Promoting your company comes naturally; marketing your corporate brand is your job, after all (or at least part of it). But promoting yourself is an entirely different thing: Self-promotion can feel awkward at best and smarmy at worst, but personal branding is key to the success of your career and your business.
If it weren't for personal branding, Seth Price and Barry Feldman might never have met. Barry was shopping around for help creating an infographic, and MarketingProfs' own Ann Handley knew (thanks to Seth's personal branding efforts) that Seth had the right skills.
Do people know what you do? If not, investing in your personal brand will pay dividends, even if your main gig is promoting someone else's company.
I invited Seth and Barry to Marketing Smarts to discuss their new book, The Road to Recognition: The A-to-Z Guide to Personal Branding for Accelerating Your Professional Success in The Age of Digital Media. Along the way, we also delve into what role personal branding plays for corporate employees and how encouraging your team members to build their own brand elevates your business, as well.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Whatever you do, whoever you work for, strategically crafting your personal brand would help you (16:43): [Barry] "There's two or three forms of trepidation for taking [personal branding] on. One is 'I don't care. I'm going to work for somebody for 30 or 40 years and retire and collect a pension.' The Road to Recognition is not for that person, nor is the idea of personal branding, but that's sort of a dying breed.
"I think another form of trepidation is 'I have a hard time bragging about myself.' So read this book and get over it. Realize how much your reputation and the way that you get recognized as an expert in your field will mean to your career.
"The final one...is a big one, because so many people work for thriving, growing, aspiring small businesses that want to be medium-sized businesses that could catch on and become large enterprises. That boss has to embrace the idea that the people within the ranks are indeed advocates for the business. We live in a world of social media."
Encourage the potential brand advocates within your organization (20:07): [Barry] "It's about identifying the platforms that make sense for both the personal brand and the company. The book is largely about those platforms. We've talked a lot about speaking...but it could be blogging...it could be podcasting...it could be making video it could be being active on social.... I think there's lots of challenges, lots of platforms...and a mutual win/win if you embrace the idea of personal branding and what it means to an employer."
[Seth] "I think the natural place to start is, one, with the CEO, so them understanding that everything they do is being observed in some way...internally and externally. The content they create, the places they go, the way they dress, the way they speak—everything has some ripple effect on how they're perceived and how their business is embraced. From there, it tends to go to the C-suite, and not everybody wants to stand up and be the person that travels to speak at different events, but there's probably some natural alignment.
"The VP of technology is a good speaker for technology events. Probably the VP of marketing is a good person to speak at marketing events, but as you go down, you have all the frontline people. You have anybody who touches a customer, whether that be just digitally or via videos...or maybe they do social or they do frontline sales.
"All those positions have brands already: the challenge is are we aligning them with the company and empowering them, or are we just sort of hiding our heads in the sand and going 'their humanness we're not going to pay attention to, we just hope they close the deal and don't lose the customer.'
"I think that's where the real potential increase in ROI is...aligning what we do, providing some bit of training to folks so they know that we have their back and we expect them to be respectful of our company, and just pay attention so we can stay in constant communication. You get amazing results when you can have more than one person do that."
Barry, Seth, and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by FullContact:
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Seth Price and Barry Feldman, co-authors of