Personal Branding

New Year: Time to Audit Your Online Presence!

I always think that people should take a good long look at their online presence twice a year. For many people, however this is a lot of work. So, I really recommend that people audit their online presence at least in the New Year. It’s the perfect time to have new perspective. And now that we are a few weeks in, you are focused!

Some people might roll their eyes when I mention personal branding here, but that’s o.k. Whether people like it or not, they have a personal brand. Managing your online presence is an important component of owning and managing ‘your’ brand. A cornerstone in branding is ensuring consistency in all channels. That applies to your personal information. And, with cybercrime only on the increase, managing your information has never been more important.

Here are 5 things to help you do just that: (Not in order of importance)

social media

1. Take an Inventory

Over the course of a year, we end up signing up for a lot of different things. Sometimes it is email updates and other times it is for newer social apps such as SnapChat. If you haven’t been keeping track, it is time to start an inventory. Make use of either a spreadsheet or keep track in an application like Evernote. I wouldn’t recommend you keep your various passwords in anything but a very secure password keeper, however! Please forgo the spreadsheet OR Evernote for that.

When you have this comprehensive list you can review and determine if you have actually been leveraging all of these tools. If you haven’t, it might be time to opt-out or deactivate some.

Pros for doing this: By keeping an inventory, you know just where your information is and for what purpose. As roles change and careers progress, you may not want to have certain assets as you go forward. Additionally, you will ensure that your professional image is consistent across platforms.

Cons: This can be time consuming if you haven’t kept track and you may not find them all. There are of course apps that help you do this, but in my experience you have to “sign-up” for them as well and most are “not secure” sites. As a result, you could be further compromising yourself. So, while it is hard work up front, it pays off very quickly. 

2. Review your Avatars

When is the last time you updated your photo? Last year? Five years ago? Or, hopefully you don’t still have the “egg”. Regardless of what image you use, ask yourself, what professional imagine do you want to convey? What is your line of work? What message do you want to send? Your picture should reflect this.

Pros for doing this: Having an up-to-date and professional photo that portrays your profession, can only be a positive.

Cons: It does require keeping your photo up-to-date on all channels and if you use a lot of different social profiles, it can be timing consuming. However, this is another reason to edit out just how many you have.

3.  Contact Information

Have you changed companies? Perhaps you have consolidated some of your contact information? More and more people are doing this, but neglecting to update their social information to match your current information is less than desirable. The result? Outdated contact information for you. Again, think about what this says about your brand. If people are trying to contact you, this is not the best impression.

Pros for doing this: Keeping updated information, contact information in particular, means that you are reachable. If you are in business for yourself or in sales, having the “right” contact information is critical.

Cons: I really can’t think of any.

4. Automation

Despite being 2017, people still revert back to tactics of the 90’s or even the 2000’s. What do I mean by this? Well, for some we believe that we should only broadcast information. There is no social interaction with those whom we are connecting with. This is not the purpose or intention of social media. So, for those who focus on having automated social messages, such as on Twitter thanking people or telling them to connect on Facebook or LinkedIn, please rethink that. This is not a numbers game. In business you NEED interaction and specifically ACTION! Numbers alone don’t create action. Relationships create action. So, communicating and interacting with the people who follow you  and you follow, matters. In fact, it matters a lot!

Pros for doing this: Far too many people focus on numbers versus relationships. Creating relationships will set you apart from others. Dump the automation and focus on relationships.

Cons: I am not going to beat around the bush here. Doing this properly takes planning and orchid.

5. Security

This is probably the most important rethink for your social media. What information are you sharing? It’s important to remember that there is a fine line between sharing professional information and sharing information that can compromise your personal/online security.

Sharing birthdays and martial status on sites such as LinkedIn is not necessary and I would recommend that you just don’t do it. Think about each channel you are on. What is really relevant and right for your brand. Just because there is a ‘placeholder’ for something doesn’t mean you need to use it.

Passwords are also extremely important. Of course there is the debate about how often you should change your password. My rule of thumb for passwords is to change them on sites when I learn of a compromise. I also recommend having a longer and more complicated password with special characters and numbers.

Of course these are some of my top hits. I will explore others in a later post.

Want to learn more about social media audits, an integrated marketing strategy? Be Trained! Be Prepared! Have a TaylorMade Solution!

12 Great Cybersecurity Resources To Help Protect Your Business

Did you know that cyber-attack fallout could cost the global economy $3 trillion by 2020? With cybersecurity a huge focus for Opportunities NB (ONB) and the province of New Brunswick, we decided to curate a list of cybersecurity resources we think you can leverage to help protect yourself and your business. You don’t want to be the next C-Suite executive to lose their job over security blunders.


Image: Owned by Heather-Anne MacLean

Before we get into our own curated resources, Dr. Natalia Stakhanova, the NB Innovation Research Chair in Cybersecurity and Sandy Bird, IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Security Systems Division, offered their top picks to bookmark:



1. KrebsonSecurity – Brian Krebs worked as a reporter for The Washington Post, and has authored more than 1,300 blog posts for the Security Fix blog as well as hundreds of stories for

2. Schneier on Security – Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, and has been called a “security guru” by The Economist.


3. Security Intelligence – Brought to you by IBM, this site brings together a number of information security professionals sharing a variety of up-to-date posts.


Sandy Bird, IBM

4. Dark Reading – This Information Week resource is a news site full of commentary and security news.


5. Naked Security – Naked Security is Sophos’ award-winning threat news room, giving you news, opinion, advice and research on computer security issues and the latest internet threats.

6. Dr. Eric Cole’s Blog – Dr. Cole is a leading computer security expert with over 20 years of experience.

7. ThreatPost – Threatpost “aggregates content from existing online sources and combines this with unique viewpoints to generate a broader public discourse on timely IT security issues.”

8. Security Watch – Brian Honan is recognized internationally as an expert in the field of information security and has worked with numerous partners in both the private sector and public sectors in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe.

9. IT Security Guru – A great blog publishing daily breaking news and interviews with thought leaders in IT security.

10. Cyberark Blog – Cyberark is a security company that “proactively stops the most advanced cyber threats – those that exploit insider privileges to attack the heart of the enterprise.”

11. Wired’s Threat Level – Wired is a well-established digital destination and its Threat Level category is full of great cybersecurity content.

12. Dan Kaminsky’s Blog – Dan is Founder and Chief Scientist at White Ops.

Want to learn more about MarCom for cybersecurity? Be Prepared! Be Trained! Have a TaylorMade Solution.


Note: This post previously appeared on ONB’s Blog.

Warning: 63% of Small/Medium Enterprises are Targeted by Cyber Criminals – Are YOU Ready?

For many small/medium enterprises there is a belief that cybercrime is not really an issue. Cyberattacks and cyber criminals are only interested in the big guys. Not so. In 2015 alone, Symantec reported that 63% of spear-phishing attacks were focused on small/medium enterprises. Are you prepared to handle the communications onslaught that can come with an attack?


Source: Symantec

  Being Prepared

According to Ernst and Young’s annual global information security survey for 2016, only 42% of respondents stated that they have a communications strategy or plan in place to address a “significant” attack. While “significant” isn’t defined, an attack could impact your business in several ways. Some of the most obvious are:

  1. Systems and hardware are rendered useless after ransomware being initiated;
  2. Viruses being unknowingly delivered to your supply chain and/or customers;
  3. The potential embarrassment of clients, media, etc. being the ones to inform you that you have an issue; and
  4. Customers losing faith and taking their business elsewhere.

These are just some examples of what “could” happen. On top of these, add the fact that you could incur legal costs, IT costs and lost productivity, etc.

But How & When Will You Communicate?

How and when you will communicate is as important as what you say and to whom. Each scenario can involve a different set of communication plans. Additionally, ensuring that you have a proper distribution list is critical as well as having the right channel to deliver your message. If your systems have been compromised and you can’t use email, do you have a plan?

Here are some things to consider:

  1. How will you communicate with your employees?
  2. If you have advisors or shareholders, how will you communicate with them?
  3. Do you know when and when not to communicate?
  4. If your supply chain has been compromised, how will you communicate with them?
  5. What do you need to tell your customers with respect to their data? Do you have a plan in place to share with them  what steps you have taken to mitigate the issue and to further protect them? If not, what do you recommend they do and when?
  6. Do you have backup contact lists and relationship priorities established to ensure the right people are contacted at the right times?
  7. Do you have messaging ready should the media call or show up at your office?
  8. Do you have people trained and ready to speak to the media?
  9. Do you have a backup plan for your website if it is taken over?

A solid communications strategy will include information and plans to address all of these factors.

If you would like to explore options to have a plan of action, contact us.

We specialize in communication plans and deployment tactics.