During my Pinterest experiment, I received my first negative social media post…which was probably long overdue. Since Metropolis’ inception, I have always used the fact that the products are 100% vegan as a main marketing point. It can be hard to promote that, as I would really love the option of using things like silk in products, or organic honey, but the vegan product marketing is all-or-nothing. So I abstained.
I, however, am not a vegan. I’ve never hidden that fact .
In many of my business books, I’ve read that if you want your brand to succeed, you need to live the lifestyle that you’re projecting. Fair enough. But I never felt like my food preferences would get in the way of my business.
Until I began the Pinterest experiment. Prior to this, my Pinterest was my own personal one that, when I used it (read: rarely), some of it included recipes that I wanted to try. Some (3) of the recipes included bacon. Didn’t really think about it when I switched my personal account to a business one. Just kept on keeping on.
I got negative comments from a few people about running a vegan company and posting pictures of raw and cooked meat, which was offensive. I know there are a lot of people that are offended by a lot of things, and if someone is vegan for philosophical reasons, I could see why that would be offensive. So I removed the recipe board and apologized in hopes of just ending the controversy.
It made me think about what “living my brand” means. Would I switch my dietary habits to satisfy others that believed personal and professional are the same life? No. But something would need to change, because I always knew that somewhere down the road, this would come up and be a problem.
So I’ve decided to switch my marketing efforts towards the “natural” and “handmade” aspect. The products will still be vegan, but as Metropolis becomes more popular and more public, I begin to realize that my personal choices in life will be taken as a reflection on the company.
Unfortunately, “natural” and “handmade” are even more diluted in the marketing world, but it is what it is.
Let me be clear and say this is a perfect example of my own fault in this: I should have either created a new account for Metropolis, or erased everything on my personal account when I switched it. I am a person. Metropolis is a company that has more than myself working in it. My personal life is not my business and my business is not my personal life. But as I make a conscious effort to promote this distinction I need to redirect my brand to have less controversy in order to satisfy that.