Let’s kick off the week with a little discussion about Branding.

I’ll focus on Personal Branding, Image and Social Media.

But let’s talk about the big boys first.

A few years ago I read an excellent book about the history of McDonalds and how it was Ray Kroc who created the empire, not the McDonald brothers who started the business in Califorina.

One of the hallmarks of McDonalds is brand consistency mixed with regional variety.

Golden arches in the shape of an M means McDonalds.

Now let’s relate that to your personal brand image on Social Media.

I am active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and FourSquare, plus a few hundred other accounts.

Most of these accounts let you use an image or avatar to help folks idenitfy you visually.

I was messing this part up and finally started cleaning up my mess last week.

I was using different pictures on different accounts.  Oh sure they were all me, but they were not all the same picture.

Some were 4 years old, some were 2 years old and some were from last year.

These were mostly headshots but each a little different.

A summer shot from the beach at Lake Erie,  a pic from Indianapolis,  even a shot from me in a tux from my daughter’s wedding last year.

And then the real crazy part, for a few weeks I was updating my Facebook Profile picture everyday with a fresh shot each morning.

This flies smack dab in the face of what I know about creating a memorable brand.

Just like McDonalds would never allow any of their stores to abandon their Golden Arches, you and I need to build consistency too.

My advice, for your personal brand is to use a recent headshot, one that looks like you so if folks see you face to face, they will recognize you.

We want to connect with those we know on social media and if your Facebook Profile Picture or Twitter avatar don’t match the real you, we all lose out.

I’m sure you want folks to recognize you instead of wondering, “who is that?”

Now excuse me while I go tackle those other hundred or so social media sites I’m on and post the right picture.