More than ten years after his death, the Apple brand is still associated with its visionary and charismatic long-term CEO Steve Jobs and his impressive life story. This is the result of textbook storytelling and personal branding. And when we talk about Tesla and SpaceX, inevitably, Elon Musk comes to mind, who not only regularly balances the fine line between genius and madness, but also revolutionizes entire industries through visionary ideas. Without a doubt, these two leading figures have built and nurtured a unique personal branding around their experience, skills and passions over many years that clearly sets them apart from many others.
The promotion of one's own person is generally not limited to the individual in question, but is used for specific purposes beyond that, e.g. to build and strengthen the employer brand. In this case, the respective personal brand becomes an influencer for the employer brand. The engaging aura of an authentic personal brand, however, does not magically come to its bearers. They are developed strategically. In this blog post, you'll find out what it takes and what you should pay attention to in the process.
What is a Personal Brand?We encounter brands in various forms:
- A Corporate brand characterizes an organization as a whole and, in the best case, creates a consistent corporate image.
- An Employer brand describes a company's strategic position in the labor market and communicates its values to the outside world.
- A Product brand serves to label and market individual products. It is the foundation of the brand world and the smallest unit in the brand architecture of a company.
Lastly, somewhere on this spectrum, there is the personal brand. A personal brand refers to the image, perception and reputation of an individual. It represents their unique characteristics, skills, experiences, values and how they are perceived by others.
A personal brand is the result of the personal branding process, in which specific characteristics are defined and gradually established. For example, the brand owner positions himself as an expert for innovative design; his personal preference for Toast Hawaii is a secondary factor. And this is a good thing. Because Toast Hawaii is one of the greatest culinary misconceptions in the history of mankind, but that's beside the point.
Let's rather have a look at why employers profit immensely from developing a well-founded and authentic personal brand.
7 Reasons why Employers profit from Personal Branding
In times of an increasingly competitive labor market, it is crucial for companies to strengthen their brand not only with the customer in mind, but also with potential employees as their target group. An inspiring personality serves as an identification figure, attracting talent and retaining employees long-term.
Can the same be said the other way around? Let's take a look at the 7 most important reasons why employers also benefit from personal branding:
- Attract talents
Let's be honest, who wouldn't have loved to work alongside Steve Jobs to develop products, technologies and designs that transformed entire industries? And beyond that, even the way we live and work today! By creating an interesting and engaging personal brand, employers can attract young talents and get them excited about their company.
- Employee loyalty
When we talk about companies we admire, we're not referring to a logo or a building, and certainly not to an entry in the company register. We all want to identify with people we look up to. A successful personal branding strategy therefore strengthens employees' loyalty to the company and promotes long-term commitment to the employer.
- Competitive advantages on the labor market
On an increasingly competitive labor market with a persistently high shortage of skilled workers, inspiring personalities often make all the difference. Their charisma and passion for innovation and their company's products help demonstrate promising prospects to qualified specialists and win them over from other employers.
- Strengthening corporate culture
A company culture is only as good and as strong as it is practiced. Personal branding enables employers to bring the company's values to life with genuine figures who identify with the company. This way, employees develop a sense of belonging and pursue common goals with perseverance and commitment.
- Trust and credibility
The values of an inspiring employer inevitably rub off on the company's employees and products. If an employer has built up a good reputation through skillful personal branding and is perceived as trustworthy, this subsequently leads to a positive effect on customer relations and business success.
- Networking and business opportunities
A strong personal branding strategy often gives the employer access to an extended network of contacts and business opportunities. This can manifest itself in the form of collaborations and partnerships, but also through new prospects for joint collaboration within the company.
- Recommendations by employees
Word of mouth is always the best advertising. What applies to the recommendation of products by satisfied customers also proves true when it comes to finding suitable employees. If someone has a great boss who inspires their employees and provides a cool working atmosphere, they are not likely to keep quiet about it, but will actively point out job opportunities in this company to potential candidates.
So, for employers, personal branding is an all-around great thing - if it's done correctly. That brings us to the question that, as always in content marketing, marks the fine line between success and failure: What is the right way to do it?
What Employers should look for in building their Personal Branding
Below, you will find some measures that will help you successfully build a personal brand. For a better understanding, let's bring Konrad on board. Konrad is an expert in IT security and wants to use his personal brand to attract the best minds in the industry to join his consulting company.
Measure #1: Define your Canditate Persona
As with all your marketing activities, it helps to define the target audience of your message when building a personal brand. To do this, you work out one or more buyer personas, or in our case, the canditate persona. Whom do you want to inspire with your personal brand? What kind of education does your ideal candidate have? What are their concerns and needs? What are their professional goals and what motivates them?
The canditate persona created by our IT expert Konrad is called Jane Smith, she's 35 years old and has a master's degree in computer science as well as ten years of professional experience in the IT security industry. She lives in an urban area. In her job, Jane Smith strives for continuous development in the IT industry and has a strong interest in security trends and technologies in general. She wants to work on challenging projects, solve complex security problems and continuously expand her skills and knowledge.
Measure #2: Develop your own Values and Identity
Think about what makes you unique and what values you want to embody with your personal brand. Define your core message and emphasize your strengths, expertise and experience.
Konrad's personal brand image is designed to appeal to people like Jane Smith. He therefore communicates his 20+ years of experience as a successful IT entrepreneur and security expert who regularly implements challenging projects for renowned customers. This image also includes the fact that Konrad is a sought-after speaker and welcome guest at industry events and is always involved in discussions within the developer community. As a boss, he promotes the skills of his employees through flat hierarchies, personal mentoring and accessible training.
Measure #3: Build a consistent Online Presence
Create an engaging and professional profile on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or other relevant networks where you know your candidate persona can be found and where experts in your field can interact. Use these channels to share content that reflects your expertise and interests. Make sure your messages are consistent.
My Tip: Quality over Quantity
Think about which channels the professionals you're interested in use, and then use one account really well rather than five different ones half-heartedly.
Konrad has chosen LinkedIn as the main platform for his social media presence. There, he comments on and shares exciting developments from the world of IT security on a daily basis or interacts with other experts. He also posts information about events at which he will either be a speaker himself or will be attending as a guest. A perfect opportunity for his followers to meet him in person. Additionally, he publishes a weekly blog post on his company's website.
Measure #4: Create valuable Content
Again, be consistent and produce mostly content for your channels that adds value and is relevant to your audience. Blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, or social media posts will help you demonstrate your knowledge and inform your audience.
In his blog, Konrad addresses important cyber security fundamentals, reports on the latest security trends, shares proven best practices and takes a close look at sensitive areas such as cloud computing, network security or mobile security. Konrad works closely with a content agency to create his content. This ensures that his content is published regularly and stays informative.
Measure #5: Focus on Networking and Collaboration
Build relationships with other experts, influencers and professionals in your industry. Participating in conferences, events, and online discussions will help you continuously expand your network. By collaborating with others, you'll also increase the visibility of your personal brand and your credibility as an expert.
Konrad interacts extensively with industry peers on LinkedIn and continually makes recommendations for their content and discussion posts. He also regularly participates in debates around the topic of IT security and invites specialists to publish their viewpoints in the form of expert commentary on his blog.
Measure #6: Get involved in the Community
Get involved in your community and engage in online discussions. Answer questions, give advice, and share your knowledge. Be friendly, professional and authentic.
On LinkedIn, a misleading post about serious security flaws in cloud infrastructures is widely shared. In a response below the flawed post, Konrad points out its shortcomings in terms of content and sets the record straight. He also devotes a comprehensive blog article to this topic, in which he clarifies widespread security myths and misunderstandings.
Measure #7: Consider constructive Feedback
Take feedback seriously and use it to deepen your personal brand. Only if you remain open to constructive criticism can you continuously improve your brand and adapt your strategy when the need arises.
A colleague pointed out to Konrad that although his blog posts demonstrate extensive know-how and a deep understanding of complex security scenarios, people with less expertise are often unable to follow the explanations. Since Konrad also wants his content to appeal to a broader audience, he now has trained authors write his texts and makes his knowledge and expertise available to them in return. Content Agency.
Measure #8: Take Care of your Brand
Personal branding requires continuous work. Only by constantly evolving and actively engaging in your industry will your personal brand get the attention you want it to get. To do this, regularly update your online profiles and adapt your strategy to a market that is constantly evolving, just like your canditate personas.
Konrad expands his knowledge through personal engagement, exchanges with other experts, and participation in further education, conferences, and meetups. Meanwhile, the content marketing agency supports him with fresh ideas on how to communicate his content as effectively as possible to the public. Depending on the topic, this includes blog posts, professional articles, white papers, podcasts or videos for his website and LinkedIn.
With these measures, nothing stands in the way of building your personal brand as an employer. But why stick with just the boss? Your employees can also become inspiring ambassadors of your company through personal branding.
How to promote the Personal Branding of your Employees
If a likeable leading figure in the company has built up a successful personal brand, this role model alone often leads one or two employees to follow suit and also want to become the company's mouthpiece. The following strategies help employers to promote the personal branding of their employees:
- Offer training, workshops and continuing education opportunities to further strengthen the skills and expertise of your employees. This way, they can gradually establish themselves as experts in their field of expertise.
- Establish mentoring programs in which more senior employees pass on their experience and knowledge to younger colleagues and encourage them in their development.
- Create internal communication channels and platforms where your employees can share their successes, projects and expertise, e.g. in the form of internal blogs, social networks or newsletters.
- Promote the external presence of your employees and encourage them to participate in conferences, industry events and webinars, or even to appear as expert speakers. This way, they can position themselves as experts and increase their visibility in the industry.
- Develop clear guidelines for using social media platforms, empower your employees with best practices, and encourage them to build their personal brand online.
- Publicly recognize the achievements and contributions of your employees and reward them for their initiative in building their own personal brand.
- Create a corporate culture that supports the commitment of your employees. When they identify with the company and feel like an important part of it, their motivation increases.
- Provide regular feedback and support to your employees as they develop their brand. By providing constructive feedback on their engagement, you help them reach their full potential.
Conclusion: Successful Personal Branding Takes Authenticity And Patience
Building a strong personal brand takes time and commitment. Be patient, stay authentic, and make sure your activities align with your personal goals and values.