Popularity of Personal Branding And its Implications

Personal branding in its simplest form is the application of marketing principles and tactics to promote an individual as a ‘brand’, with the expectation of gaining visibility, recognition and better career prospects. Since Tom Peters coined the phrase ‘brand you’ in the late nineties, the concept of self-promotion has taken off significantly. Today, it’s hard not to encounter material on personal branding; a Google search alone returned thousands of links on the topic.

Two main things (amongst many) seems to drive the popularity of personal branding. Changing work norms and low employment tenure means that job seekers need to engage in self-promotion fairly regularly. Secondly, the tools to self-promote are readily available and becoming easier to use.

Our survey found that executives are highly aware of the concept of personal branding. The vast majority (90%) think that it is important to promote their personal brand as opposed to the company they worked for.

Q. How important is it to build and promote your own personal brand separate from your employer’s brand?clip_image002

What will happen in a world where everyone indulge in self-promotion?

These are early days and it’s hard to figure out the implications, other than the fact that people are by nature interested in self-promotion and will continue to invest in building their ‘personal brand’. In this scenario, what works in social media’s favour is it provides the tools and the environment for self-promotion. Perhaps, job boards will be at a disadvantage because they are not really equipped to help job seekers beyond presenting them with employment opportunities.

What’s certain is the ability for someone to find someone else will be enhanced significantly. Given that our whole industry is about finding someone, the rising phenomena of ‘personal branding’ will impact all in ways we cannot yet fathom.

1 reply
  1. Andy Klein
    Andy Klein says:

    Very interesting research, Phillip. Although I think technology today may have even taken us a step further, where personal branding is no longer “self-promotion” that’s done proactively but instead something that must be monitored and managed! For example, take this excerpt from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google:

    “He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”

    The point here — and it extends beyond “youthful hijinks” only on social media sites — is that a lot of what we do online is captured and held in a record, available for anyone else to find. Therefore we need to be cognizant of our actions online and ensure that the Googles and Bings of the world are capturing only the info that will elevate our personal brand, and not finding the info that may hurt it.


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