When professionals turn into brands

Monday, 13 august 2018 | Redacción CEU

Being no longer part of the horde of professionals and standing out from the rest is a difficult goal to achieve, but not for that reason unattainable. Thet work environment is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In addition, competitiveness is tough; everyone wants to reach the finish line. However, this mission is demanding and ambitious; not everyone is willing to complete the race. The intelligent use of the personal branding becomes a key strategy in this competition. Managing it suitably can favor the boost of a career, while forgetting and neglectring it can become a direct shortcut to failure. How to make the most out of a professional's digital footprint? How to turn personal branding into a strategic ally in the different scenarios that may arise?

 

Those who wish to stand out from the crowd must bear in mind that, in order to achieve this, their complete adaptation to the new digital ecosystem is necessary, as well as their imperative concern for the polishing of the image which they project in this environment. Although some may come to question it, everybody has a personal branding. The simple search for a random professional on Google clears up this question, no one escapes to their digital footprint. This easy tracking shows that the behavior on the Net is not harmeless. The most superfluous data can serve as a cover letter to recruiters, customers, investors, employees or superiors.

The care of the personal brand is not a minor issue, especially in a sphere where the digital world is becoming increasingly important. Its management can either increase the chances of being hired or promoted, or encourage the final rejection in a selection process. It may even motivate a dismissal! Such is the importance of the digital footprint that it can sometimes carry more weight in the recruitment of candidates than the degrees which appear in someone's CV.

Personal branding can also have influence on the level of credibility, help consolidate the position of professionals, contribute to increasing their network of contacts or pave the way in the culmination of an agreement. These are more than enough reasons to pay more attention to its care. Nonetheless, where to begin?

The spotlight is on the digital footprint

Personal branding lies in considering the individual as a brand. Thanks to this change of perspective, professionals can improve their reputation, distinguish themselves from the rest and increase their chances of success. It is necessary to bear in mind that the digital world is only a reflection of the real one, the image that is projected does not have to fit in the true one.

In other words, competent professionals can miss opportunities because they have neglected the image that they project on their networks, which does not necessarily mean that they are no longer efficient at work. The opposite case is even rarer, because building an online reputation requires a time and effort that not all professionals are willing to invest in. In addition, communication on the digital domain goes both ways, there is always a feedback that can back up or discredit the professional's reputation.

If professionals want to progress, they need to find out what the current situation of their brand is, that is, they need to examine their digital footprint. In order to achieve this, they have to try to adopt a neutral point of view and analyze what image they are projecting on social networking sites, how it can be perceived by an unknown person on the digital world, what stands out on their online profiles and, ultimately, who they are on the Net. Only in this way will they be able to understand if they need to start a rebranding strategy, if they need to build their personal brand from scratch or if they can polish their image and get to distinguish themselves from the rest.

 

When professionals turn into brands

Facing the different scenarios

The examination of a personal brand offers three possible scenarios from which to start. Although they are different, they do not have to be mutually exclusive:

1. Rebranding

Whether their interests have changed or they need to break with their past, professionals may need to reinvent themselves on the digital field. The footprint of their old image will never disappear completely, but with effort and determination, it can be redirected. There is always time to start over.

These are our recommendations to achieve it:

  • Defining who this new professional is and what their new working goals are according to them
  • Building a new network of contacts that corresponds to the new image and can help the professional grow
  • Demonstrating the value of the new "self", for example, by sharing their own content
  • Reinforcing the strengths of the new digital identity
  • Caring for the details of the personal brand presentation
  • Being consistent and constant
  • Being clear about what the change consists in and why it should be made
  • Introducing this new digital identity to old and new contacts

2. Personal branding from scratch

As we mentioned before, everyone makes their mark on the digital world. However, this mark can be small or have barely any impact. In a previous article of this blog, we explain what practical advice can be taken when it comes to building an online reputation. Reading it can be a good way to embark on this adventure. On the other hand, it is important to understand that before undertaking the mission, it is necessary to set some goals and formulate a clear strategy, in the same way that a marketing professional would proceed if it were a professional brand.

3. Distinction as a goal

This aspect, although different, should be considered the last step of the rest. Some believe that the final goal of investing time in the care of the personal brand is the improvement of the reputation, but, its great potential lies in the ability it has to achieve an effective differentiation when it is used well. Personal branding can become one of the most useful instruments when it comes to getting to stand out from the crowd, and this is not a trivial matter in such a competitive and complex environment as the current one is.

To be different it is necessary to have risk tolerance, to be innovative and to bet on creativity. Although the approach of a personal branding strategy can be radical, it must always be aligned with the goals and take into account who the target audience is, what professionals want to achieve and what the brand's values and the professionals' limits are. A safe bet on personal branding is the creation of an original content with high quality which follows the new trends on social media.

Being up to date on digital marketing and treating the personal image as if it were a brand are signs that professionals are doing everything that is possible to achieve the most difficult thing: being different in a heterogeneous world.

At The CEU IAM Business School, we have designed a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing that will allow you from the first day to put into practice a current and useful approach. Thanks to it, you will be able to take your personal or professional brand to another level.