• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • A Corporate View of Personal Branding with Pros and Cons

    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!

    [vimeo 964386]

    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
    • Resources


    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.


    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

    Posted in People, Personal Branding, Podcasts, Success Strategies
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    6 comments on “A Corporate View of Personal Branding with Pros and Cons
    1. avatar
      Vincent Hunt says:

      Hand shakes and “back pats”!!

      I agree Dan 100%, wait a minute, I left 10% on the table.. 110%!

      I would also like to toss into the air… I really feel that what happens sometimes is that Leaders come into contact with the word “Personal Brand” and because of, perhaps – many years of brand exposure, they “clump” Personal Branding up with traditional Corporate Branding, Product Branding, blah, blah, blah… WHICH in some applications is cool… BUT with Corporate America letting go of over 20,000 jobs in April alone… I am inclined to say, PERHAPS we need to start accelerating the “Personal Brand Revelation curve”, so we do not have 20,000 + “Wondering Brands” on the Earth, clueless to their roles. Opps, did I say that these 20,000 came from Jobs? Inside of buildings?

      Keep Brandin!

    2. avatar
      James Seay says:


      I agree with your comments about personal branding in the corporate environment. My present company is embracing the personal branding concept (thanks to you!) and it appears to be catching on.

      Personal branding does not necessarily mean that you might leave a company, but just empowers employees to be all that they can be. Similar to a diverse workplace, personal branding brings out the best that we all have to offer. Thanks for your message!

    3. avatar
      Dan Schawbel says:

      @James – it’s the employers job to make you want to stay

    4. avatar

      Great post, Dan. The one element not examined (directly anyway) is culture brand and the brand of leadership that shapes the vision as organizations grow and change.

      The existing and future culture attract and retain the right personal brands which in turn create products, services and customer service.

      The personal brand is the first mover.

    5. avatar
      Luke says:

      Dan, nice slant on this 50 foot view from Rand. It is something I come across everyday…when I approach learning and development managers to offer my services, they always ask..why would we help our people develop recognisable personal brands, then they will just leave and work for someone else? This can be frustrating, but I do like the ‘war for talent’ angle, where you and Rand speak about attracting people to your organisation. Everyone (most anyway) wants to work with other ‘great personal brands’ so what better way to win they war on talent than to have your brightest and best develop such strong brands that employees are drawn to them!

    6. avatar

      I have worked with a lot of companies who wholeheartedly endorse personal branding and who have brought in Reach and our certified personal branding strategists to help their employees (at all levels) build their personal brands.

      All of these companies recognize the value of having their employees deliver on the corporate brand promise in a way that is authentic to them. They know they need to get the best from their employees (not the most). And they are well aware of the fact that their employees will eventually leave (the average employee tenure continues to decrease) – but they want to maximize the value of the employees while they are there.

      Personal branding is quickly becoming a standard component of corporate talent development programs – at least with innovative, forward thinking companies.

      William Arruda

      What have you done for YOUR brand today?

    3 Pings/Trackbacks for "A Corporate View of Personal Branding with Pros and Cons"
    1. […] Branding… Well after I posted that Dan Schawbel rolled in with an amazing blog post called: A Corporate View of Personal Branding with Pro’s and Cons… Dan is a respected Leader in the field of Personal Branding and what he has to say is pretty tasty […]

    2. […] and branding their entire company has slowly started to fade.  Many though leaders, such a Personal Branding blogger Dan Schawbel, offer insight into how a company’s branding and an individual’s branding affect the […]

    3. […] of personal branding is very different than from an individuals point of view, which I’ve previously discussed. Companies need to understand the importance of personal branding within the corporate culture. If […]

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