While most executives recognise the power of personal branding, many employees and managers do not. Simply put, employee branding is the image projected by employees through their behaviours, attitudes and actions. It is an indirect branding effect in which the communication of company employees serves to characterise their company’s employer brand. The term also refers to the effects that employees have on the image of their employer and the company brand by publicly voicing their opinion on their place of work. This image is impacted by employee attitudes and engagement towards the employer brand image promoted through the culture of the organisation. Importantly, employee branding can influence the perception of the employment experience offered to current and future employees. I recently had a conversation with the managing director of a large corporate travel agency who was taken aback with two interviews with two male consultants. Both were quite clear that they would negotiate their new salary, and that what she was offering was too low. They had good track records and were aware of their brand value. Confidence and culture are the major determinants of how far people will go with their personal brand. However, there are those who feel genuinely uncomfortable singling themselves out for special attention. It can be an uphill struggle to convince them that, in a global world, personal visibility is important for their careers. This particularly applies to women who are often reluctant to push their brand value and ask for higher salaries. By avoiding negotiation, women sacrifice more than money. They also sacrifice visibility, training, and career growth. Research shows that men are much more likely than women to negotiate for pay and promotions. There are also gender disparities in negotiation which can lead organisations to underutilise the skills of most talented women. This all leads to low morale, high turnover and additional costs. So why the change, and why is it more important than ever to develop your own brand? I like John Borghetti’s advice to graduates of the TIME program: “Be the best you can in whatever job you do and you’ll take people with you.” Employees can gain a competitive edge by establishing a personal brand that allows them to differentiate themselves from the competition. Their audience may be their current employer or the hiring managers of desired companies, but the goal is to stand out through delivery and reliability, and in doing so, employees will land their dream job. There are a number of fundamental elements to personal branding:
behavior. – Values, goals, identity and
– Cognitive, business, communication and technical skills that enable employees to perform their job responsibilities.
– Offering a unique value proposition or benefit such as a reputation for always delivering the best results; honesty, loyalty, integrity and reliability. Personal branding is an ongoing development that exists throughout an entire lifecycle, and as employees’ experience, competencies, physical and emotional attributes grow, so too will their brand. Again referring to John Borghetti who was recently described by the Sydney Morning Herald as having a “strong desire to succeed in whatever he does”, having a brand which combines a mixture of the elements outlined above has a positive effect on people around you. The “John Borghetti” brand is personal and effective. Establish yours and become a powerful role model. Judith O’neill is a management consultant, business and executive coach, and has provided business solutions to travel businesses and companies for the past 20 years.