There are two perspectives on personal branding and today I want to highlight the corporate view. The non-bias way to do that is to let someone else introduce it and Rand Fishkin is the chosen one. Rand is the CEO & Founder of SEOmoz.org and is a well-known SEO speaker and expert. He recently released a podcast with his 50-foot view of personal branding, relative to corporate branding and share’s some interesting insights that many of you might not be aware of or overlook. Enjoy the below podcast!
Company vs individual – differences in marketplace impact
- Company: The company influences an audience who speaks to the marketplace and in turn purchases from the company.
- Individual: The individual influences an audience, who speaks to the marketplace. The marketplace goes back to the individual and asks for a product or company endorsement.
Personal branding pros vs cons
- Easy to identify
- More trustworthy
- Able to transition
- Transitive branding
- Might leave
- Not scalable
- Vulnerable to negative association
Before you create a personal brand….
- Goals of building a personal brand: attention
- Investment costs and clear strategy
There are many more pros to personal branding, but from the organizational level, they want to build corporate spokespeople that understand the corporate messaging, so they can attract others to the company. As you develop your brand and become more visible, other companies will want to hire you, which is a threat for a company that doesn’t have a strong employer brand. I think personal brands are scalable with evangelists, but not with person-to-person contact. I think companies can be just as trustworthy as people, depending on the reputation they’ve built up over time in the publics eye.
I disagree that a personal brand is easy to identify because it takes some people 20 years to discover it. After 16 jobs, they finally realize they want to be a Doctor, instead of a cubicle warrior, etc. A company brand is equal to the personal brands attached to it, therefore I believe they are both equally hard to identify. Personal brands are not shielded from bad publicity through a corporate entity, and any employee will take the heat of a company anyways. Attention is not the only goal of personal branding and of course you need resources to be able to generate enough awareness over a period of time.
Rand doesn’t take into account that everyone has a personal brand and that it’s not up to companies as much anymore, which ones are displayed to the public. Social media has become an outlet that even a janitor in a company can use to express their opinions. No disclaimer on a blog is going to stop the association you have with your company either. Otherwise, I think Rand’s perspective is noteworthy and that you can learn a lot from that podcast if you’re looking to represent your company in the media.