Personal Branding at the company: Applications, pros and cons

In this brief I address the possibilities offered by the different personal branding programs in the company, your apps, pros and cons. At last, indicate what is the consultant profile / suitable trainer to carry out these programs.

The personal branding in the company: that great stranger

In Spain and some Latin American countries, the development of such programs in the company is testimonial. 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…).

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

The development of Personal Branding

A few years after Peters coined the expression (was in 1998), literature around the management of personal brand disenged from the company and its advantages were associated -- uniquely and wrongly- independent professionals.

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

It should be noted that although the Internet already existed at that time, social and professional networks did not consolidate their presence until the end of the first decade 2000. There was a significant change: anyone could use -- for better or worse- the Internet environment to vehicular your message and 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.

Digital reputation

Emerges 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.

Two curious phenomena occur:

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

2. There are still entrepreneurs today who think that if your company doesn't have a Facebook profile, they're going to 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, is in controlling them and having a small army of “fans of the brand” -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.

Putting a community manager it's not the solution

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 he can't face a crisis on his 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.

At what point is the personal branding now?

Between 2010 And 2015 many professionals have become aware of the importance of managing your brand. The crisis has helped, No doubt. Also the increased presence of personally branded consultants whose texts, methodologies and ideas have helped many people self-manage their brand (with or without mentors).

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 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), Expertology, Personal Brand for Dummies (Andrés Pérez Ortega), The Challenge (Paul Adam), Brand is you (Eva Collado Durán), Get out of here (Xavi Roca), A coffee with Chan (Ami Bondia), The map of your talent (Arancha Ruiz), Your professional brand (Fabian Gonzalez) And, sweeping home, the entire collection of ebooks Soymimarca (7 so far).

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 personal brand 2.0.

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 (to promote employees and to leave), 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's not my competence” prevails. Dangerous inaction where there are.

Personal branding applications in the enterprise

Personal branding applications in the enterprise
Vector by Shuterstock.com

The different types of programs that can be adopted personal branding in the company have a triple beneficiary, on the one hand Company and its corporate brands, on the other' Professional organization and on the other the other Market. Without understanding this principle quid pro quo it's impossible to move forward.

Executive Branding

Term coined by the specialist William Arruda. 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.

Personal brand training

It's about Workshops of different duration (ideally one to two days) where professionals (intermediate commands, senior managers…) they become aware of what brand they project on their peers, Heads, Customers…, analyze your business model, Message, and discover the possibilities of personal communication, both in internal media (key aspect) as external.

Employee Advocacy (employee's brand)

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 the one coined by Arruda Your People are your Brand (your professionals are your brand).

Employer Branding (employer brand)

They are external talent recruitment programs based on the projection of the brand's values, 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” than in another that offers you better economic conditions.

Advantages of Personal Branding in the company

Humanization of brands

Brands need to be humanizedThe 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 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.

People attract us. My colleague Fran Segarra, humanizer where there are, often refers to the pareidolia as a psychological phenomenon in which we tend to identify human faces in objects or in nature. On Instagram this phenomenon is followed by the hashtag #Iseefaces, that adds up to more than 450.000 Images.

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.

Confidence recovery
Edelman Trust Graphic 2019 translated by Guillem Recolons

The graph shows how a person's credibility vector like us (someone like you) is important, so are the profiles of technical expert and employee.

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 Soymimarca's blog entitled How to transform employees into brand ambassadors, detailed the three essential steps to implement a program employee advocacy:

  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 issue I dealt with at the TED “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. But clarified this aspect, who can best Support to the company in crisis management are human people as the highest generators of trust and credibility.

In this excerpt from an academic paper entitled “Employees: The key link to corporate reputation management” the importance of employees in crisis management is already being entrefied.

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.

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.

Differentiation in the Personal Branding in the company
Vector by Shutterstock.com

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

“Own-branded employees are self-sufficient and more innovative. They're problem solvers, and are fully committed to the corporate brand”

Networking

The principle that we can all connect takes life with company branding staff. 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 the 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 non-use of these resources are given by a lack of positive mindset on the part of “Heads”, 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 “Archived” in the trash can.

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.
  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.

I have a detailed program on how to implement the personal branding in the company. And the best, I have team support from some of the best consultants and trainers in personal branding. The decision is yours.

 

If you want to discard this article in Pdf, here's the Link. If you want a Infographic free which sums up what was treated, here you can download it.

Faces image by Shutterstock.com

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About me Guillem Recolons

Convinced that everything leaves a mark, I help companies better connect with their stakeholders through personal branding programs (personal brand management) and employee advocacy (programs of branded internal ambassadors).

Soymimarca Partner, Integrates Personal Branding and The Human Branding, I also collaborate with Ponte en Valor, Brandergizers, MoreThanLaw, Noema Consulting, AdQualis and QUIFER Consultants.

I participate in various programs at IESE, ISDI and EAE, UPF's Social Media Graduate and UVIC, among others. Collegiate advertising, Master in Marketing. Humanities Degree Student.

My advertising DNA comes from 20 years in agencies: Time/BBDO, J.W.T., Bassat Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Altraforma and TVLowCost among others.

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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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