As more employees develop their personal brand and more companies recognize the value of social influencers within their ranks, how the two interact is an issue that continues to be defined and assessed.
The benefit for corporations has become increasingly obvious. Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees vs. by the brand, according to the MSLGroup.
“Permanent changes in human communication are making trust-building and online advocacy critical priorities for brands. Trust in traditional media is declining while trust in social media is increasing. In addition, people trust information and official corporate channels less, while trusting employees more. The ways that brands connect with customers must change. Ultimately, brands that empower their employees in social media give a tremendous gift to their audiences in the form of expertise, diversity and passion,” says Susan Emerick, author of “The Most Powerful Brand on Earth.”
What does this mean for the personal brand?
Gaurav Gulati, a personal branding and engagement expert, and Jeanne Meister, co-author of “The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees,” say that corporate and personal objectives can be accomplished in unison with respect— and benefits—for both parties, according to a report by Sodexo, the world leader in services that improve quality of life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance.
The questions and issues employees need to consider include:
1. What restrictions are employers putting on employees under the guise of “protecting the company’s brand?” And how if any does it affect your personal brands authenticity?
2. How tied to your current employer do you want your personal brand to be?
More companies are taking steps to merge and manage employees’ personal brands through the corporate lens.
3. Are you benefiting from the shared relationship? “The personal brand should really be the essence of who a person is, their relevant expertise and passion. Too many social media ‘strategies’ today focus on tools that will be implemented; impressions, friends or followers; or campaign goals they will achieve. Too few social media strategies specify the relationships they intend to nurture and the business value that the organization expects to accrue from those relationships,” says Emerick.