Personal Branding for Personnel in a Social Business
Strategic Personal Branding Architecture for Social Businesses…
The decline of the traditional career means your team’s personal branding is a priority.
Major changes in our personal careers, business models and employment expectations means we have seen a rise of powerful personal brands among top company team members. This has been driven by a desire for greater autonomy and personal recognition and accomplishment, as well as to protect against increasingly uncertain jobs and careers.
This poses a real challenge for companies, as a stand out employee is not only prone to predation by competitors, but they are more likely to pursue their own business opportunities.
So what is the question, should we avoid training, promoting and branding our team and keep them so mediocre that they never have the opportunity or inclination to leave?
What if I train them and they leave?
What if you don’t train them and they stay?
Getting the balance right will depend on the individual company and employee, but with the inevitable rise of social business, doing nothing is not an option. If you don’t drive your team’s professional development and training, including in these critical areas of digital literacy, identity, branding and publishing, then they will be doing it themselves or seeking out other opportunities.
Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not a strategy.
Ignoring inevitable changes to business is not a winning strategy. Companies that fail to manage change are like frogs in a pot on the stove. Everything seems OK, everyone seems happy, until danger is imminent. By the time things are uncomfortable enough to change it can be too late.
A proactive approach to personnel branding.
Influential brands approaches the challenge of personnel branding with an attitude of opportunity.
While most companies are pushing company branding and shallow social engagement, influential brands are leveraging star power across all levels of their organisation. They pay the same amount of effort and attention to building the brand, credibility and authority of their whole team as they do to their top products, senior employees and primary company brand.
The potential results:
- A team of empowered, superstar performers who WANT to be part of a company as progressive as this.
- A reputation with customers for having the best people.
- A reputation among colleagues as being a top employer – people WANT to join your company. This drives employee retention. Do you think your team will want to leave a company that others are competing to get into?
- Improved business performance as a result of better internal communication and commitment.
- Synergistic brand building of all team members, management, company and product brands – the endorsement of team members becomes more valuable when the team members are an influential brand unto themselves.
- An atmosphere and culture of innovation, cooperation, trust and productivity.
A great example of this is Google authorship. Google now ascribes content to individual authors and tracks and ranks that content over time. It even displays the author’s photo next to the content in Google search results offering great improvements in click through rate, credibility and rapport for the author.
Many companies are not very concerned about this. They don’t really want an employee showing in Google search results while they work there, but what about when they leave? Most employers would be reluctant to promote ex-employees. The result is a less than enthusiastic uptake of this important trend in the organisation and attribution of information.
So in this situation we have millions of businesses who are missing out on an important way of getting more clients and building their relationship with them because: they can’t be bothered; it’s a bit messy; attribution is difficult; and they don’t want to risk promoting their employees, especially if they might leave.
Imagine instead a company that took a different attitude. For instance, rather than ignoring Google authorship, it made sure that all key employees produced content. That is, not only on the company website but on industry news sites, public forums and social media.
Which company do you think would do better in the social business stakes? Is this something that would be hard to do? Do you think it would help equip employees for an increasingly social and digital future?
You bet it would! So that is why we should be serious about developing and leveraging the personal brand of your personnel. In the next post, we’ll discuss how to build the personal brand of your team.