While working with an outplacement client to strengthen his LinkedIn profile, I learned that he is well-versed with the design of different sections of LinkedIn. During his MBA program, his institution trained him on how to build a strong personal brand.
Brands used to be just for businesses, but the rise of branding on a personal level is gaining momentum for all working professionals, as well as future professionals. Developing a personal brand is a must-have if you wish to build your reputation and influence how others view you.
Even if we haven’t been taught this, learning to build personal brand is key to our growth. Those who understand how to utilize their network and capture personal brand will undoubtedly achieve greater levels of professional success.
two-fold benefits of branding
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once remarked, ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’ An effective personal brand differentiates you from the competition, and builds trust and credibility within your organisation and industry.
Consistent efforts toward building a personal brand will also help in your job search process whenever you plan to transition into a new career. According to a recent CareerBuilder Survey, nearly half of employers (47%) say that if they can't find a job candidate online, they are less likely to contact that person for an open position either because they like to gather more information before bringing in a candidate for an interview (28%) or expect candidates to have an online presence (20%).
Developing a personal brand not only helps employees advance their careers, but also enables employers to raise their own profiles in an increasingly competitive business environment.
How do employers reap the rewards of personal branding? Recent research by Forbes shows that brand messages are shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees versus the brand. In addition, brand messages reached 561 percent further when shared by employees as opposed to the same messages shared via official brand social channels.
A positive outcome for both individuals and the companies they work for points to the need for organizations to incorporate into their strategic marketing plans ways of helping employees establish and strengthen their personal brands.
employees: build your personal brand the right way
Identify what you want to be known for and let the world know. It doesn’t always have to be a big accomplishment like launching a course, managing an event or speaking at a conference. It can be as simple as sharing your knowledge or thoughts, or writing articles on certain topics of interest and knowledge.
Consider following questions while building your brand:
- Why do you want to build your personal brand?
- What is the message you want to give to your network?
- What problem will you solve?
- What solutions do you have based on your education, experience and research?
- Which communication media makes the most sense for you to use based on your role and industry?
As an employee, you can also seek opportunities to share new ideas, or promote your employer, team and co-workers’ accomplishments. This will not only position you as an integral part of your current organization, but also as a thought leader within your industry. While personal branding is typically associated with a job change, it should go beyond that and be part of every professional’s long-term career strategy.
employers: support employee participation in the new era of personal branding
Sharing news about the company and engaging clients online or offline was once considered the responsibility of the PR and communications teams. But trends are changing. To build presence and manage business reputation, progressive organisations are encouraging employees to be brand ambassadors.
Organisations may consider these ideas to encourage and support employees’ personal brands:
- Initiate drives to gather ideas from employees.
- Recognize employee achievement and contributions in line with organisational values.
- Encourage employees to contribute blogs and share their perspective on industry offerings.
- Offer personal branding training sessions from employees and for employees.
- Encourage employees to participate in and organise social responsibility events and awareness campaigns.
These can be published regularly on the Internet, company intranet, newsletters and office premises.
Overall, building a powerful personal brand is not just for job seekers but for all of us. It defines ‘you’ – your values, belief, vision, key strengths, skills, passion and style of work. It highlights what makes you unique.
There is no one else who will manage and own our career; we have to take personal actions to define who we are.