).

Comments included:

“Keep some things to yourself. If you wouldn’t announce certain facts to a room of acquaintances, don’t do it…”

“Over-disclosing intimate things such as certain medical conditions can have an opposite affect in that they can make people feel uncomfortable or even turn them off. What’s more, it can also come across as attention seeking. Oversharing these personal disclosures runs the risk of being associated with your illness, probably not what you want to be known for!”

“General over-sharing: there is someone in my stream who live FBs from ‘her death bed’ with some incurable disease. Then two days later, she’s arranging major deals with international clients to change their businesses. There was no filtering; it was a constant stream of communication to everyone. And more than one person has said to me that they wouldn’t work with her, because of her health issues… “

“Over-sharing of personal stuff; sharing too frequently; grandmothers who post far too many gushing posts, etc.”.

“The ‘friend’ who posts, live FBs, PMs you constantly with blanket information about themselves, without taking a breath to listen or respond to you. I have had to ‘unfollow’ those people – only to find the Live FBs then clog my stream and FB notifications – then when I manage to find how to switch off these, the darned person then starts sending posts to my messenger with ‘their day’ information. Phew, I’ve managed to mute those too…. TOO MUCH – and my first etiquette comment would be to not overshare. Please.”

Pushing agendas.
This includes “spamming” with a product or service, proselyting and forcing or hijacking a conversation.

“What I find really annoying with Facebook is when people who just recently send a friend request and then start spamming your page or message you with something they want to sell. It’s a bit like asking you to get married on the first date! Also, when people constantly self- promote – I find it very “in your face” and quite a turn off.”

“Plenty of people create FB pages and groups. Wonderful. I have got a lot out a number of groups. Some people just add you to a group, GGRRR!”

“Over sharing their opinions and using Facebook as some soapbox”.

“Anything with an –ism at the end is rarely a good idea, whether (overt or implicit) racism, sexism, discrimination, etc.”

“Another annoying thing is when you get invited to be in various games – and inevitably they go into messenger and you get alerted. These blanket invitations are annoying!”

“I also hate people who use FB to overtly sell their products & services.”

“They just spam the group with their business services GRRRR! Or – and this really annoys me, when someone asks for a recommendation, of course there are various people mentioned, then someone says “The only person to talk to is X” – of course they are being supportive to a friend, but if you were in a group with these people would you be so disrespectful???”

“People hijacking posts and changing the conversation to their own agenda.”

Passive aggressive or vague posts.
This was one of my personal pet-peeves so I wasn’t surprised when this came up. This is when people make public insults, threats or express hurt or disapproval towards unidentified “friends”. This includes “vague-posting/vague booking”, which is defined as an intentionally vague Facebook status update, that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or possibly a cry for help.

As one survey participant vented:

“People who air dirty laundry on Facebook or write cryptic messages to piss someone off! Fortunately, on Facebook you can unfollow people so you stay friends but don’t see their posts. I’ve done it to a few friends who keep writing nonsense – i.e. “why do people always feel like my kindness can be taken for granted! I’m a good person and I don’t deserve this – you’re lucky I haven’t gotten rid of you this time” blah blah! Stuff like that or to seek attention in some way where people comment “oh if you need to talk, call me” or “hugs” lol – things like this are personal – and a message privately to whoever – so bloody annoying!.”

And…

“The worst is when public threats are made, “You know who you are!” type thing. I see this more frequently with younger users, but have also seen this on my feed from adult users. It’s just a bad look. Please directly message the person and resolve your issues in private.”


Losing your identity to your kids.
This one hits at the very core of personal branding. In short, this is when your own online image gets usurped by pictures of your kids or pets.

“When friends use pictures of their children as their profile picture. It almost suggests that once you have kids, you lose your sense of identity completely. Once and a while is perhaps ok, but please remember that you still get to have your own identity after children!”

“Using your kids or pet as your profile picture. You are not your kid.”

“Posting anything and everything about your kids.  I don’t give a crap.  And they are rarely as cute or as interesting as you think they are.  Dogs are much better.”

Feel-good Factors

On the other hand, people did have some positive things to say about Facebook and here authenticity and usefulness seem to be important themes:

“Being able to share good news, get advice in groups or even reach out when you are feeling down are wonderful.”

“Positive videos engage me (but not too long). I love live broadcasts – but I don’t want just any – mainly business people or women with a good message, positivity and inspiration! I like groups on Facebook – again, mainly business, inspiration, etc “

“The sense of community. The connecting (and re-connecting) with friends, and the ability to share my life with them, and vice-versa.”

“In its best form it is great: I have connected with one pupil I taught when he was 8 years old in Kenya. It is a real privilege to keep in touch with him, and my husband’s family – many of whom are based in Australia. Keeping in touch with people across the world who we know need our support with floods (my friend Jenny who is in India where there are floods), bush fires (husband’s cousin), checking people are okay (my assistant who was in Barcelona when the terrorist attack happened).”

“What I do like on Fb is interesting stories (life stories where people are real) and engaging- those would be the people that I would more likely be following. “

“I’m engaged by good news and updates supported by photos that capture the magic moments of life.”

Taking the Good and the Bad

So people really do love it AND hate it…and use it. With more and more awareness of etiquette, perhaps Facebook has the potential to become a bit more civilized of a party. I’ll end with a final helpful reminder from Susan:

“Facebook, whether you like it or not, is public unless you set up some really strong privacy settings. Sharing EVERYTHING is going to bite you in the future, because you are going to leave a virtual ‘footprint’ of your activities. Once it is out there, you can’t take it back. So think before you post; is the post something you will regret saying later? Will the photo damage your reputation or personal brand? Recruitment execs do look at your virtual footprint, including Facebook accounts, and it could impact your success in getting a job.

At my son’s school they have a rule about social media: only write on social media what you would be happy for your mother to read.”

Not a bad rule!

 

Lisa

Leave a comment