When you are the face of a company, you can say good-bye to having a personal life. Well, you will still live it, but anything you do will impact the company you’re representing. If you’re caught driving while drunk, if you get into a fight or get arrested for any reason whatsoever, it will impact the company. If you make racist or other hateful comments, if your clothes are inappropriate, if your kids do something wrong, it will impact the company. That’s a fact. What’s unclear is how a company representative’s mishaps or mistakes or eccentricities will actually affect the business.

In some cases, customer lose their trust in the company. If the person speaking in their behalf was a thief, what guarantee is there the company isn’t also stealing. In other cases, such as Facebook, a movie showing the CEO acting like a careless smart ass that is more interested in his company than in his friends or any human relationship for that matter might actually have no negative impact. Facebook users are either inspired to go for it all, too addicted to Facebook to give it up, or find that not using the service will affect them more than using it, in a word, they’re being practical.

Another fact we cannot deny is that there is no perfect life and no perfect human being. So anyone representing a company will do something that’s debatable, if not completely wrong. The big gamble of how it will influence customers is determined by two factors: who will find out and how the imminent crisis will be managed. So if you do represent a brand or a product or a corporation, try to keep to yourself when going nuts. A wild party should be for close friends only, for example.

The other big issue when it comes to individual images and their impacting a company’s brand is the consequences, in other words how the spokespersons themselves are affected. How much will your mistake cost? If you own the company, there’s no immediate danger, but you will feel the losses first hand if your customers decide to spend their money elsewhere. If you’re an employee, you could get fired. Then again, if your contract is solid enough and you’re awesome at your job, you might just be replaced by a new face of the company. If you’re a contracted spokesperson, you might lose the client, and again, you will feel the monetary loss immediately.

The bottom line is simple. The moment you start representing a company, your life gets complicated. You’re under constant scrutiny. So my advice, if you accept such a challenging and rewarding position is to pay extra attention to what’s going on around you, double check all your decisions just in case, try to avoid any criminal activity, and make sure you have a nice crisis management plan in place! But most importantly, if you have a great team advising you on what to say, listen to them, they know what they are talking about. Don’t think I am right? Just think BP for a few seconds… Or think Tiger Woods!

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