Ever since Tom Peters laid out a modern "personal branding" road map in Fast Company in the late 1990s, the concept has been in full swing. The revelation was that we could be an individual powerhouse, separate from the corporate umbrella.
So much has happened since: blogging, social media, the advent of online video, and the explosion of content marketing.
Nevertheless, nearly two decades later, most companies require a strict separation of business communication and personal branding, with the job of social interaction relegated to a few chosen spokespeople or PR handlers.
Meanwhile, those brands are missing out on the collective connections and expertise of the very people they've hired to be a crucial part of their team. But all that is about to change. Those who fail to embrace the empowered individual brand will miss out on the positive impact that employee advocacy has to offer.
Like most marketers, I spend a lot of time trying to do more with less. Lately, though, I've become more aware that I'm surrounded by a team of super-smart professionals who were recruited and hired because they can add value to our startup. This realization got me thinking about what it means to empower the individual brand in concert with a company mission.
I found lots of great examples, such as IBM; its 300,000 employees are encouraged to share and publish online, and MarketingProfs, where individual subject-matter experts are invited to share with and teach an audience they may not have been able to reach without the power of the community. That is what building a brand is all about: mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their members.
To explore this topic further, I recently collaborated with online powerhouse and fellow MarketingProfs contributor Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative to create "The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding" (see the infographic, below)—to help people and companies dive into the wonderful world of personal branding.
If you haven't incorporated personal branding into your marketing strategy by now, you're missing out on a world of value that your team is more than willing to contribute.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with personal branding, what's worked for you, and what challenges you've faced. Be sure to leave a comment below.