November 2012 Archives

As brands integrate social media marketing into their business plans, they often voice concerns about doing it “right.”  They look to competitors to figure out what seems to be working, but they often overlook a detailed risk analysis from both a marketing and legal perspective. 

Almost a year after, The Altimeter Group released its new report  “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation”, many of its findings are still relevant.  Altimeter reported that companies’ resources are strained to manage all their social media operations and may need the help of outside vendors. The result is often chaotic social media management. In determining how to manage social media, brands should consider several key legal issues and include strategies for minimizing risk in its business plan.

Who owns your social media accounts? Altimeter’s report highlights that companies may have as many as 178 discrete social media accounts, not including employee accounts. How many of those companies thought through the legal implications of who owns the intellectual property associated with the brand accounts and the employee accounts? The ongoing battle between PhoneDog and Noah Kravitz may prove instructive on this point, but absent a court precedent, brands need to take proactive steps to establish ownership of their intellectual property in social media.

  • Best Practice:  Establish ownership in writing BEFORE launching social media accounts. Do this in employee manuals, policy statements, and contractually with employees, and consider filing for trademark registrations to protect your monikers.

Outsourcing could be an invitation for disaster. Altimeter warns that the marketplace has a low barrier to entry for social media vendors, and consequently, companies need to understand their vendors’ capabilities and weaknesses before hiring them. Altimeter recommends a full test drive of products before hiring, but what of the other elephant in the room, legal liability? Social media vendors, as a whole, do not accept legal liability for their work. They are typically unwilling to warrant the legality of content or indemnify against enforcement actions. What happens if data security is breached? Who is clearing the sweepstakes that the vendor is helping brands post to Facebook? And who is bearing the risk of liability? Digging even deeper, most brands overlook due diligence on their vendors’ patents to determine their validity. Imagine the business interruption after hiring a vendor, becoming reliant on them, and then losing them to a patent infringement lawsuit.

  • Best Practice: Before you hire one of the vendors mentioned in Altimeter’s report or any other vendor, look carefully at your contract and assess not only potential legal liability but also how the vendor will work with you to avoid an investigation or crisis from occurring in the first place.

Policies are not sufficient. Altimeter recommends the use of third party experts and taking the time for policy development. But policies, in and of themselves, may be insufficient. Take the FTC’s recent investigation of Hewlett-Packard Company and its public relations firm, Porter Novelli, Inc. or its November, 2011 investigation of Hyundai Motor America regarding potential violations of the FTC’s Endorsement and Testimonial Guidelines. In both cases, the brands’ agencies sought to induce a small group of bloggers with gift certificates in exchange for urging bloggers to promote the brands. In both instances, the FTC dropped their investigations because of the small numbers of blogger recipients and the brands’ revisions to their social media policies. At the same time, the FTC continued to remind advertisers that they are responsible for the actions of their agencies.

  • Best Practices: The FTC’s Business Center blog offers the first practice point here. In December, 2011, describing the Hyundai case, it offered a mnemonic “M.M.M.” to help guide brands into compliance with the FTC’s Endorsement Guides: 1) Mandate a disclosure policy that complies with the law; 2) Make sure people who work for you or with you know what the rules are; and 3) Monitor what they’re doing on your behalf.  For a second practice point, it is essential to have your policies dictated by your practices and not the other way around. A policy crafted by an attorney in isolation from company marketing efforts will not serve you. Altimeter wisely recommends a social media planning audit. Legal counsel should be actively involved throughout all initiatives. In addition, bi-annual audits are highly recommended because social media marketing strategies shift frequently.

For more in-depth examinations of the Hewlett-Packard and Hyundai cases, see my posts (click here)

© Kyle-Beth Hilfer, P.C. 2012

Kyle-Beth Hilfer, Esq. has over 20 years experience as an attorney specializing in advertising, marketing, promotions, intellectual property, and new media law.

Ms. Hilfer is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.  She is of Counsel to Collen IP.  Read more about her law practice, click here.

The recent election saw a bold prediction by Dick Morris about Romney's chances of winning the election.  Bold, amazing and wrong.  Unfortunately, for Mr. Romney's supporters the actual odds were running against him, some put him as high as an 8-1 underdog.

Chance forecasts which we intend to rely upon have a curious feature:  "amazing miracles" happen frequently and snatch a sure victory away from us.


The actual odds Lucy would have followed through on her professed commitment were, as we know, zero.

But the chances that an involuntary muscle spasm would cause her to snatch away the ball were "astronomical".

A final exploration between the world of chance and strategy is from Guys and Dolls.



(For a game theoretic explanation of the strategy choices, please see Presh Talwalkar's Game Theory and Charlie Brown.)

Happy Thanksgiving, and avoid getting cider in your ear.

Whether you are a business owner trying to generate sales for your product or service or a professional trying to advance in your career, Linkedin is your ticket for social savvy success!

You probably already have a Facebook page, a Twitter handle and a blog where you share information about your niche, but are you monetizing the best online business social networking site for corporate executives, business professionals, decision makers, contractors and employees?

Linkedin is definitely a social media site but it is very different from other "social sites" you have come to know and love. Linkedin is more of a professional networking site. According to Linkedin, there are over 300 million members in over 200 countries.

See why they are Linkedin and why you should be too!

Don't expect to see photos of children's birthday parties or cute pets and other idle chit chat you have become accustomed to on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, on Linkedin you are going to see people "taking care of business!"

Conversations range from professional networking, marketing, online business, and everywhere in between as it relates to business. Anyone on Linkedin is there with a purpose.

People are on Linkedin to market and share information about their products and services with others, to increase business and gain employment.

In Closing...

If you are in business or you are a professional or an employee, you need to be on Linkedin. I encourage you to please go and sign up now if you don't have an account. You can sign up for FREE! They also offer premium accounts for a fee but the FREE account is all you need to get started!

Supporting You One "Savvy Step" at a Time!

Share with me below how you have used Linkedin to grow your business or advance your career. Looking forward to hearing from you

Dr. Sarah David is the Founder of Social Savvy Sarah...A Personal Branding and Social Media Consultancy Providing Social Media Strategies to Build Your Brand and be Socially Savvy! She works with a World-Class Team to provide a "One-Stop Shop" whether you are a "Do-it-Yourselfers" or need "Done for You" services for all of your social media needs. From Fortune 500 corporations to institutions of higher education, entrepreneurs or professionals looking for career advancement, we will help you Build Your Brand and be Socially Savvy! To learn more sign up for her free exclusive personal branding and social media marketing updates at

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

Why Romney Should Have Won


You should be a fan of Dick Morris and his methodology.

As Duncan Watts noted about his disagreement with Malcolm Gladwell on the significance of inluencers: " "My models might be totally wrong," he says cheerfully. "But at least I'm clear about what I'm saying. You can look at them, and tell me if you disagree.

But none of these other thinkers are actually clear about what they're saying. You can't tell if they're wrong."

Dick Morris reads the polls and notices that they have sampled more Democratics, who have traditionally voted less often than their Republican neighbors. Romney Wins!

Dick Morris knows where he went wrong.

He based his turn-out model on an assumption that 2008 would regress to 2004.

His prediction was wrong, but he understands his mistake.

Decision theorists call this a "base-rate" error. What errors are you making in calculating your base-rate of customers?

Will you be honest like Dick Morris and admit your mistake?

Or will you have some comforting story to tell about your lack of sales?

I recently read an article from a career professional that had my head shaking and my voice screaming, "No-o-o-o-o-o!"

The author presented several simple steps to develop an executive brand, proposing that within 30 minutes you could design a personal brand that would magically work. By answering just five easy questions, an executive would have a personal brand that would make recruiters fall all over you. Voila!

But that's not how to market yourself as an executive. Having an executive brand that works is the result of a long-term building strategy that takes time, work and effort. What this person presented had nothing to do with the practice of executive marketing.

For years, I've kept fairly silent about the erroneous and incorrect information that those in the career industry, who do not have a marketing or sales background, have attempt to offer. I generally let it pass because I know that these folks are sincerely trying to be of help. But they are simply wrong.

In upcoming articles, I am going to provide you with the "how to's" to building an executive brand that works.  This is the first article.

But first, let's go back and discover what personal branding really is.

Where Did The Idea of Personal Branding Come From?

Tom Peters started it back in the late 1990s.

Peters coined the phrase "personal branding" because he fundamentally saw that employment and work, due to technology, was dramatically changing the corporate landscape.

He was trying to communicate that employees had to:

1) start standing for something;

2) understand the value of communicating and align to the changing market,and;

3) begin to become an innovator within a company to hold a position in the future.

He claimed that personal branding was what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work and that it was "the promise of the value you'll receive."

But just as Peters did with the idea of creating a Mission and Vision Statement a decade and a half earlier, he has to re-claim the idea of Personal Branding, because most "career professionals" or "careerists" have so screwed up what personal branding means that it is now almost meaningless.

(For an interesting little augmentation to Peters, please listen to his video about Brand You, published in 2010.  You will be glad you did.)

What Is Personal Branding?

Branding is a form of differentiation and is based upon a concept. It is the totality of all the elements of a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service. According to wikipedia, Personal Branding is defined below:

"Personal branding is, for some people, a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging (emphasis mine).

Further defined as the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual (emphasis mine); this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable. The term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters. "

Simply put, then, executive branding is the science and art of intentionally designing marketing messages, in multiple ways, to identify who you are, what value you bring to the market or company you work for, and what the brand receiver can expect from you.

Creating an executive brand must start with creating a concept that makes you different and stand out based upon what the market wants and is willing to pay for.

People who interact with your executive brand will experience you via your designed messages, will begin to understand that message and eventually will be able to define you whether they know you or not. In each and every interaction an executive has within his or her target audience or niche, the personal brand is built - over time and with sharp intention.

It is the public perception of you and what the collective message is over time, that you have managed and controlled that defines you and, (this is very important) meets what the market wants, not what you want to sell them.

Personal branding is a strategy first that is executed orally and delivered in-the-moment.

You have to own your brand by personifying it, creating attractive reasons to interact with your brand, and continually sell your brand to a targeted audience (not company) that wants to hear it.

MarketOne Executive Bottom Line

My definition of personal branding/marketing is to turn strangers into interested parties. This takes time and effort. Selling can only happen after attraction and its purpose is to turn those attracted interested parties into a job offer, a contractual relationship or a sale.

At MarketOne Executive, we help you to develop a framework for your personal ideas and intellectual property. Intellectual property has value and is able to be identified as having economic capital worth because it can create a return-on-investment.

Intellectual property also gives you independence. Your personal intellectual property, therefore, must clearly identify you, differentiate you, and align you with the hiring market today.

From there, we work with you to shape your personal brand orally, first, to attract strangers and power brokers to you. Then we develop the various written marketing materials that are used in selling your brand. We each step has a definable metric and benchmark and is repeatable. We have built tools that you can use, year after year.

You see, all of the marketing strategies we use are the same ones used by large corporations. All of the marketing tactics come straight out of the corporate branding playbook. The tools are adapted to the personal branding practice, working with you as if you were a big brand product.

The sales strategies and tactics are come from 30 years proven and tested results in the practice of sales, including negotiations.

And if you'll notice carefully, most of the respected sources who are cited as furthering the practice of personal are not career professionals but marketers!

For more tools and information about how to land an $100K+ executive role, read my bio and click on the link to my website,

 1.  "The Brand Called You" By: Tom Peters, Fast Company, August 31, 1997.

 2.  "What a Personal Brand is NOT" , January 16, 2009.


 4. Full Disclosure: Karen Armon holds a MBA and a BS in Marketing with a minor in Mathematics. Her first position was as a sales representative for a Fortune 250 company. She's been employed at well-know companies Shell Oil, Moore Business Forms, Manpower, Cabala's, and Johnson Controls. The first 15 years of her professional career was in sales and marketing until in the early 1990s, she took a technical training position launching her career in human resources. She has been certified as both a Quality Auditor and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (lifetime). She has purchased, and sold, two businesses with and to outside investors. Karen has used her marketing and selling skills to create and brand her company current, MarketOne Executive, recognized in executive circles world-wide.

About the Author: Karen Armon

$100K+ Executive-Level markting strategiest, Karen Armon, prepares leaders around the world for their next move. Her popular book, Market Your Potential, Not Your Past is a hit among executives who want a clear-cut, systematic game plan that drives careers forward. Now get her new FREE eBook, "Ten Micro-Trends that Impact Executive Careers Today" at and take a critical look at today's marketplace


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