Lately at Blue Focus Marketing (@BlueFocus), we’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on the concept of employee branding and why it is an essential aspect of worker culture in the age of social business. In fact, in the coming weeks, we intend to continue to focus on employee branding, as it is an essential component in the social business culture we champion in our Amazon best-selling book, The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, 2013). On March 19, Blue Focus CEO Cheryl Burgess (@CKBurgess) will explore how personal branding relates to platform’s like Twitter in an upcoming webinar with Michael Idinopulos (@michaelido) of PeopleLinx (@PeopleLinx). And on May 10, I will explore how a strong sense of play is the cornerstone of personal branding in my upcoming TEDxNavasink Talk.
So what exactly is personal branding? Naturally, there are many aspects to it, but the underlying principle is that a social employee must cultivate a unique personal brand as part of the process of community building and networking in the digital bazaar. This must be not only an authentic representation of yourself, but also one that is complementary—but distinct—from the corporate brand of that person’s employer. Personal branding, then, allows social employees to distinguish themselves in a sometimes crowded and always competitive job market.
During the 2014 IBM Connect Conference, I had a chance to sit down with Peter Cardon (@PeterCardon), professor at USC Marshall, to discuss this and other aspects of personal branding and how it relates to social business. Click below to watch our conversation:
Cardon expanded on the points in our discussion in an article he wrote recently for the Huffington Post titled “To Build a Personal Brand With Social Media Takes Experimentation.” Of particular focus are two key concepts: (1) outbound marketing has largely yielded to inbound marketing, and (2) social employees seeking to build an effective personal brand must learn to play to their strengths. It’s important to consider these two ideas together, as understanding the former can lead to greater effectiveness in the latter.
Put another way, inbound marketing is all about communication, about building an authentic, two-way dialogue with whomever is on the other end of the conversation. At the end of the day, it’s all about brand ambassadorship. This dynamic has come to dominate social interactions online, and it can’t be easily faked. This is why it’s so important for social employees to play to their strengths when building a personal brand, especially when they’re first starting out.
Building won’t happen overnight, after all, so it’s important that early efforts feel like a comfortable, natural extension of oneself. Show the world what you’re all about when you’re taking care of business, and you will have taken a big step into the world of personal branding in the 21st century.
What are your experiences with personal branding? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.
“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” —JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand
The Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.
The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.
AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at
Movéo Integrated Branding, and a columnist for Fast Company and The Atlantic