What does personal brand mean to your business?
Personal branding is not just for job seekers. It can help people to propel themselves professionally too, with techniques such as blogging and social media.
But what does this mean for your business? Is it something you should embrace, or try to discourage? Below are some of the benefits and concerns you should consider before making your mind up.
Benefits of employees having a personal brand
- Show expertise – It is likely that your employees will want to be seen as an expert or thought leader in the industry and personal branding is a good way to establish this. In fact, personal branding could even encourage employees to develop their knowledge even further. Therefore, not only do you benefit from employees becoming more competent within their role, customers can benefit from their additional expertise too.
- Be trusted – It can be hard work building trust with your audience, but personal brands break down some of the barriers. This is because employees can appear more authentic than a corporate brand. This means employees may be trusted more by customers and will be able to build a better rapport. This can be especially useful for sales people.
- Be different to the competition – By allowing your employees to develop their personal brand, you may be giving your own business a competitive edge. Employees’ personal brands can bring lots of personality, which can help your business stand out from the crowd.
- Better morale – Employees can sometimes be left feeling like they’re just a line on the organisational chart. However, allowing employees to have a personal brand gives them some individuality and shows them that they do matter in your business. This feeling can lead to improved morale, productivity and staff retention.
- Build brand advocates – Whilst your marketing team may be busy running campaigns, creating posters and setting up advertising, your most valuable marketing tool could be right under your nose. If you have employees who have created their own personal brand, they may also be happy to share your business content and act as a brand advocate.
Concerns of employees having a personal brand
Despite there being a number of benefits to employees having their own personal brand, it’s important to also understand the other side of the coin:
- Time - Setting up and maintaining a personal brand does take time. It’s therefore important to understand when employees will be working on their personal brand and how it will fit around their existing workload.
- Legacy - It’s good that your employees are developing their own brand, but if they engage with your customers, it’s important to consider the impact it could have on your corporate brand and customer relationships if that employee leaves the company.
- Reputation - Another concern is that your brand reputation could be compromised. Although most of the time there won’t be any issues, accidents and grievances do happen. If something negative, inappropriate, or even inaccurate is said, this could unfortunately have a negative impact on your business brand. It’s therefore important to consider what your plan of action would be in this situation.
What is the next step?
If you’re happy to encourage employees to develop their personal brand, there are a number of ways you can manage the risks. Firstly, ensure that all employees understand the implications of their actions towards the corporate brand.
You could also look into ensuring every employee participates in training. This can help them to understand what personal branding is, how to effectively create a personal brand and how they can use it to support your business brand objectives.
Some businesses also consider putting a personal branding policy in place. This can outline what you think is appropriate in terms of personal branding. Ensure everyone understands the conditions and that the policy is enforced.
Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She discusses various subjects, including careers, business and social media. She is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years’ experience in the field. She has worked...