Personal Branding – Your name or an alias?

Social Media experts recommend that your build your online personal brand. Using your own name so that it is easily recognisable and found in search engine.

Hence my handle NickWAllen. A little easier to optimise for than Nick Allen, and easily recognisable across all my accounts.  But what about aliases and ghost presences online?

An amazing hoax was revealed yesterday by Wired magazine and Dutch news.

Floris Kaayk artist, cinematographer and CGI aficionado has been experimenting with online media and it’s capacity to spread a cause.

For eight months Floris under the alias of Jarno Smeets acted as a human flight enthusiast. Hoping to accomplish his grandfathers dream of flying like a bird with flapping wings.  It was only recently spotted that his LinkedIn profile did not match with Coventry university records.

His online profiles on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter amassing a vast amount of followers and support for his #humanbirdwings project. The weekly updates and filming a testament to his capacity as an artist.

I admit myself to being punked by the cause, as a model aeroplane fan (read geek) in my early years I was keen to promote Floris’ cause. I even sent him some tips to build his network and reach.

It seems to have worked:

Whether Floris has just gained a whole bunch of fans or amassed a niche groups of haters is to be told in coming days, but were he to take on these profiles as his own. I’m sure may would be interested in following his next escapades. EXPECIALLY given he has no accounts himself.

The question for us as digital marketers is, hey could a false character create affinity with our brand. The characters of Nigel and Victoria – brainchildren of Philips – amassed a cult following but could outright alter egos be the next guerrilla marketing phase?

Who knows. How do you guys feel about faking a personal brand?

And for those that would like to see – here’s the video which has cracked over 4 million views.

I would love to hear your views!

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