Why Social Media Is Optimizing The Personal and Corporate Brand

We now live in a knowledge economy where the skills,experience and expertise of the executives and staff within organisations are what continues to make corporate brands successful.

Why Social Media Is Optimizing The Personal And Corporate BrandI remember starting work in the technology industry and as a sales trainee I looked up to my managers with all their experience, connections and influence with glowing admiration. I admired their personal networks and was even slightly jealous of their executive lunches where they made decisions and exerted influence. It was an exciting time to be involved in the computer industry as the democratisation of computing power was extending at a feverish speed with the rapid growth of the personal computer taking power away from the highly centralized mainframes.

Computing power was spreading to the masses and the computer networks then proceeded to evolve and grow as PC’s were connected to each other. Communication became easier and faster and the reduced friction for ideas and influence to spread accelerated. Personal computer  networks were first kept within offices and then they were opened up to connect other offices to each other.

Eventually the Web connected every device to each other either with wires and without.

Today we have social networks and we have many ways to communicate from many devices as we move around the world. The ability to spread ideas and to influence used to be the privilege of the few and this power was protected by the varied gatekeepers and the senior executives that had the control of the personal and mass media networks.

Today with the evolution of the social networking platforms like Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn and the ability of search engines to find information and ‘personal brands’ has democratized and leveraged the individual’s ability to network and influence with their personal blog, Twitter and Facebook channels.

The passionate and intelligent  individual within the organisation is being heard globally and loudly for the first time and  their ability to make a difference at speed is accelerating the rise of the “personal brand”. This raises some questions!

  • Is the corporate brand threatened by the personal brand?
  • Is it something that the CEO should be concerned about?

I think it is actually something that should be embraced as people are what attract other people to buy in a knowledge and social economy. An executive with his own blog leverages the brand of his employer some examples of this are

  • Scott Monty at Ford (Who is the Global Social Media Director at Fords head office)
  • Matt Cutts at Google (who is head of Google’s Webspam team)
  • Robert Scoble at Rackspace but was previously technical evangelist at Microsoft
  • Mike Volpe (VP of  Inbound Marketing) and Dan Zarella (social media marketing and viral marketing scientist with the title “Product Marketing Owner”) both at Hubpsot

These individual’s passion and expertise shines through and that only adds to and synergises the halo of their employers as people connect to the brand  as well as the individual.

There are many knowledge industries that  could be enhanced by the personal brand such as

  • Accounting Practices (where the individual skill sets of the partner could be highlighted via a blog)
  • Law Firms (the firms expertise is the expertise of the individual partners and specialists and highlighting their skills via social media channels would optimize the firms online presence)
  • Medical and Health Organisations (skilled doctors and researchers could be found and communicated with online to showcase the spread of experience that resides within the organisation)

The individual expertise of the personal brands that stand behind the corporate  monoliths has the power to humanize and optimize both the company and the individual and can bring great benefit to both.

Is your corporate brand encouraging your passionate and expert “personal brands” that reside within your walls to shine?

Comments

  • http://fastgush.com Shashank

    I agree with the you, Social media has definitely brought democracy in the online space.

  • http://www.smile.ly JustinAtSmile.ly

    Good Post! I think that personal branding only serves to complement corporate branding. Companies would do well to bolster their “stars” and the faces of the company, and allow for these individuals to grow within the social media space.

  • http://twitter.com/ankurdinesh Ankur

    Thanks Jeff for writing such an interesting post. These “personal brands” definitely do give a human touch to otherwise inhuman corporate branding. But how do we tackle if this personal brands get poached? At the end of the day, they are only “employees” of these organization.

  • http://yourcareerbydesign.com Mary Rosenbaum

    Jeff, this is a great piece on the value of encouraging your employees to develop their personal brands. Another benefit for the corporation is that employees are generally a lot more productive and much more engaged when they understand their personal brands and can demonstrate their value added within the context of their company’s brand and services. Consequently, this increases retention at companies while at the same time make them attractive places for talented professionals to seek employment.

  • Harry J Tucci Jr

    I think it is a great idea if, and only if, the individual is given the freedom to be honest. If the blog is just going to be another advertising mouthpiece of the Executive suite and serves only to reiterate the “party line,” I see no inherent value in it.

    I want people who are not afraid to blog and tweet about their company’s shortcomings or use the social media as a tool for solving customer problems. I do not see any of that really happening yet.

  • sarah sanrey

    Thanks for this information Jeff – am currently running a course to Business students on the importance of an online personal brand and this is extremely useful info and an angle I had not thought about – the positive effect of the personal brand on a corporate one. Thanks!

  • Coolinsights

    Interesting post on the balance between the corporate and personal brand. One o the challenges I foresee is in sustainability, ie how can an organization keep it’s online communities interested I a key enabler splits the scene. An example as you’ve mentioned is Robert scoble who is still associated with Microsoft despite leaving the organization a long time ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/prakash.gurbaxani Prakash Gurbaxani

    Have always believed that social media is great for “knowledge” firms. But “personal brands” as subsets and enhancers of the corporate brand is a great perspective. 

  • Nik the Great

    Jeff Bullas you rock…as clear as it gets.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Nik. Glad to hear that I made it clear. :)

  • http://www.athoning.nl Anton Honing

    Employes shoot be the big promoters of your company, that’s optimal the optimal brand “personal and corporate”.

    It only works when their is trust en commitment in your company.