A New Year and Introducing Personal Branding to the Skeptical

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Happy New Year to everyone. Creating Your Name Brand has really progressed into a dialog about how we can improve ourselves and how we can self market ourselves to improve our careers, fame, and name. Yesterday, I received a skeptical post regarding why personal branding was important. I thought it was very fitting. After all, most of the conversation I host is directed to those already looking to improve marketability rather than those who don’t know what it is, why it is important, etcetera.

Scott M’s Question:

I’m a bit skeptical on this ‘Personal Branding’ stuff. Sure, maybe it makes sense if you are a music celebrity like 50-cent, or a CEO, or an entrepreneur who is selling his idea to the venture capitalist.But what about regular working stiffs? Seriously, when you are just performing regular daily office work, and aren’t looking to be promoted or strike out on your own, does ‘personal branding’ make sense?
Adam Salamon:
Hi Scott,Thanks for participating in the conversation. There are a few reasons why Personal Branding makes a lot of sense for regular folks, especially during this day and age.First to recap, Personal Branding is branding yourself like a good company would brand themselves or their products. Innovate and improve the product while getting as many people as possible to know about you and what you offer.While at first glance, this may seem most appropriate for celebrities, but the application to us regulars is actually very important.Those reasons include the fact that global competition is becoming more fierce than ever. Yes, if you have a comfy job, you may be less worried about the market place, but the new employee has to stick out. There are thousands and thousands of marketers, salesmen, musicians, etc. Personal Branding helps those people improve their skills while helping get the word out that you offer the skills you do.
Second is the fact that job stability isn’t what it used to be. While you may think you will have your job forever, technology is changing faster than ever and employers are showing less employee loyalty. My friend Scot Herrick who writes at http://www.cuberules.com was very skeptical of Personal Branding at first. I explained to him my definition of Personal Branding and how it made sense to “Apple” yourself. He recently was part of Washington Mutual’s layoffs, but I have full confidence that his blog and personal branding efforts will land him in the right place.

Lastly, to address your comments, I’d like to ask you how 50 Cent became 50 Cent? How did the CEO get appointed CEO? It wasn’t an accident. They rose to where they are by consistently improving their product and by mass communicating what they were offering to their respective audiences. How they communicate that value proposition differs from the Fortune 500 Executive to 50 Cent, but the principles are the same and understanding those principles can help you get to the place you want to be.

Even if you only want to continue your job and not move up or down, I’d highly suggest implementing some of these lessons so that you can at least mitigate some of the risk associated with being replaced, laid-off, or looked over.

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3 thoughts on “A New Year and Introducing Personal Branding to the Skeptical

  1. At a simplistic level, every person in an office has a perception about them and their work. So Personal Branding can be as simple as “how is my work perceived?” and “how do I want my work perceived?” going forward.

    The answer to the question of how one’s work is perceived is a personal brand. Even with a “cushy” job, that would be an important question to answer as it will affect future pay raises and promotions.

    In addition, every manager looks at their people and tries to understand their talents. What it is about them that they bring to the job so that they can both fit in and provide unique value. They do this because they need to figure out how to distribute the work and make their goals.

    Wouldn’t it be much easier for them to understand your talents if you already knew them, figured out how they provide value to the work place and you had already articulated this brand to your manager?

    In a world of corporate churn, getting things done faster often means ramping up in a heartbeat rather than taking months of figuring out who does what and knowing how well they do it. By knowing and articulating your brand, you can ramp up quickly, are more likely to get the right kinds of work that fit into your strengths and get things done faster.

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  2. Scot,

    Excellent commentary. Managers often make quick snap shots of their employees “talent”. If you’re not proactive about your perception and your skills, your image, expectations, and execution can often be distorted.

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  3. I can appreciate the idea of branding. I just think that the ordinary worker’s skills are too commoditized to be “branded”.

    Really now, is everyone ‘special’? In a word…no. I know I’m not.

    I don’t have a blog. I’m not flashy. I don’t have grand plans or grand ideas that I pitch to executives. I just do my job and do it well.

    The only thing I have going for me at work is my experience with the current systems and business processes. As long as I keep up-to-date, and don’t cause more trouble than it is to train someone new, I’ll have a job.

    I don’t think this is fancy enough to call ‘branding’, but I could be wrong.

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