One of the hottest topics these days, right up there with Big Data, is personal branding. Since technology is automating many jobs out of existence and altering traditional career paths in the process, the competition for remaining jobs has intensified exponentially.
In addition, the Internet has changed the way we live, work and shop. This disruptive technology has also contributed to the birth of social media, and along with it mobile marketing. The recent introduction of smart watches has created minute-by-minute alerts on our wrists and, in combination with smart phones, allows for the ultimate in one-to-one marketing.
All of these smart devices have functioned to tether us to them with constant updates on what is happening in our lives, as well as the rest of the world. These smart devices also allow for us to be tracked wherever we go, and transmit information on what we buy into the cloud so that sophisticated algorithms can generate predictive analytics as to what we are going to do and buy next.
This confluence of technology has also changed the nature of work substantially. We now have a variety of new jobs with titles like “data scientist” and “knowledge worker”—while many of the job descriptions of the past have disappeared. As a matter of fact, whole swaths of traditional middle management jobs have evaporated replaced by automation that provides more accurate, usable and timely management and marketing information.
All of this is the driving force behind the evolution of personal branding. Historically, people got a job and worked for one company or another for their entire careers under the security of the “corporate umbrella.”
It was kind of like an extension of their childhood where Mom and Dad took care of them. No one worried about having to market themselves, as the “company” would watch out for them.
However, these days the security of the corporate umbrella is disappearing as more and more companies are automating their operations and becoming one variety of a virtual corporation or another. Profits are up and wages are down. We read about thousands of employees at one company or another being terminated every month—along with a continuum of corporate consolidations.
Amazon is continuing on the path to achieve Jeff Bezos vision of the “everything store.” Almost anything that you need can be gotten with just the click of a mouse. At Apple stores, roving product experts with pads can get you any Apple device you want and produce a receipt on the spot. Even groceries and meals can be ordered online and delivered at your convenience.
Obviously, what all of this indicates is that if you want to survive in this new world of work you have to take control of your destiny, because Mom, Dad and the company can no longer do it for you.
You will now have to market yourself on the sea of social media.
This is a good thing because it will force you to explore your persona and skill set in a way that you have never done before. Everyone has a unique skill, but many people spend their entire lives trying to figure out what that is—and many never do.
The consequence of this is that they live unfulfilled and financially insecure lives working at jobs that they will never master. It is a fact that those who are doing what they are good at and enjoy have more fulfilling careers—and are more financially secure—than those that do not.
The process to develop your personal brand is one of introspection. The exercise of self-discovery begins with taking an aptitude test to begin to unravel what your unique skill really is.
Simultaneously, you need to determine your persona along with the personality traits of others, so that you can know yourself better and work more effectively with others, by taking a personality profile exam.
Once this is done and with this information, you need to reflect on three key words that describe you. Share these words with others whose advice you value. Once you have them you then need to polish them into your unique value proposition. For example I am: an author, educator and brand builder.
With this basic foundation you can them move on to marketing yourself more effectively. You should even build your own website wherein you can expand on what you have to offer as an individual entrepreneur, as well as a valuable prospective employee.
Once that is done then you need to explore all the social media platforms to determine which are best for you to tell the world that you exist. Do not procrastinate—do it!
Robert M. Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. His corporate life was spent in executive positions with IBM, Pfizer and EXXON and then as the CEO for several U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinational firms. Professor Donnelly is on the faculty of Saint Peters University, as well as Rushmore University, a global online university. His latest book is: Personal Brand Planning For Life, available on Amazon. He also functions as an interim executive. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.