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.
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.