Today, I spoke with Liz Goodgold, who is a long time branding expert, speaker, author and consultant. Liz provides a great endorsement for the fine art of personal branding 😉 and she also has great ideas around how entrepreneurs can market themselves, as well as how people can become more visible as a corporate employee. This post will prove useful to just about anyone engaged in a job hunt or trying to keep their current job and succeed at it. If you want to win the battle for jobs in this market, then be sure to read this interview!
Liz, why do you feel companies need to embrace personal branding? What are the pros and cons from their angle, as well as the individual employees?
“Personal branding today is a survival tool; it is the key element in getting retained and promoted.”
Savvy companies will recognize that when their employees stand out in a positive way, it radiates success back onto them. As each employee defines a distinctly different aspect of their personal brand, the company as a whole is perceived as being a solid, diversified company with strengths in many areas.
On the other hand, short-sighted companies exist that loathe personal branding fearing that the personal attention detracts from the company’s corporate culture. Great personal branders tout their own unique qualities within the context of their employers allowing both to shine.
I define personal branding as “how we market ourselves to others.” I consider “personal branding” a process and a “personal brand” to be the individual who is being marketed. How do you define it?
Personal branding, just like corporate branding, is always based upon the perception of others. It is the sum total of all of your marketing messages including unintended ones delivered via blogs, email messages, visual branding cues, and even voice mail greetings that influence perception and how others see you.
Was there always a need for personal branding? Why is it more important now than 10 years ago? What do you see happening in the future?
“Given this economy with the unemployment rate in the US at a 14-year high, branding is your secret weapon in the battle for jobs, promotions, and clients.”
Blending into obscurity renders you virtually invisible and means you are not top-of-mind for the next big promotion or juicy client assignment. Always remember that being recognized and visible is your insurance policy against bankruptcy and layoffs.
Compared to 10 years ago, most employees will not remain at one company for their entire career. In those days, your brand was de facto the corporate brand. Today, with job instability and the growth in entrepreneurship, your personal brand is the one you craft, promote, and launch into longevity.
What are some tactics individuals can use to get their name out there, both internal to their company or externally?
Getting visibility is easily accomplished both within a corporation and outside of one.
If you’re an employee, here a few key suggestions:
- Become the Meeting Maven – In other words, take on additional responsibility to chair a meeting, coordinate the meeting, and complete the follow up.
- Volunteer – There are typically assignments that lack a rigid responsibility structure such as the Holiday Party, birthday gatherings, send off celebrations, and the like. Take on the responsibility as it shows your leadership, follow through, and allows you access to many levels within the corporation that previously might have been sealed.
- Use Internal Communications – Within big corporations, there might be an Intranet, internal newsletter, monthly magazine, or even a quarterly e-zine. This is your opportunity to not only suggest key topics, but write the article as well. Writing the article demonstrates your keen observations, strong writing ability, and even access to headquarters.
If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, the outlets for visibility are tremendous:
- Write By-Lined Articles To Build Your Reputation Business publications, women’s magazines, and virtually all specialized media use free-lancers and are at some point looking for content. The articles and on-line efforts raise your profile, brand, and Google ranking.
- Use Your Car as a Roving Billboard Today, your car remains a free and mobile billboard. It can be a simple as creating a bumper sticker and let others come along for the ride. Or, look at a vanity plate, magnetic signs, or even a “wrapped” car that has your message surrounded in great graphics.
- Work with Charities There is a way of doing well by doing good. Don’t forget to tie into relevant and appropriate non-profits that either have the same target, goal, or business mission as yours.
- Speak Your Way out of Obscurity – Speaking allows you to become the expert, mingle with your prospects, and share your experience with the target that needs it most.
Aside from employees, can you describe how personal branding can be applied to create a “red fire” entrepreneur?
Red Fire Entrepreneurs create a spark that makes a difference; they fire up a team, energize an audience, believe in themselves, and create an unforgettable and indelible impression. Becoming “on fire” is the surefire way to stand out, stand up, and get the respect, rewards, and recognition you deserve.
Liz Goodgold is a fiery redhead, speaker, and author with over 25 years of experience working in marketing and branding for Quaker Oats, Times Mirror, and Arco Oil. She also inspires thousands of entrepreneurs and executives who attend her energetic, action-packed, and practical talks across the globe. She is currently CEO of The Nuancing® Group, an identity-consulting firm that helps companies understand the nuances of branding. Clients include ProFlowers.com, Sharp Healthcare, and Univision. Liz is the author of RED FIRE BRANDING: Create a Hot Personal Brand and Have Customers for Life and DUH! Marketing.