Every time I appear on a certain type of list, it is pointed out by the people (i.e. friends) that tell me I’m going to be on it, that one of the criteria the editorial team asks is “Is he handsome? Must be handsome you know.”, apparently my writer friends are the most expert of sar kar queens. #superfriendzoned
In all seriousness, we all need to manage our personal brands and the identities we have in specific contexts.
As part of my personal brand management and audience segmentation, I manage my mainstream/published media presence with the following policies.
1) Local Malay Language Media – Strictly only coverage that is Community Issues related and my identity as a volunteer to improve the credibility of the organisations I serve at. Strictly no “Lists”, having seen the contents of such lists, they have no relevance to my brand identity within the Malay community, hence my friends in that media know that I don’t want to see my name published on any of their lists.
2) Local English and Chinese Language Media – Only coverage about my work in Technopreneurship and my identity as a volunteer and philanthropist. Anything else in self contained silos for those specific story contexts.
3) International Media not published in or for Singapore’s local market – Coverage about my work in the specific silos that I have involvement in for silo specific niche media. For example, in the context of sports, when I am racing, I am under contractual obligation to do all the appearances that my employers or sponsors require me to do according to my contract, so when I am off the clock I do not do any because I am not at work and don’t have to. And this is why when I am at home in any off season or training in between races, I don’t bring my work home with me, what I do on tour stays compartmentalised in that silo and has no place outside of that context of my work, I don’t need that attention away from the job. That is part of my work-life balance policy.
5) Managing Frequency – Do not make general non-work related or non-community related print or broadcast media appearances more than once a quarter or 4 times a year. And only agree to appear on “Lists” once every 2 years at the shortest. Unless there is a specific work or community related purpose to it, I do not participate in interviews. Only participate if there is a reason relevant to benefitting the community or regarding work related content. Anything more than that in my opinion is over exposure. Most people get their 15 minutes of fame and then fade to oblivion, because they get over exposed and have no relevance after that.
Having a personal media management policy protocol is critical for everyone, especially in the current world where social media makes it possible for anyone to write anything about anyone, the mainstream and published media becomes the place where building your brand becomes critical, because someone else writes about you and builds your identity and brand. How you manage your media exposure determines that aspect of your brand development.
Of course you need to know what you want your brand identity to be. Mine has always been Volunteer and Philanthropist primarily within the MM community, and additionally Technopreneur or Social Entrepreneur to everyone else in the local context. And if you notice, those are the labels I make sure are published in every local media appearance I do.
I’ve always tried to keep a low profile on the street but very regularly people keep telling me that I look familiar, I usually played it down to probably having met them at some event and reply that they look familiar too. Although when I was racing I used to get, “You look familiar, did I see you in a magazine somewhere?” every couple of weeks, I would usually play it down to coincidence and later on during the comversation ask them if they’ve travelled any where recently just to check if it was from something recent or further back, and what might be in their mind at that moment. It might seem sneaky, but it’s an effective way to find out what they think about the character I play in that public persona.
Yes, I do know that there are plenty of people that hate my guts, but then they don’t pay my salary or put food on my table so it doesn’t matter to me.
I write this stuff because I know I have a following of kids that read my stuff and for some reason see me as some sort of role model, or so they tell me when they see me on the street and say hi.