Why Training Your Employees on Personal Branding is Good PR
[By Jason Mollica]
Personal branding has been considered a topic of debate since the advent of social media. Just a few years ago, the former CEO of Ogilvy said personal branding is “plastic.” Yes, there are those who believe that the term is more social-networking style rather than substance. However, a strong personal brand can actually enhance and grow a company internally and externally.
In most cases, companies and brands don’t understand that building the brand of their employees is just as important as building the brand of the company itself.
Let’s flash back a bit, though. Before social networking was even on the minds of people like Mark Zuckerberg or Dick Costello, personal branding was, in fact, on the minds of career developers and business leaders. In the August 1997 issue of Fast Company, an article explored the evolution of career development as the new millennium approached.
Tom Peters stated that instead of relying on a company for career guidance, it is up to the individual to take ownership of the brand called “you.” The new term, personal branding, called for everyone to become a free agent, in a sense, which, at the time, not everyone bought into. If you wanted to build your brand, it required an individual to get coverage in a newspaper, speak at a conference, or take part in a networking event. Peters prophesized that an individual does not “belong to” any company for life, and said person’s affiliation isn’t to a particular function, or job title and description.
In 2016, social media has been a key tool to building an effective and vibrant global personal brand. This is why the building and maintenance of a personal brand is essential to PR growth. If you want the best out of your brand, you need to embrace these four pillars: Trust, Honesty, Transparency, and Responsibility.
Without trust, your brand will not survive. Being honest about the expectations of your brand means never overselling something you aren’t able do, or be something you can’t. When it comes to transparency, it means there is no way someone can look at you and not know who you are or what you represent. The last pillar, responsibility, highlights the importance of what you do on social networks, blogs, and websites. It should be handled with great responsibility. You have the power to enact change as well as lead with these tools. Use them smartly and wisely.
At the end of the day, your personal brand needs to be real and have passion. If you can’t or don’t want to be real, you are wasting your time. Your brand will be fake. It’s harder to correct your brand than it is to be real from the start. Remember, people gravitate toward passion. If you aren’t passionate about the work you do – or if you try to fake it – those you lead will pick up on it immediately, especially in PR. To truly inspire others and establish yourself as an expert, you have to love what you do. The drive to be the best is fueled by passion. Without it, you may tend to view your work or activities as something you have to do, rather than something you get to do.