Before, when only organizations had ‘brands,’ the organization didn’t need to worry about an employee’s ‘brand’ overshadowing theirs. But now that personal branding is so prevalent, the question has been asked: Is a personal brand helpful or detrimental to an organization?
Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument:
Personal branding can help organizations
Showing your audience that you have a diverse set of employees with their own ideas can enhance an organization. Consumers want to feel a real connection to organizations, and a good way to foster that connection is by letting real people (employees) connect with your customers.
To many consumers, an organization is viewed as a large thing with no feelings whatsoever. But by allowing employees to brand themselves, share their thoughts and promote your organization, it can create a sense of trust that an organization typically can’t form on their own.
Personal branding can hurt organizations
Some say that employees having a strong personal brand and online presence can hurt an organization or overshadow their branding efforts.
It’s also thought that those personal brands associated with the organization could possibly offend or alienate their larger audience and cause consumers to be turned off by the organization as a whole—especially if an employee is creating a destructive personal brand (however, do note that these cases are unlikely).
Basically, each organization needs to determine what’s right for them. Some organizations could definitely benefit from employee’s creating personal brands, while others might not be set up to allow that. There is no magic formula or outline for connecting with consumers. Along those lines, it’s a personal choice among employees whether they want to stay private or connect online with consumers through social media, blogging or forums.
What do you think? Do you think an employee’s brand helps or hurts the organization’s brand?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.