There is a well worn phrase from the sixties, “the personal is political.”
This in effect means your personal lifestyle choices are a natural extension of your political beliefs. Whether you would patronize an establishment that supported segregation or attend a rally in favor of or opposed to the Vietnam War said a lot about who you were. The message was less “I like that” and more “I am like that”.
Today this is what we call your personal brand and it more or less means the same thing. While it's usually never a good idea to throw your politics in the face of a client or co-worker, you can often be put in the position of having it done for you, albeit inadvertently. If you've ever been asked by a client if you are married, and you are gay or lesbian, you are immediately put in what could be an uncomfortable or defensive position. When a co-worker in the lunchroom reads aloud a newspaper article about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, you make a choice to respond, and how to temper your response if you disagree.
We make choices every day based on our purchasing, hiring, and networking decisions, and it is as important a vote as any cast on election day. Possibly more so, because it is public and not made behind the screen of a voting booth. It is also a set of choices we make every day, that have a ripple effect on the perception others have of us and our own self image or corporate brand.
How much your personal brand becomes a part of your corporate brand is a decision companies can't make lightly. It influences consumer participation and the message, whether it's good, bad, or indifferent, travels at light speed in the world of Twitter, Facebook and social networking.
So when you vote, either at the polling place, with your pocketbook, or with the people you “friend” on Facebook, vote responsibly and know that it matters.
Unlike the polling place, other people are watching and casting their own votes as well.