Risk photo from ShutterstockThere are several sources of risk for your personal brand in the social era. With each new wave of technology and with the frequency of changes to industry verticals, there is always a risk that you fall behind. With so many avenues of communication, you run the risk of personal brand neglect. With a competitive landscape, you run the risk of being unseated.

Falling Behind

Changes are happening at a breakneck pace today, without a plan to keep abreast of changes in your industry, you run the risk of falling behind. You should regularly take note of changes and avoid potential “echo chambers”. Some things you should pay attention to:

  • New companies that are entering your space of expertise
  • Outside ideas and interactions within your realm of expertise
  • Other thought leaders in your space
  • Trends that are happening in the marketplace

New companies may bring with them new differentiating ideas and different concepts. The Enterprise Content Management space was an entrenched community of around 10 vendors, and many didn’t take note of Microsoft’s entry into the space. Even when Microsoft was clearly entering the Enterprise Content Management market, many ‘experts’ noted that Microsoft’s SharePoint offering behaved differently than other vendor offerings but decidedly wrote off SharePoint. They did so at their peril as those new ideas brought to the ECM market by Microsoft have slowly become the dominant ideas and other vendors in the space have been unseated. With the unseating of incumbents, new experts have replaced some of those that missed the changes in the market.

Outside ideas generally come from related industries to your industry. When ideas seep from one realm into another they have the potential of disrupting the status quo in the industry that begins to accept the new ideas. When there is status quo disruption, there is the potential for personal brand minimization and falling behind in knowledge

Continually keep abreast of other thought leaders in your space and trends that are happening in the market. With today’s social tools, this is becoming easier than ever. What must be avoided, however, are “echo chambers” where seated experts are simply talking to one another and risk their market moving away without them. To avoid this, you must also keep abreast of other related industries and other practitioners within your field (outside of the regular cast of characters).

Brand Neglect

With so many avenues of communication through social channels now available, it is important to develop a multi-channel approach to your personal branding efforts or risk brand neglect. If you’re on a channel, you need to ensure that you’re communicating with your audience on that channel. With an ever changing social landscape, it is important to continually ‘find’ your audience wherever they may be. Without staying with your brand and keeping a dialogue going, you will slowly fade into the background of recognized thought leaders.


With everyone having the ability to post, discuss, and communicate through enabling social technologies, there is an ever present risk of other thought leaders rising up and taking your brand. In our evolutionary marketplace of ideas, you must continually adapt to grow and maintain a strong personal brand. Without continual adaptability, your brand may be overcome by another’s and the effort required to reclaim may be too much to win. Avoid the risk in the first place by avoiding falling behind and brand neglect.