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5 Keys to Survive an Online Personal Brand Attack

5 Keys to Survive an Online Personal Brand Attack

David Hagenbuch

Turn an exercise in self-defense into an opportunity for brand building.

‘Hagenbuch gets it wrong again.” Those words hit me hard as I read a harsh response to one of my weekly blog posts. Unfortunately, the criticism wasn’t aimed at just a specific statement I made or conclusion I offered. The reader levied a wholesale indictment of my advice, questioning my competence and challenging my expertise. It was a direct attack on my personal brand.

The same social media that make it simple for organizations and individuals to share updates also make it easy for anyone to interject an opinion, be it good, bad or ugly. Unfortunately, public discourse increasingly degenerates into personal attacks, which makes it important for each of us to know how to effectively and respectfully defend our brands.

How did I answer my aggressor? I’ll continue the story:


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David Hagenbuch is a professor of marketing at Messiah College, the author of Honorable Influence and the founder of, which aims to encourage ethical marketing.