Essentially, the concept claims that with the advent of fast and easy global communications mainly revolving around the web, the world is getting ever smaller and information on any subject or anyone is more readily available and in larger volumes. This makes the competition for visibility ever more fierce. It puts forward the idea that you are now similar to an FMCG product fighting for visibility in the shop window of your company or industry. You and your skill set are now a brand, similar to Coke or Pepsi.
To be “known” in your organisation or industry requires a change in what we once did. Personal branding has been with us since the industrial revolution maybe under the term promotion, advancement or career development. It’s all about becoming more aware of who we are, what we want and how we get our “messege” out there particularly bearing in mind the various relatively new platforms such as you tube, Linkedin and Facebook.
It’s a term that been around for over 10 years but gathered real pace with web 2.0 and in 2007 when Tom Peters wrote about it in The Brand Called You/Fast Company.
Given the R word it is even more applicable now particularly when looking for a new job or change in career. So, how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd in today’s busy world?
How branding works
Roughly speaking, there are two steps in the process. Firstly, you need to understand what it is you want, and how your skill set matches up to what others have to offer in the market you’re after. In other words, as marketeers would put it, what your product offering and brand is? It’s not as easy as it sounds to reach this stage but with time and possibly some coaching very “do able”.
Once this is achieved you move to step two. Here you must decide on what channels you’ll use to promote your brand. If you’re branding for an external move then typically, this includes a trip a recruiter(s), visiting some jobsites, talking to your network of friends, colleagues etc and less often some publicity by speaking at a seminar or relevant institute event. More recently, it could also include social websites such as Linkedin, Facebook, twitter, as well as having your own website and blog.
Personal Branding proposes that you need more visibility than ever before to take account of:
- A. being a part of the information age
- B. the increase in contract, part time and project work over permanent jobs
- C. Increase in number of career moves in the career lifespan
- D. the rapid rise in unemployment and so increased level of competition for permanent jobs, contracts, projects or consulting business