1. What is Your Definition of Personal Branding?

I think that most people have a mistaken view of personal branding.

They think it has something to do with becoming famous, looking good or crafting an image. While those tend to be the by-products of effective personal branding, they are certainly not the aim.

 

At its core, personal branding is the process of discovering and articulating your value, then using your abilities to make a difference to a sharply defined group of people.

 

Above all, it’s a commitment to serve, to help others realise their goals, to make a stand for something and to defend a set of values which you believe need to be upheld.

 

2. Ideally, Who Needs Personal Branding?

Studies show that in 10 years 30% of us will switch to contract or freelance work. A large proportion of the rest will try to start a business.

If it sounds like you might belong to that group, a personal brand is a must because it will enable you to differentiate yourself from the competition and build strong, meaningful relationships which are centered around delivering value – two essential components of contract work and entrepreneurship.

 

This is not to say personal branding is not useful to people who wish to remain full-time, salaried employees.

 

To the contrary, it’s valuable wherever a competitive edge is required – specifically for executives, managers, people with a highly technical background and so on.

The one type of person who doesn’t need a personal brand is one who is happy to plod along in their 9 to 5, punching the clock and doing the bare minimum. Of course, they probably won’t have a job in 10 years – they just don’t know it yet.

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3. Is Personal Branding Essential For The Modern Employee?

No.

It’s only essential for an employee who wants to future-proof their career, who seeks to leverage digital technology to present themselves with excellent job opportunities and – most importantly – who views work as an opportunity to build something (not just collect a paycheck).

 

4. How Important Is Social Media For Getting Job Opportunities?

Extremely so. Recruiters and hiring managers will check you out online before calling you in for an interview.

Imagine that you’re applying for a job in marketing, for example. If you have a blog where you discuss latest marketing trends, connect ideas, challenge the status quo and interact with a healthy following, you’ll have a huge edge over your competition.

Conversely, if your social media presence consists mainly of party photos and ironic hashtags, you might find job search a struggle.

 

5. Does Having a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram Profile Mean You Are Automatically Building A Personal Brand? 

The platforms themselves are not unlike elephants in the room – they’re the most visible, yet least least important element of personal branding.

They are simply there to amplify your message and deliver it to the right audience.

If you don’t know your message, can’t articulate your value or don’t know your audience you’ll be making a lot of online noise (and might look impressive), but not much of this noise will translate to tangible business and career results.

 

6. How Has The Increasing Use Of Technology And Internet Changed The Role Of Personal Branding In Our Society?

If you clear about your purpose and know how you want to make your mark on the world, technology has made it easier for you to achieve your goals.

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It has also helped a lot of people get lost – those who aren’t clear about their value can waste copious amounts of time wondering “how do I get more Twitter followers?” or something similar.

 

7. What Is The Future For Social Media And Personal Branding?

I think in the next 10 years we’ll see technology, integrated with social media, permeate every part of our life.

This is another way of saying that we’ll see the beginnings of useful Artificial Intelligence.

In the context of personal branding, this will mean that saying something like “I need a new job” to your digital device will bring up a shortlist of economic opportunities that are tailored to you with razor-sharp precision.

All this will be done by analysing the trail of digital information which you have left as a by-product of your professional and personal life.

For example, Google could let you know that a company in Dubai is currently looking to hire an IT Project Manager for 6 months – and that you should apply immediately – on the basis that:

  • it knows that your blog is about IT Project Management
  • you just broke up with your partner (Facebook status recently changed to Single)
  • keywords in your LinkedIn profile and the job ad copy are a match
  • you’ve travelled to the Middle East before and left reviews with keywords “must return one day” and “love the food” on TripAdvisor
  • you have a 2nd degree connection with the project lead on LinkedIn

Will Google get it right? Probably not every time – and especially not at the beginning. Just look at Siri – after so many years, it’s still largely useless.

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But we all know by know that the main problem in the world is lack of resourcefulness – not a lack of resources –  and the digital world has the power to bridge that gap by augmenting our ability to find the right people at the right time.

Personal branding is very much at the centre of that.