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.
I 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?