Personal Branding at the company: Applications, pros and cons

I wrote this article in 2017 and I bring it up to date four years later. A lot has changed, and don't think that Covid19 has been the only trigger..

Here you will find the possibilities offered by the different personal branding programs in the company, your apps, pros and cons. At last, indicate what the profile of the consultant is / suitable trainer to carry out these programs.

If you're short on time, I'll sum it up for you in a minute:

The personal branding in the company: that great stranger

In Spain and some Latin American countries, the knowledge and development of this type of programs in the company is still very low.

The companies themselves are not responsible for this situation., we are the consultants and trainers in personal branding, that we have not been able to convey the advantages and return that organizations would obtain by including in their training and consulting plans applications derived from corporate branding or personal branding in the company (employee advocacy, executive branding, employer branding, online reputation, social selling, storytelling...).

For my part, I'm going to try to make amends for the mistake.

The origin of Personal Branding

Although the word "personal" leads us to think that it is a individual action, the first author to coin the expression "personal branding", Tom Peters, referred to personal branding as the empowering employees' personal branding and to discover their role as a intra-entrepreneurship in the company.

I mean, professionals understood as micro-companies (he calls it Me Inc., translated as Yo S.L.) with initiative and ability to go beyond their job functions in the creation of Value towards the stakeholders.

If the company is able to understand the sum of forces of that Self, Inc. in the organization, we would be talking about Personal Branding in the Company.

The development of Personal Branding

A few years after Peters coined the expression (was in 1997), literature around the management of personal brand disenged from the company and its advantages were associated -- uniquely and wrongly- independent professionals.

That has led associated that personal branding is an exercise to highlight the ego, something very far from reality.

The arrival of the web 2.0 and its influence on personal brand management

It is necessary to observe that although the Internet already existed in 1997, social and professional networks did not consolidate their presence until the end of the first decade of the 2000. There was a significant change: anyone could use -- for better or worse- the Internet medium to convey your message and, at best, Your value proposition.

Timidly markets started to be conversations and companies had to change Monologue (Advertising, Rr. Pp) to a permanent dialogue with their customers, Collaborators, Shareholders, influencers, Detractors. In short, stakeholders. That dialogue was a platform for blogs and social media.

Now the situation is much richer, complex and diverse thanks to the consolidation of live streaming platforms, Podcasts, audio rooms, and the strength of applications such as Telegram, Wechat, Whatsapp.

To that we add the current ease of generating newsletters, corporate blogs, and content marketing, the proliferation of social selling strategies. La Covid19, In addition, has brought us the consolidation of the webinar, of the online event (Congresses, Courses, Mentoring, workshops...).

Social networks themselves, on his side, become omni-channels, where direct communication with people is possible, free and live streaming, the creation of open or closed groups, creating events, the direct sale of products.

I can't forget Amazon, that has drastically changed personal marketing. It has achieved this by "democratizing" the possibility of publishing, to announce what has been published, to create internal SEM actions and to create and receive very valuable reviews for the personal brand.

Digital reputation

The importance of the digital reputation as a mechanism for monitoring and defending brand and business identity.

Organizations start creating and activating social media profiles to protect themselves from crises and attacks, but also as a means of parallel communication to traditional ones to translate the brand value.

Platforms such as Glassdoor, that barely had implantation outside the U.S. USA in 2017, are now the new "Trip Advisor of companies", where employees and former employees comment on their experience with the brand. This directly affects talent attraction actions, within the employer branding, as many candidates will back down before accepting an offer from a company with bad reviews on Glassdoor.

Two curious phenomena emerge:

1. At last crises are always solved by people with first and last names who are on the other end of the phone or computer. Reading: brands don't solve reputational problems, that's what people do.

2. Still today there are entrepreneurs who think that if their company does not have a profile on Facebook or TikTok or Twich they will get rid of attacks on that network. Let's call that. Naivety 2.0. The solution is not to be present on all social networks or blogs, it's about monitoring them and having a small army of "brand fans" – internal or external- who can talk to the detractors and establish a constructive dialogue. It's hard for brands to be assertive, But people can be.

Common mistakes in digital crisis management

A mistake of many companies and marketing and communication departments is believing that a community manager solves everything.

The community manager can monitor the network to find reputation issues, detect fans and influencers of the brand. You can share corporate messages across digital media.

You can make reports of monitoring and evolution of stakeholder trends in the digital environment. In some cases it may be a generator or curator of content. But you can't face a crisis on your own..

As Ivan Diaz says (Branzai) branding goes about problems, no solutions. It refers to our sick obsession with finding the solution rather than thoroughly studying the root of the problem.

Branding begins to impose itself on marketing

I do not want to put it in terms of warlike struggle between sides.. These are integrated concepts. Companies are still bescrated in creating marketing departments and CMO's (Chief Marketing Officer) when "the father" of the family is Branding.

The brand is something that exists in our heads, it is something simple and complex and requires different strategies to be created, maintain and strengthen. Within branding, For example, there's the marketing strategy, and also personal branding, among many others.

Entrepreneur: your people are your brand, don't hesitate. More and more we look for the human part of the brand, who is behind, what is its purpose, how he wants to make this world a better place and what values he will uphold to achieve it.

Not long ago I had a meeting with my colleague Luigi Centenaro, CEO of the consultan art Bigname and author of the Personal Branding Canvas. We both agree that the moment of personal branding is sweet, and that basically what we do is develop and enhance the business models of professionals so that they align better with the brands for which they work.

At what point is the personal branding now?

Between 2010 And 2021, many professionals have become aware of the importance of managing your brand. The crisis and Covid have helped, No doubt. Also the increased presence of personally branded consultants whose texts, methodologies and ideas have helped many people self-manage their brand.

From 2015, proliferate courses, workshops and talks around staff branding. Many of them, In addition, sponsored by public institutions, others by private entities, and others by business schools. In the wake of the Coronavirus, that supply has multiplied by a lot (although eye, it's not gold all that glitters).

In Spain, For example, excellent texts have been published, Books, blogs about it. I highlight the following books: And you, what brand are you? (Neus Arqués, Alienta), Expertology, Personal Brand for Dummies (Andrés Pérez Ortega, Alienta), The Challenge (Paul Adam), Brand is you (Eva Collado Durán, Rasche), Get out of here (Xavi Roca, Header Books), A coffee with Chan (Ami Bondia), The map of your talent (Arancha Ruiz), Your professional brand (Fabian Gonzalez, Platform), I'm ready (Raquel Gomez, Connects) the collection of ebooks of Soymimarca And, if you'll let me, the book If you don't contribute, you don't matter (Guillem Recolons, Rasche).

You have a monograph on books and ebooks in the post Books to effectively manage your personal brand.

At the dawn of this little hatch, appears on the Intrusion. It's common.. Fake personal brand gurus emerge, who call themselves experts but who haven't even had the decency to read a book on the subject or take care of their own brand. The classic format of intrusiveness often comes from the hand of the Experts multi-level and self-styled Experts in digital personal brand.

The personal branding seems to be at a good time. But there's an audience that's reluctant to adopt it: companies. There are several reasons: Fear (of the empower to employees and to march), Ignorance (it's the norm), and what I call "Toxic transversality". I mean, the application of staff branding in the company affects three major departments: Communication, human resources, Commercial (and therefore, to the general direction). And here come the problems who should pilot the personal branding programs? The syndrome "that's from another department, it is not my competence" is imposed. Dangerous inaction where there are.

The 3P purpose

Before we discuss the seven applications of personal branding in a company, I think it is necessary to explain something important as a precondition for implementing them.

  • Refrain from companies without a defined purpose and associated action plan
  • Nor does it apply to companies with a false purpose., of the style "to be leaders in..."
  • Nor for companies that hide social harm and harm to people in the form of CSR or CSR policies of pure makeup
  • And neither for companies that, even if they have defined a great purpose and plan of action, they treat their people like abandoned dogs:
    • Lack of conciliation, flexible hours, absence of teleworking, poverty wages, temporary contracts, lack of training plan, lack of continuous and reciprocal feedback, toxic managers, lack of promotional plan, lack of business vision, curbing diversity and inclusion, overtime...

I know I just left many organizations off the personal branding business game board.. They are the same ones that no candidate would want to work on them..

The 3 P's respond to People, Planet, Benefits. I know, that would be PPB, that's why I write it in English - I think we all understand it.- in the form of People, Planet, Profit. And the order is this, exactly this.

  1. People: Without it there are no companies, they are his soul and they are his brand. They are the center, both those who work with the brand and those who enjoy it.
  2. Planet: Without it there are no people, is our framework of coexistence, and we are obligated – people and institutions- to take care of him, to avoid wear and tear and, if possible,- to replace the damage. I advise watching the documentary "A life on our Planet" by David Attenborough -Netflix-.
  3. Benefits. Without them there are no companies, people... nor planet. Companies cannot do without profits, within the framework of the conscious capitalism and business ethics.

Personal branding applications in the enterprise

The different types of program that can be adopted from personal branding in the company have a quadruple beneficiary, on the one hand Company and its corporate brands, on the other' Professional organization, and on the other the people who make up the Market, and finally investors and Shareholders.

I briefly define each of the 7 Disciplines:

  • Executive Branding: the reinforcement of the first spokespersons, the drivers. the makers of change
  • Online reputation: the valuation of the digital footprint of the people who run the organization
  • Personal Branding: Employee empowerment, always in alignment with corporate purpose and values.
  • Brand Ambassadors: (Employee Advocacy), the new communication of trust between the brand and its markets
  • Social Selling: the improvement in the conversion of sales thanks to social networks, applications and other online applications
  • Employer Branding: the internal and external empowerment of the brand with the focus on its professionals and candidates
  • Storytelling: The best way to explain the purpose, values, the products, services, the history of the brand...

Executive Branding

I put it first, because they are the spokespersons that can offer greater credibility and because without them none of the applications of Personal Branding Company is viable.

Basically, the executive branding it's about programs individual consultancy made to company executives. It's the best possible start, as managers become aware of managing their brand in symbiosis with the organization's corporate brands.

When the mindset is created from above and flows to the rest of the company it is operational. The reverse is useless.

Here I leave you articles to deepen the subject:

Personal reputation online

I wrote at the beginning that measuring the online reputation of the corporate brand is vital and many companies already do it.. But today it is equally or more important to measure the online reputation of its managers, something that is closely linked to the previous point of Executive branding. The difference is that it is not a one-off consultancy but a permanent service.

It's about, therefore, of a monthly tracking service that can be done by the organization itself if it has the tools, or you can hire a agency or a Personal Branding professional.

To deepen:

Personal branding (or personal brand management)

These are workshops of different durations (ideally one to two days) where professionals (intermediate commands, senior managers...) they become aware of what brand they project on their peers, Heads, clients..., analyze your business model, Message, and discover the possibilities of personal communication, both in internal media (key aspect) as external.

Although personal contact is ideal, after Covid19 these training programs are often carried out online in approx 6 To 8 blocks of maximum 2h each.

Employee Advocacy (Brand ambassadors)

The Employee Advocacy, also known as Employee Branding, Internal Brand Ambassadors Or Advocate Branding. These are mixed training and consulting programs to project the employee's brand in parallel to the corporate brand, reinforcing the communication actions of the company and its brands.

Turn employees (only voluntarily) in the best influencers brands the organization. Well-used, these programs include techniques social selling for measurable results in improving confidence, media exposure and sales.

The principle that governs these programs is the People trust people (people trust people) And Your People are your Brand (your professionals are your brand).

To deepen:

Social Selling

Yes, today the customers of companies are also digital, each in their own way. And not take advantage of this opportunity at a time when online sales are 24×7, multi-channel and global is a shame. There's more, Today, the sale does not sleep.

Social Selling is a mixed training and consulting program that includes a part of training in personal branding and improvement of the online profiles of commercials. And the other is protocol, sales tools and funnels always starting from a format based on high-quality content.

To find out more:

Employer Branding (employer brand)

Those of Employer Branding are consulting programs that pursue two main objectives: On the one hand, fall in love or retain internal talent. On the other hand, once in love with the intern (And not before), comes the recruitment of external talent based on the projection of the values of the brand, the working climate in the company, testimonies of experiences (storytelling).

They act like Pull, are part of a philosophy inbound Marketing. A candidate will prefer to work in a company"Best place to work" or well valued in Glassdoor than in another that offers better economic conditions.

To deepen:

Storytelling or corporate storytelling

The programs Storytelling have as a central objective to improve the ability to connect the brand to the people who make up the market.

Although they are Branding consulting programs, it is also about training to improve the communication skills of business professionals.

At the most corporate level, work on key elements such as the history of the organization, its purpose or raison d'ies, your values, mission and what gives meaning to the work of its professionals, the EPV or Employer Value Proposition.

On a personal and formative level, the story is developed around the Employee Value Proposition or value proposition of each professional, and 6 personal presentation stories.

To find out more:

Advantages of Personal Branding in the company

Humanization of brands

The more technology advances, more we need to hear a human voice. People trust people with first and last names, flesh and blood, with a unique story behind it, with a face and a voice that conveys proximity.

A corporate blog without personal signatures is not a blog, it's a news section 1.0 unable to connect emotionally with the audience it is addressing.

The claim of The Human Branding is: More Human Brands, More Digital People. This is the pending issue of companies and people, who need this exchange of skills to achieve perfect communication.

Building trust (or regain lost confidence)

We know thanks to the excellent work of Edelman and his annual barometer Edelman Trust that the big bosses of companies do not inspire confidence. On the other, our peers, people like us, technical profiles and academic profiles inspire us confidence.

The graph of 2021 shows how the credibility vector of a person like us is important, as are the profiles of technical expert and regular worker.

Despite the fact that in 2021 there has been a drastic drop in credibility, professionals with a technical profile (D, product & brand management, Commercial, project managers...) are the maximum vectors of trust of organizations.

Alignment of values (corporate and personal) in one voice

One of the advantages of training programs in personal branding in the company is that they help brands and employees put their values on the table and analyze coincidences and affinities.

It is important that corporate statements (Vision, Mission, Values) are not written in a way that is alien to professionals who will support the company's brands. In the same way, it's important for employees to internalize their role as brand spokespersons and understand very well where their business is headed and each of the brands.

In an article I wrote a few years ago on the blog of Soymimarca, detailed the three essential steps to implement a personal branding program in the company:

  1. Promoting self-awareness and personal identity (personal branding) among employees
  2. Making internal brand knowledge a priority (Corporate Branding)
  3. Connecting the personal and the corporate

Amplification Message

What would a company's communication director think if he told him that thanks to his employees he can multiply the scope of his trademark messages sixfold? I'm sure I'm lying. But for my download, the data are published in The Excellent Book by Cheryl and Mark Burgess The social employee. The text relates real-world cases of companies such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, Dome, or Acxiom in its social media plans shared with its employees as brand ambassadors.

Far from seeing your professionals as a threat to corporate communication plans, they see them as allies in a quid pro quo employees to internally and externally reinforce their professional recognition, your personal brand.

This was the particular topic I dealt with in the TEDx talk."Small Data, people's power", on which it based the strength of the company connection / market to the employee VALUES connection / VALUES OF stakeholders. Something I call Superpowers.

Help in crisis settings

I'll leave something clear to avoid misunderstandings: managing an internal crisis is the responsibility of Communication, Vice presidency, protocol... And not the employees.

Clarified this point, who can best Support to the company in a crisis management are human persons as maximum generators of trust and credibility.

In this excerpt from an academic article entitled "Employees: The key link to corporate reputation management" the importance of employees in crisis management is already glimpsed.

I have worked in brand ambassador programs for medical centers, companies in the industrial sector, pharmacist... and the results in crisis management effectiveness after a brand ambassador workshop are spectacular.

Talent retention

It is clear that a committed employee will be more impervious to external proposals for change than one who is not. More than retention I prefer to call it "conviction of talent". The Anglo-Saxons call it lasting power, but whatever expression defines it, we're talking about motivation, illusion, shared project, participation in the future and decision-making, involvement.

Attracting talent

If the people of the house are happy, the effect will be like beauty, that is transmitted from the inside out. A candidate who receives an offer or who applies for a company will have a priority before money: know if those inside are okay. And if so, attracting that new talent is easier.

That's why it's important for the organization to encourage public feedback on social or employment platforms like Glassdoor..

Differentiation

I'm the first to argue that the difference is nothing if we don't bind it to relevance. But the personal branding in the company makes a brand different from its competitors.

Although it may seem utopian, a brand is also imbued with the values of the people who drive it. I don't like to use famous people, but to illustrate the case will help us: Amazon carries DNA Jeff Bezos, one of the world's top-rated CEOs and one of the biggest drivers of personal branding.

Blaise James, a strategic brand consultant from Gallup, concludes in an interview called "The Value of Personal Branding" (2009) the following:

"Private label employees are self-sufficient and more innovative. They're problem solvers, and are thoroughly committed to the corporate brand"

Networking

The principle that we can all connect takes life with personal branding in the company. The role of the networking to the management team, board of directors and business team. But with a program duly applied the contacts will also arise from the conversation that employees project.

My colleague Ricard Pons holds - and I agree with you- that we all sell. Nuance: Sell, But we don't sell. We sell the products and services we offer, we feel comfortable with, Aligned.

El plan B

What if the company was forced to close for financial problems, Legal...? The implementation of personal branding programs will provide the professionals of that organization with self-knowledge skills, Self, Entrepreneurship, and communication to perform better in a crisis scenario.

Disadvantages of Personal Branding in the company

Where there are advantages there are also disadvantages. And the Personal Branding at the company it's no stranger. Here I detail the most relevant:

Mindset (mentalization)

He's the N1 public enemy of Personal Branding. These types of programs must be started from above and down to be effective.

Let's imagine that among the recommendations of an external consultant, figure the launch of a corporate social network (Type Yammer). If there is no involvement of the managers, it will always be grumpy that an employee is putting a Like in a commentary on the internal social network.

The big problems of lack of use of these resources are given by the lack of positive mentality on the part of the "bosses", who only value these types of communication channels as a waste of time.

Not immediate return

The Managers today are essentially short-termists. No investment is raised if the return is not fast. I don't blame them.. But the programs personal branding in the company they're not the joker's rabbit.

They require several phases: mindset, Structure, define the people who will carry out the program, formations, implement action plans, measure results and improve the worst-rated areas.

ROI is not an investment in machinery for a sausage factory. The competitions Soft -and the personal branding is- generally have a positive but slower return than that of the Hardware.

The advantage of ROI is that good consultants will choose the most likely professionals to develop personal branding programs. This not only speeds up the implementation, but guarantees its success and subsequent internal dissemination.

Resources

The idea associated with the personal branding in the company it's cost. It rarely poses as a amortized investment. The fact that a program of Employee Advocacy can help reduce the marketing budget will be well seen by Human Resources, but not by Marketing. With the church we have stumbled.

Very vertical organizations will hardly manage to agree on a personal branding implementer in the company. Or the role is held by the general leadership, or personal branding programs will be "archived" in the trash.

Talent Leak

Many managers I've spoken to say that staff branding can contribute to the talent run. It is not easy to convince them that those who will escape are those who do not receive any training or mentoring.

It's not easy to convince them that as Gallup's manager says, self-branded professionals are more committed to the company.

Who can implement Personal Branding programs in organizations

To finish, some tips for any company that encourages them to implement such programs.

  1. Consultants / trainers must project a strong personal brand, both offline and online, and be recognized by the market as specialists. A personal brand teacher with little personal branding can mentor. In this sense, I invite you to read the post A personal brand teacher with no personal brand? that led to some controversy. In Spain, For example, there are some 15 professionals who would meet this requirement. In Latin America, near 30 Professional.
  2. Consultants / trainers must have experience in consulting and training in comprehensive branding staff. And with integral I mean that they don't just have Skills related to social media, or only with strategy or introspection techniques. They must be able to treat everything. The personal branding process is an iceberg, that requires a lot of submerged part for the emerging to shine.
  3. Consultants / trainers must have experience as employees and managers in organizations. Otherwise it will be difficult for them to understand their client's problems or to assess and quantify the opportunity of implementing the programs.

I hope I have helped clarify a little the essential role of the personal branding in the company (personal brand management in organizations). Much more needs to be done, but the first thing is to break down barriers.

If you want download this article at Pdf, here's the link. If you want a Infographic free which sums up what was treated, here it is:

I hope you liked this explanation about Personal Branding in the Company, I'll wait for you next week, and in the meantime here's the podcast, something more complete, In iVoox, Spotify, Apple Podcast And Google Podcast.

Stock Photos from IIIerlok_xolms, Master 1305, Lightspring, Aris-Tect Group, Fizkes, Zerbor / Shutterstock

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23 thoughts on "Personal Branding at the company: Applications, pros and cons”

  1. Dear Guillem
    I got this article by a contact from Linkedin. Congratulations on this manual on the application of personal brand in the company. There's not much material about it., and I was expecting something like that so I could consider some of the programs at the company.
    Very grateful. Sofia.

    Reply
    • Thank you Sofia! Maybe the “Manual” it's a little exaggerated, but it is a good snack to know the possibilities of the branding staff in the environment of the organizations. A greeting!

      Reply
  2. I found the article very interesting. I have a small export business and I am always in the search for information that will help me to broaden my horizons and your writing has been inspiring.

    Reply
  3. One of the big problems I had when trying to increase my branding staff at the company where I labured until before the pandemic was the threat I caused my boss… very complicated to look more active in networks like LinkedIn and for the owner of the company to look more at one than the bosses. Thank you for sharing, it's always good to read you Master.

    Reply

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