Personal brands carry just as much--and in some cases, more--weight than their corporate brand counterparts. Despite being rooted in the same goal, to promote an identity through the use of consistent characteristics, personal brands today are easier to develop (thanks to technology) and have grown to become more trusted by the general public (due to distrust of corporations).
As a result, many professionals and business owners have used personal brands for company-related goals, such as finding new clients, as well as personal goals, like finding a new career. Today, building a strong personal brand can even help earn you a promotion.
Increasing Your Value to the Company
First, it's important to understand the fundamental reason why a personal brand can earn you a promotion. In order to be promoted, you must first prove your value to the company in that specific position. Most of the time, that simply means increasing your value. The traditional means of increasing that value include increasing your skillsets or simply increasing your experience in your field over time. Personal branding can jumpstart that growth in value by giving you new ways to increase your worth to the company. If you can convince your supervisor that your personal brand represents an increase in your value to the company, you can easily make the case that you're an ideal candidate for a promotion.
Improving Your Client Relationships
For any position where client relationships play even a small role, having a strong personal brand is an indication that your client relationships will improve. New clients will be able to see your personal brand, tied to the company, and will have a better impression of the company overall. Older clients who have a personal relationship with you through your personal brand will become even more loyal to the company as you move to a position of greater responsibility. Having a vast network of contacts with your personal brand even increases the likelihood that you will be able to bring in new business to the company--which is ideal for those in sales or marketing.
Expanding the Impact of the Brand
If you can become an influencer in your industry, your personal brand will serve as an additional outlet for the main corporate brand. For example, if you have a network of a few thousand followers, each post from your company that you share via your personal brand will have an additional organic reach of several thousand. That increased brand impact can be tied to an objective monetary value, which you can use to further negotiate your standing within the company.
Establishing a Competitive Baseline
The perspective here is that your strong personal brand carries with you no matter which company you work for--if you leave your existing company, the value of your personal brand could migrate to one of your company's current competitors. The value of retaining you as a worker then increases, as the fear of losing you becomes greater. Do note that arguing this position can be taken as a threat, and is therefore inadvisable. The strength of your personal brand should speak for itself.
Adding New Resources to the Company Network
Having a large or dedicated network of contacts means you have access to a wider collective of resources. Should your company have a need that must be met, whether that's enlisting the help of a new independent contractor or finding a new manufacturing partner to help bear some of your load, your new network of contacts can be seen as a valuable resource. This is especially valuable if your new position will involve the management of external relationships.
Redefining Your Area of Expertise
If you're aiming to be promoted to a position that falls outside your current range of expertise, you can also use your personal brand to gradually shift your focus to that new area of expertise. For example, if you're currently in accounting and you want to transition to more of a sales role, you can use sales-related content to build your personal brand's reputation for sales expertise, and then use that resulting reputation as evidence for your fit for the job.
Tips for Creating a Strong Personal Brand
When you start building a personal brand, no matter what your motivation or what your current industry is, there are a handful of best practices you'll need to keep in mind.
Your area of expertise and your tone of voice should remain consistent no matter what. Just like with a corporate brand, if you make too many adjustments or change too quickly, you could lose any momentum you've built.
Share Original Material
While leveraging your corporate brand's content can help you build some initial momentum, you must share originally written material if you want to become known as an authority. Start a blog or guest post on others to increase your reputation as an author.
Reach Out to New People
On social media platforms as well as in real life, reach out to new people whenever possible. Talk to everyone you meet, and don't be afraid to forge new connections. The more contacts you have, the better.
Quote and Build Relationships with Influencers
Influencers are social users who already have a strong reputation and lots of followers. Share influencers' content and engage them in conversation--if you can earn their admiration and trust, your own reputation will skyrocket as a result of the new visibility and authority.
Personal brands take time to develop and start paying off exponentially once you've been at it a few months, so the sooner you start building a personal brand, the better. Even if you don't use your personal brand to earn your next promotion, the benefits of having one are practically limitless.