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  • The Personal Brand Marketplace of the Future. Are Your Prepared?

    I think it’s an understatement to say the world has changed due to social technologies. If you’ve think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t seen anything yet!  Two weeks ago, I gave my top ten personal branding predictions for 2010, which is actually only a month away (pretty scary if you ask me).  Those were small nuggets of thoughts and visions for the future, but there is something much bigger that’s been on my mind lately.  In fact, it’s so big that it deserves it’s own post.

    The vision

    The Personal Brand Marketplace: The future of personal branding is a marketplace, where the top talent receive the most visibility and everyone else sinks to the bottom.  We will be treated like products and be rated and commented on, where positive interactions equal new opportunities and negative ones diminish your brand value publicly.  This system will exist online and become an organized and scrutinized recruitment database, as well as a modern permanent record for personal brands.

    Competition will drive people online and force people to build brands

    There are a few reasons why there will have to be a personal brand marketplace in the future.  The first one is because everyone with a pulse has to have an internet connection in order to compete now and in the future.  Right now, for instance, there are over 1.3 billion internet users, and about a quarter of a billion of them are based in the U.S.  Now, remember all the times you’ve seen me blog, tweet and present on the fact that everyone needs their own website (yourname.com).  Well, there are 200 million websites today and there will be a 40,000 fold increase in websites in 15 years.  What this tells you is that it will be much harder to stand out in the future, even though it’s quite competitive today.  What seemed to be a differentiator in the past, is a mere qualifier now (a website, blog, social profiles, etc).

    Hiring managers are recruiters are in trouble

    The big issue with job boards is that they don’t attract the best talent and they become vaults for thousands of resumes that don’t get put to good use.  From the hiring managers perspective, they are taking the biggest risk by selecting an “unknown” from a pile of resumes collected in a job board database.  More and more recruiters and hiring managers are trying to save money by investing in their people, instead of machines, to do the recruitment.  Many have successfully used Twitter, Second Life, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and blogs to find the right talent and by “right” I mean people who have the right expertise and some passion.

    So why are hiring managers and recruiters in trouble with our current system? There will be too many people to choose from in the future.  Right now there are 325 million people on Facebook and 55 million on LinkedIn, for example.  It’s going to get much harder, as these numbers increase, to search and find the right people.  When everyone has a website and a blog and social profiles and experience and connections, how do you decipher that?  You can’t, which means the “new world order” is coming 😉 .  The personal brand marketplace will become the only way to discover the right people, at the right time, and with enough trust (rating and comment system) to actually allow for seamless recruitment.

    We rate products, companies and CEO’s so why not “regular” people?

    Ratings are nothing new:


    Don’t you think we’re missing something here?  There is no rating system for personal brands. With the amount of people online and the competition, there needs to be some way to clearly display who has the best reputation and who doesn’t.  If you work at any serious company, then you have been through a performance review.  That review is made private, but the future will make it public because our transparent society is going to force people to open up and the truth to come out.

    Positive recommendations have not met negative criticismfacedislike

    I consider myself a nice guy, but I think the world has been a little too lenient with personal brands.  You can’t give someone a “negative recommendation” on LinkedIn and you certainly can’t dislike a wall post on Facebook (unless you have a FireFox plugin!).  We all have opinions and sometimes they aren’t positive, but the web is a friendly place and most people don’t want to get involved in “burning bridges” or attacking other people.

    Glassdoor hit a nerve with anonymous commenting a year or more ago.  That, to me, is only the beginning.  The more our lives converge and our professional and personal lives just become our personal brands, the more you’ll see a more public display of negative criticism and ratings.

    People are starting to lose some trust in endorsements and recommendations online because they are one sided and typically done as favors.  When criticism enters the mix, people tend to trust recommendations more and it become more authentic, which carries more weight.

    What this means for your personal brand

    It means that everything you do in the office or on your personal time counts now and will be visible online. Every interaction you have will build or destroy your brand and be shown to the world.  New companies will be created around reputation scores for individuals and systems will be in place to find out who the top talent is and why.  Ratings, comments, sharing and other social media tools you’re familiar with will all be part of the new personal brand marketplace.  The future is now and the future is brand you.

    Your turn

    What comments or concerns do you have with the personal brand marketplace?  Are you a believer?


    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 Career Development, eBrand, Futures, Personal Branding, Reputation Management, Social Media
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    8 comments on “The Personal Brand Marketplace of the Future. Are Your Prepared?
    1. avatar
      yinka olaito says:

      Great post Dan.but It is one point to create /have abrand/ presence but another ball game to be seen, What startegies do you offer to be seen widely.

    2. avatar
      John Paul says:

      Nice post.. This goes back to what I tell people all the time. “watch what you say or do online” people are always watching.

      Slowly the issue isn’t how to be found online, it is now about being found for the right reasons.

    3. avatar
      Bill Sodeman says:

      Great post! You brought up some interesting issues.

    4. avatar

      Dan, great post, and great event in Cambridge last week.

      LinkedIn tip for you – don’t forget to put common misspellings of your name, like Shwabel, Schwable (or other common misspellings you see), into the Summary field of your LinkedIn profile. That way, if people look for you with that misspelling, they still find you. More at http://www.the-linkedin-speaker.com/blog/2009/01/27/missing-linkedin-tip-%E2%80%93-misspell-your-last-name-in-your-linkedin-profile/

    5. avatar

      I understand the concept of branding and agree with what you’re saying but I don’t want to be a brand. I just want to be myself.

      Human beings are complicated and multi-faceted. Is there room for that within the branding game? I will read your book and hope to find out:)

    6. avatar
      Kelly Lux says:

      I think you have a good point, but this is just another way that class divisions will become more apparent in the future. No matter what ‘we’ think, not everyone will have a personal brand. There are a lot of people out there who don’t have a clue what a personal brand is and will continue to lack the appreciation for one or the tools to create it. This is where you hit the nail on the head ‘ the rest will sink to the bottom’. Maybe we need to make these skills part of our educational system. As someone who works with college students, new grads and older alums, I can attest that these skills are not universal, not by a long shot. How will we get the message to everyone who needs to know, that the boat is leaving and they are going to be left at the dock?

      • avatar

        You’re right Kelly!
        I think we need to re-adjust our curriculum and face what is important.
        Recently, I started an Internet Business School (IBS) to reach out to university students. Guess what? Personal Branding is one of the courses.

    7. avatar

      Really makes you think about what personal branding in the future will look like and how it will serve our economic marketplace. There will be many that don’t understand this concept and will not get to it in time. They will miss the boat. I agree with Kelly Lux, I believe it should be something that is taught at the university, even high school level. By doing this, students will understand the importance of watching what they say and do in the realm of social media.

    6 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Personal Brand Marketplace of the Future. Are Your Prepared?"
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