Personal Branding

Welcome to the “Future Business” Blog.  As one of the goals of this blog is my own personal branding, it seems an appropriate first post.

As the world shifts increasingly to a knowledge economy, success becomes less about what you do and more about what you know and who knows that you know it.

Thomas Freidman in The World is Flat warns us that any job, which can be routinized and converted into data, is a target for export. Dan Pink in his book A Whole New Mind explains the same thing using a right brain / left brain framework. The left brain jobs are yesterday’s news while the right brain creative jobs are the ones that will continue to drive the US economy.

So, if you are a knowledge worker, think about what value you bring to the table. Why are you good at your job while others are not? If it would not take long to train a replacement and especially if that replacement does not have to be local, then you should think about Personal Branding. You may say, “I have to be here in order to manage the team. Nobody could do that remotely”. They could if the team was remote as well. Is your team doing something that could not be done elsewhere?

Personal Branding means that you are recognized for something. Just like product branding, you can be recognized locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. You can be recognized in certain circles or you can be a household name. You should think about for what you want to be recognized and by whom.

Once you have worked that out, how do you go about building the brand?

  1. Create a blog like this one, but with your own topic of interest
  2. Join real life and online communities. Contribute vigorously.
  3. Attend and speak at events / conference calls
  4. Post how-to videos
  5. Podcast

Once you have a personal brand, how is it helpful? Once you have given out information in the spirit of helping others and establishing your brand, you will find that others are willing to do the same to help you solve problems, brainstorm new innovations, find a better job, etc… If you become respected enough in your circle, the community will rally to your side.

As time goes on, personal branding will become more and more important. We are already seeing some of the negative consequences. People are being denied jobs based on a review of their myspace / facebook activity.

Over time we are likely to see some erosion in the corporate entity as more and more knowledge workers become the center of their own network independent of their employer. This will necessitate and allow for companies to make increased use of “free-agents” rather than employees. You can be one of the free-agents, who is in demand, or you can be one of the employees, who is endangered.

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