This weekend I engaged in a discussion at LinkedIn Answers about Personal Branding & Corporate Branding, discussing the different aspects of how personal brands and corporate brands can work together and against each other. Since this is a complex question which you may not have given much thought to, I thought that I’d share my ideas with you.
How corporate and personal brands empower or diminished each other
For the corporation, strong personal brands among the staff show the competences and strengths of the employees as well as the fact that they are interested and engaged in their line of work. For the personal brand it is great to have a network of strong brands around yourself and also to be connected to a strong corporate brand in your line of work.
On the other hand, if the company has weak competence, that brand will be hurt by the fact that the employees are not as sharp as expected. Also if some event (think Enron) happens, that will also have an impact on the personal brand of the staff, whether they have anything to do with what destroyed the corporate brand or not.
Inventory of resources in the company – working with your passion
If you are working in a place where the company cares about its brand and about the personal brands of the employees, it will be easier to find the right competence within the organization instead of using consultants for unnecessary tasks. (I believe in consultants, but they should be used in the proper manner.) This will give the employee a better chance of doing the things they are passionate about (as they have branded themselves) and will in the long run strengthen the corporate brand since it will be a better place to work at and hence attract better employees.
If there are weak personal brands in the organization, it will attract weak and unmotivated co-workers, which will have a negative impact on both brands.
Customer care / receptionist / salespeople
These are areas within the company where every client (hopefully) meets an actual human being. The way this person communicates will have a immense impact on whether or not the client feels happy. The brand of the person interacting with the client is carrying two brands, that of the company and that of himself. Both brands will be affected in either a positive or a negative direction depending on the associations that the client gets.
Both the company and the employees have everything to gain from working with their brands, and also thinking of how they can empower each other’s brands and the brands they are associated with in different networks or contexts. I believe that an increased brand awareness throughout the corporation will also benefit the corporate brand as well as make the employees more motivated to add to the corporate brand as well as start working on their own brands.
Have any of you faced situations in which the corporate brand and the personal brand have empowered or worked against each other? How did you benefit from it (if positive), or deal with it (if negative)?
Ola Rynge is an entrepreneur with a passion for the personal development side of personal branding (covered in this blog) as well as the application of personal branding and social media for entrepreneurs and small businesses (covered in The Rynge Blog).
His company, The Rynge Group specializes in market oriented small business and idea development, including social media strategies and implementations.