More than 15 years ago, business guru Tom Peters and other consultants first suggested the concept of the personal brand. The concept was laughed at and scorned by conventional business, and big brands believed that the power was with the brand and not with the individual … some people still think this is the case, and they will cite the Apple brand after the passing on of Steve Jobs.
There will always be exceptions to any rule, but for most the shift has been towards the individual, and many people will acknowledge to a lesser or greater degree the influence of the individuals within an organization – or more simply put, the brands(individuals) that work for the brand.
For companies to be a strong brand these days you need strong brands (individuals) working for or with you. The success of the main brand is often dependent on the decisions and choices that the individual brands within that company brand make. We have all seen the brand damage that takes place when an individual within an organisation does something to ruin their own reputation – ultimately the company suffers brand damage too.
What impact does this have on a relationship marketing or customer engagement strategy within a business? Simply put, it is everything – because only people can give you authenticity, commitment and integrity. Company brands try to communicate this, but these values can only be delivered and lived by the individual brands. This definition has often been associated with what is known as a social business.
Social engagement strategies with customers will always fail if you approach them from a brand building or marketing point of view. They can deliver the old style necessary information, but they simply will not have the personality and the authentic experience that people are searching for when they engage with your brand.
For a social business strategy to be effective and to have long term sustainability, you need to find the champions within an organization and involve them in the complete process. They are the people who are natural connectors and communicators and are capable of giving your brand its authentic personality.
When you freely enable people to build individual brands for themselves, you not only build a solid brand for your company due to the strength of the brands within the organization but you also save costs, become more authentic and you have a more productive engaged workforce.
Start encouraging and enabling others to build their brands and begin building your personal brand today …
“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” — General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army