If you haven’t heard about Jonathan Fitzgarrald’s new blog, Bad for the Brand, check it out. This blog post, however, isn’t about Jonathan’s new blog, it’s about how you wear your personal and corporate brands, and the impact our every day actions have on them. Driving into work this morning I hit a bad traffic jam, and not in the usual traffic jam spots along my commute. It was bad. Dead stop. Watching the signals go green-yellow-red, and then green-yellow-red again with no movement type of bad. When I finally got to the source of the disruption, this is what I saw:

Seriously. In the middle of the morning rush hour traffic, this Alta Dena truck was parked perpendicular, sticking its caboose across two lanes of Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles. Not only was the traffic backed up several blocks on Olive Street, but the cross streets of 6th and 7th Streets were backing up as well. I don’t believe “Pure. Wholesome. Good.” Alta Dena wants to be known as “Self-Absorbed.” “Rude.” “A*******.” Which is what I was thinking as I snapped this picture this morning. Too bad Alta Dena doesn’t have a Facebook page, because I was ready to splash it on there. Which brings me to the “bad for the brand.” When you splash your brand across your truck, or license plate, or briefcase, you are representing your firm. If you park like this truck, cut people off while driving on the 405, or treat people rudely at Starbucks, it’s often times your firm or company that takes the hit, not the individual. When you are speaking at a conference, and come unprepared, most of the attendees won’t remember the person who spoke, but the company they were representing. When you are impatient when going through the metal detectors at a courthouse, perhaps sharing a few choice words with those making $12 an hour, you are representing your firm. When you are invited to a beauty contest for, let’s say “Levi’s” and show up wearing “Gap” jeans (not that this has ever happened 😀 to my knowledge), they won’t remember which associate did this … but they will remember the firm. In this day and age of social media, social networking, iPhones with cameras, Flip videos, it is important to remember that what we do is easily captured and shared with the world. There is no anonymity for a******s.