Employees are people—unique individuals with unique personalities and skill sets—not faceless parts of a larger corporate machine. A business’ name and services may be the reason customers walk through the door the first time, but people are the reason they keep coming back.
But how can multiple personal brands be encouraged to flourish under the guise of a single mission statement?
The key is building a team of people who have personal brands that support the company mission and the mission of the company’s clients.
“You are only legitimate if you can turn your skill set into real business results. By becoming an expert, serving the right clients and over-delivering on your value, your clients can achieve success,” says Dan Schawbel, personal branding expert and The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Promote Yourself. “When they (your employees) do achieve success, you can capture their success in the form of a case study with hard metrics.”
Companies can only benefit when employees are enthusiastic about positioning themselves as the expert or go-to on a certain subject. This means companies should invest in professional development and allow for employee individuality in the form of contributing to publications, speaking engagements, or personalized social media outreach. These efforts can help to build and reinforce strong personal brands. Social media and online personal branding efforts are particularly important these days as most people—estimates as high as 94 percent according to a study from the Acquity Group—do online research before buying goods or services.
If customers, both existing and potential, think of employees as the thought leaders in certain areas, chances are good that those customers will want to do business with the employees and the companies for which they work.
“Personal branding is becoming increasingly important because modern audiences tend to trust people more than corporations,” says Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing and social media agency.
A corporation can be seen as one of those faceless entities that wants nothing more than to make money, while people, even if they work at that faceless corporation, are often seen as more genuine and helpful in their efforts.