Those words from third-generation publishing mogul Maria Rodale describing the nature of the high-profile magazine’s split from high-profile editor David Zinczenko in November 2012, while cold, are also true.
Zinczenko was synonymous with the Men’s Health brand, writing countless books (thank him for the “Eat This, Not That” series), appearing on major TV outlets (he regularly popped up on Today”) and had an active social media presence talking about the magazine’s core topics.
All of these things, one would assume, would be a good thing.
He used his position of authority to gain the greatest exposure possible for his publication.
This is something that comes up often in social media circles – does having a large personal presence make you a better online marketer?
In an industry of influence, how important is it to be personally influential?
Of course, there is no natural answer here, since influence is such an individualized trait. Two people with the exact same number of friends, fans and followers will exert completely different levels of persuasion over their actions.
But, there is a clear lesson here:
Know thy masters.
It’s clear that Rodale did not appreciate one person being as big (or even bigger) than the brand she was paying him to steward.
Without a doubt, the company was uncomfortable with the attention Zinczenko earned, no matter how altruistic or beneficial the pursuit may have been.
Brands are bigger than people. Unless those people are the CEO.
Think Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Mark Cuban – all three are arguably bigger than their brands. But all are at the top.
So many marketing professionals try to solve the personal brand equation.
Public Personal Brand = [Attributes + Content + Distribution + Relative Influence] – Employer Tolerance
Digging into the equation:
Attributes: Who are you, publicly? What aspects of your personality are known?
Content: What do you say or write?
Distribution: How do people know about what you say or write?
Relative Influence: Do people listen to you? Take action?
Employer Tolerance: Some companies don’t tolerate personal branding – everything should be brand-centric. Others see the positives that come from high-profile employees, within reason.
What other components should be added to this equation? Have you clashed with an employer about your social media presence?