Personal brands have never been so prevalant as today, thanks in large part to the proliferation of media and the web.
Simply stated, it's never been easier to establish and grow your own personal brand.
Personal brands have never been so prevalant as today, thanks in large part to the proliferation of media and the web. Simply stated, it's never been easier to establish and grow your own personal brand.
On Monday the 10th we had the pleasure of hosting Mark Traphagen of Stone Temple Consulting, a well-established voice in the personal brand sphere, to chat about the roles personal brands play in marketing today.
Here's how it all went down.
Question One: How should companies approach personal brands?
Mark kicked off the chat pointing out that companies shouldn't fear strong personal brands - instead, companies should nurture and encourage personal brands.
A1 As w/ employee social media use, smart brands seek to nurture & encourage the personal brands of employees #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
Callis pointed out personal branding isn't for everyone, and if a company wants staff to grow personal brands they might need to reward proactive employees:
A1: Incentive or reward for proactive staff is a good start. A lot of people simply aren't interested in personal branding. #linkaratichat— Callis (@callis1987) August 10, 2015
However, that does not mean that personal brand = company brand:
John Gibbings and Wojtek Mazur pointed out the value of personal brands in helping people relate to a business. Relationships are much easier to develop between people, as opposed to companies.
A1. A clear understanding many staff members will still want personal aspects to their social media and not be a work bot. #linkaratichat— Callis (@callis1987) August 10, 2015
A1: Personal Brands can showcase your business as a living, breathing entity. Let them thrive #LinkaratiChat— John Gibbings (@JohnGibbings) August 10, 2015
A1: Personal brands help companies build relationships. At the end of the day relationships are between PEOPLE not companies #Linkaratichat— Wojtek Mazur (@mazur_w) August 10, 2015
This naturally led to question two.
Question Two: What marketing advantages do personal brands offer to companies?
Mark led the discussion by highlighting the more personal nature of personal brands.
A2 1st marketing advantage of personal brands for your company is the ability to make more personal connections w/ audience #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
Cody Cahill, a Page One Power Team Lead, pointed out the diversity in having multiple brands:
A2: It allows companies to diversify their marketing message by highlighting the individuals that work for the company. #linkaratichat— Cody Cahill (@Pleasant_Pen) August 10, 2015
Thomas McMahon, another P1P Team Lead, pointed out the networking possibilities with a personal brand:
And Andrew Dennis pointed out that employees who engage in personal branding will feel more invested in the company.
A2: Also, encouraging employees to grow & develop their personal brands can help them feel more invested in the company #linkaratichat— Andrew Dennis (@AndrewDennis33) August 10, 2015
Overall, personal brands attached to company marketing help a company appear more human and approachabe, while empowering your employees.
Question Three: What are the risks companies face with tying personal brands to company branding? Is there a way to minimize risks?
The two most common risks are an employee exhibiting less-than-ideal behavior (socially), or leaving the company. Mark recommends brands create good training and nurturing programs for personal brand representatives.
A3 Most common risk I hear from companies when I talk personal brands is fear the PB may go rogue or tweet something bad #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
A3 2nd most common fear of brands toward personal brands is "What if they leave?" #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
A3 Smart companies will develop good training/nurturing programs for their personal brand representatives #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
Bill Slawski echoed this attitude, stating personal brand development fits nicely within supervisor responsibilities:
A2 As a supervisor, my job is easier if it involves helping in the personal development of those I work with. #linkaratichat— Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) August 10, 2015
Callis recommended a clear social media policy for staff, which makes really good sense.
A3. Clear social media policy for staff is a good idea. Hard to have a go at someone for breaking a rule that doesn't exist. #linkaratichat— Callis (@callis1987) August 10, 2015
And at the end of the day, even if an employee leaves their personal brand could still continue to benefit the original company.
A3 My byline on the content of the agency I used to work for still benefits them today #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
Question Four: Does an employee need to be a certain level before being trusted with personal brand development?
Question four was interesting, because there was no clear cut answer. Different people had genuinely different responses. On one hand, you should trust your employees implicitly - otherwise, why continue to employ them? But on the other hand, representing a company well is difficult, and not everyone is suited to be a public representative.
Devin represented the trust side of the debate.
A4: No, it's your own personal brand, not your companies. Unless you are representing them explicity. Again just trust #linkaratichat— Devin (@DevDawg) August 10, 2015
A4: I really believe if you don't trust an employee to not be an idiot online, don't hire them. #linkaratichat— Devin (@DevDawg) August 10, 2015
Callis and Micha were on the other side of the debate, pointing out the difficult nature of building a personal brand and representing a company.
A4: Yes, absolutely. Representing a company well is hard, giving the task to someone w/ no training is dangerous. #linkaratichat— Micha Boettiger (@writerworldwide) August 10, 2015
A4. Part of you wants to see people grow, but those with limited knowledge could say something stupid to wrong person. #linkaratichat— Callis (@callis1987) August 10, 2015
Mark recommended a middle ground, providing guidelines instead of restrictions:
A4 I think it more useful for companies to provide guidelines for employee personal brands, rather than restrictions #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
In the end everyone more or less agreed that you shouldn't try to restrict personal brand development, but as a company it's important to offer guidance and training.
A4: I don't think you should try to restrict employees from dev. personal brands, but highly visible employees need training #linkaratichat— Andrew Dennis (@AndrewDennis33) August 10, 2015
Question Five: How can you effectively build a personal brand? Methods, channels, tools?
Mark believes the best way to grow a personal brand is to add value to the conversation. Don't focus on your brand, but rather build authoritative content and great relationships.
Bill Slawski, well known for his work in explaining Google's patents and the technological implications, recommends focusing on value for a community as well.
A5 You can Effectively build a personal brand by answering and anticipating people's questions and answering them. #linkaratichat— Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) August 10, 2015
This might necessitate specialization, Michael Hall pointed out.
A5: Sometimes it's better to be a specialist than a generalist #linkaratichat— Michael Hall (@allmikehall) August 10, 2015
Martin Harris recommends letting your personality shine through in order to build a stronger personal brand.
A5: Don't be affraid to show your personality, Join in discussions and help to solve problems #linkaratichat— Martin Harris (@Martin_HarrisPR) August 10, 2015
Question Six: Could you recommend some people with strong personal brands worth following?
For people to follow in terms of personal brands, Bill recommends whoever inspires you to be better.
A6 Find people who are helpful to you, and inspire ideas & questions & new approaches. Those are them. #linkaratichat— Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) August 10, 2015
Mark Traphagen had a large list of those worth following:
A6 Certainly a very visible examples for a major brand: Richard Branson and Elon Musk #linkaratichat— Mark Traphagen (@marktraphagen) August 10, 2015
Jared Carrizales had a few good names to add to the list:
And so did Sergio Redondo:
And that's the chat!!
Huge, huge thank you to Mark Traphagen, our featured guest, and everyone who took time out of their busy lives to participate. We had an incredible time and look forward to chatting next week, Monday 8/24, with Jeremy Rivera at 8AM PST. Hope to see you there!