How personal branding benefits your company brand (Part 1)
Businesses today have it tough. As soon as you develop something new – a competitive premise or a product/ service that will set you apart from your competitors – your rivals all copy you and that competitive advantage is quickly lost.
My point is that your competitive advantage as a company is not sustainable because other companies will always change the ballpark by catching up or even overtaking you.
How then should companies differentiate themselves and their brands? I believe that by focusing on assisting your employees to brand and market themselves as individuals you will be able to give your organisation a sustainable competitive advantage.
Ever since the financial crises of Worldcom and Enron, people have increasingly lost confidence in corporations. They tend to trust individuals more. That’s why I bank with a certain bank – not because I think they offer me something wildly more impressive than any other bank would, but because I trust my personal banker and when I think of my bank, she is the person who springs to mind. It is her personal brand that ensures I trust my bank’s brand.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that the success of your company is based on the impact that individuals have in developing and marketing their personal brands. We are all branded, whether we like it or not. If an employee doesn’t take responsibility for their personal brand and marketing it effectively, others will do it for them. This is what really sets one employee apart from another who may have similar qualifications and experience. It’s what often makes companies hire one candidate over the other.
It’s key to note that while an employee’s personal brand must align with his or her company’s brand in terms of values, they are not the same thing. A company’s most effective employees tend to be those who share the company’s brand values but have also developed and learned to market their own personal brands, which enable these people to be memorable, build great reputations and build long-lasting, authentic business relationships.