Throughout the year, I monitor what's happening in the world of personal branding. At year's end, I analyze the data to predict future trends. My take on 2014? It will be a year of personal branding evolution—not revolution.
Of course, evolution is the key to survival, especially in our competitive international marketplace. Here's the first installment of an article on trends that will have the most impact on the brand that's you.
1. Social Access at Work—From Restricted to Required
Many companies have been reluctant to allow employees access to social media while at the office. In fact, according to a study by Statista released in September 2013, one in five US employees are not allowed access to Facebook, one in six aren't allowed access to Twitter, and one in ten aren't even allowed access to LinkedIn. YouTube and other sites are also restricted at many companies. It would be almost impossible for you to do your job as a marketer at such a company.
Over the past year, however, I have seen numerous companies loosen their restrictions or eliminate them entirely, and that trend will accelerate in 2014—for two reasons:
- First, companies realize they are losing the war. They can block social media sites from corporate infrastructure, but they can't prevent employees from using their mobile devices to tweet, check in on Facebook, and update their LinkedIn status.
- Second, they understand that employees need social media to do their job—because every employee is a brand ambassador.
2. Social Savvy—From Optional to Essential
If you don't have social media skills, your personal brand will wither up. Period. Social media is no longer simply a lighthearted, youth-oriented way to differentiate yourself. Adopted by virtually every demographic segment, social media is now perhaps the most powerful tool in your competitors' suite of marketing tactics.
Most employees, regardless of their role or generation, will be expected to participate in their organization's social branding efforts. As a marketer, social media savvy is even more important for you.