Since Tom Peters first coined the expression Personal Branding in 1997 in a Fast Company article, there has been more and more hype around the concept and new terms such as career branding, employee branding personal mission statement, have seen the light of day. Mostly the discussion and application of Personal Branding is focused on how to obtain a new job or how to build a career for one-self. For that reason, when corporate and personal brands are discussed together the focus is mainly on topics such as Managing the conflict between a personal brand and a corporate brand.
In this article we will discuss the other side of the story, how working with personal branding can enhance the corporate brand. Let us look at a few different situations where the personal brand is supporting the corporate brand:
THE EXECUTIVE TEAM
Personal branding is all about having a clear identity for your own brand as well as being able to communicate in a manner that the recipient will accept and relate to your brand identity. If you are a member of the executive team, then being clear about your values and passions and how to communicate to different target audiences, will help you build a more loyal team that has a clear image of how you are.
This way of working with the personal brand will not only strengthen the corporate brand to the employees, but also to other stakeholders of the company.
THE SALES MEETING
The sales representatives are one of the most active communication channels for the company, and are very sensitive of how the brand is perceived. The same is true with the executives, the personal brand of the person is extremely important. Does the sales person believe in the same values as the company and the products? In what ways do they differ and how can we work with them in a conscious way. Imagine a sales representative for a company working with eco-transportation, showing up to a meeting with a sports car or SUV. Imagine a sales representative for a consultancy firm saying that she doesn’t believe in the methods the company uses.
The personal brand, the image that the person communicates should be aligned with the corporate identity.
Showing the personal brands, the values, beliefs and the passions of current employees is a great way of attracting new employees with the right mindsets. This could be done by storytelling on the website, in folders or sending the right persons that are aware of their personal brand to student fairs. Make sure that the personal brands that you put out there are aligned with the positions you are recruiting for, and keep in mind that different profiles can be positive to the creative environment and the development of the company.
This way of working with the personal brand is also very useful when attending trade fairs or different networking events.
With the development of social media, the consumer is demanding more personal service and that the companies are getting more personal. Working with the personal brands alongside company values will not only strengthen the relationship with customers on a more personal level, but will also create a consciousness about status updates and messages that seem harmless but can be hurtful to the brand. If you repeatedly see that your friend at the big lawyer firm posts “Off to another boring meeting” every now and then, your idea of the company will change over time into thinking that the company is boring, even if it is not even mentioned in the post. If that person instead would post “Off to another meeting about patent infringement”, then your idea of the company would probably change towards that they have a lot of experience of patent infringements.
These are just a few examples of how the personal brand can add value to corporate brands if used in a conscious and correct manner. If you have any other situations or thoughts, please add them to the comments for further discussion.
This post was originally posted in the Superbrands blog.