So, I belong to an HR Directors Whatsapp group that serves as a great networking platform.
Last year, I made an observation. I noticed that when members wanted to connect with each other, mainly to make enquiries, an announcement would be made to the group. It would sound something like this, ‘Please, if the HR Director of XYZ Plc is in the group, please get in touch.’
Something struck me. Everyone enquiring knew the names of the companies they needed information on but none knew the names of the people in those positions. The corporate brands were well known but personal brands were unknown.
Then I remembered an experience I had with an HR Director of a huge multinational a few years ago. One I literally chased around trying to get him to accept a speaking slot at our annual HR Bootcamp conference. He was too busy at the time. Today, the story is different, he’s retired from the job based on service years not age as he isn’t 60 yet. Funny thing is, we speak regularly now and all he complains about is how no one calls him anymore. At best he is referred to as ‘former HR Director of XYZ company.’
Well, when you are only known by your job title when you lose that title, you lose the corporate brand equity accompanying it. You are left with your personal brand, and if you never had one, you are left with nothing.
You see, corporate brands are great but, in my opinion personal brands are the highest form of competitive advantage for human capital.
Personal brands are talent management at its finest.
Personal brands are a mountain of value; they’re are like DNA, there cannot be two of a unique brand identity, hence they are the best form of differentiation strategy a person can embrace.
Now, of course, a personal brand may appear more useful to some careers than others e.g. consulting, coaching and speaking, but that’s a limiting belief. You only need to look at Richard Branson to understand how much extra value a personal brand adds to a business’ worth.
When a personal brand owns a company, the brand equity is leveraged by the business increasing its value. When an employee with a personal brand moves jobs, the company they move to gains from their brand value, inheriting their followers and influence they have. Staff with personal brands can negotiate higher compensation. This could be the next big thing in rewards and talent management.
Pay attention to your personal brand and don’t wait too late to start building it. Your name is your unique identity, be known by your name.