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After many years working in large companies filled with bright and talented experts, I saw first-hand those that successfully built smart and enduring personal brands and those that simply fell short. Those that endured became sought-after thought leaders rapidly progressing in their careers, while those that fell short remained stagnant and irrelevant.
The real shame is that those that fell short could have taken greater advantage of the resources and opportunities afforded them through these big organizations. They either never made the time, or never made the connection to its value.
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” — Tom Peters in Fast Company
The role of brand promotion no longer rests solely on the shoulders of the marketing organization. The proliferation of social platforms and technology tools parlays the voice of many with much greater ease and impact. The active role employees can play in brand visibility and transparency is profound. Organizations now want to partner with employees for greater brand exposure.
Getting our company profiles on social platforms, or launching a corporate blog and communicating to employees is one thing, but how can we go a few steps further to ensure our employees are an extension of our brand and that they proudly share within their own networks our greatest stories. We’re now asking employees to leverage their personal platforms and play the role of brand ambassador speaking on behalf of the organization. 5 to 10 years ago, this idea may have scared off most marketing and legal departments, but today this is a desired practice of the most successful and powerful brands.
How do we not only encourage our employees to spread the word but to also articulate the brand identity in a meaningful and accurate way? …
I recently spoke with a former colleague of mine about launching a social program in her new organization. She was being asked by executive leadership to essentially do this as a “side project” in addition to her existing roles. She and I both knew that in order to do this the right way, to gain the most value, requires a dedicated resource and a well thought out strategy and communications plan even before that first profile is built.
There is so much to think about when launching a social program to ensure it successfully aligns to a companies business objectives and brand.
After attending a few networking events, it was apparent that many of my peers are often asked the same thing – to launch or manage a social program with little or any strategic alignment. In some cases, there seems to be a short-term need they are trying to accommodate, and in other cases, it was simply a desire to have a presence like everyone else.