Roseanne Barr’s Racist Tweet and How to Protect Your Personal Brand

It takes time to build a personal brand, and it can be damaged with one tweet. It is up to you to protect your personal brand and professional reputation. Once the bell has been rung, it can’t be unrung. This saying has always stuck with me and it is critical for personal brand management.

Gone are the days where you can do or say what you want. This is especially true if you are active on social media. And despite happening over and over people continue to post divisive posts. Avoid a personal brand reputation fiasco and strengthen your personal brand by protecting it by being mindful of the content you publish.

No matter what your profession you have your name, image and brand to protect. With the growth of social media and its use in enabling you to gain clients, employment and establishing a name for yourself, protecting your personal brand and professional reputation is extremely important. Learn from Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet fiasco, her actions not only hurt herself it hurt the cast and crew of her show that was just canceled.


How to Protect Your Personal Brand

Sometimes a person’s personal brand is their most valuable asset. It’s what makes customers want to work with you and employers to employ you. While it may sound simple to avoid it is easy to get caught up in controversy, as was the case with Roseanne Barr and her racist tweet. Protect your personal brand and manage your professional reputation by doing these five things.

1) Think Before You Publish

Before you hit the post button think. Think about how the content may alienate segments of your audience. Is that post in alignment with the values you want to be known for? If posting about someone, ask if you would say it in person. When posting about a particular topic ask, would I talk openly about this topic in a room full of diverse people? Thinking about the content before you put it out there, because once it is out there you can’t control where it goes or how it is used, will help you avoid a personal branding and professional reputation mishap.

2) Stay Away From Divisive Content

There is no shortage of divisive topics to develop content around. If the content is divisive it is best to stay quiet about it because there is no doubt it will alienate segments of your audience. When the issue is important to you and you feel like taking a stand publicly, ask yourself the questions from number one. If you are able to answer yes then make your position known but, be prepared for some backlash and to lose some of your audience.


3) Standardize Your Communication Style

When building and protecting your personal brand, your communication style needs to be respectful to your audience. This includes written content and verbal communication. Keep your tone respectful of your audience, it will help prevent communication mishaps and help you to correct issues more easily when they arise.

4) Own Mistakes Quickly and Sincerely

Quickly owning your mistake and sincerely apologizing helps the personal brand repair process. You may still lose some of your audience, or worse your job, but owning it and being remorseful could minimize the backlash. If you chose to delete the post, explain why you are deleting it in your apology. Doing this avoids looking like you are trying to cover something up.

5) Make Amends

Take personal responsibility for the consequences of alienating your audience by offering to make up for it. Gestures of goodwill with your audience can go a long way in limiting the damage. Making amends shows your audience you value them and want to keep serving them.


Protect your personal brand using the first three points above. When mistakes happen, quickly use points four and five. Be honest, respectful, own your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions. Most importantly, if your personal branding goal isn’t to be divisive, stay away from divisive content.

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Jason Cortel is currently the Director of Global Workforce Management for a leading technology company. He has been in customer service, marketing, and sales services for over 20 years. In addition, he has extensive experience in offshore and nearshore outsourcing. Jason is an avid Star Trek fan and is on a mission to change the universe by helping people develop professionally. He is driven to help managers and leaders lead their teams better. Jason is also a veteran in creating talent and office cultures.

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