The Rise of Personal Branding

Personal branding is not a fad. It’s trending north. You can get in the game, or not. You certainly have that choice. However, you would be wise to choose carefully!

A couple of Fast Company expert bloggers summed it up quite nicely in the article “Brand or Die: The Downfall of the Institution and the Rise of the Personal Brand.” The entire article is worth the read, but here are some key points along with my commentary.

–You can become an “internal evangelist” and a thought leader for your industry – all while working for someone else. This buzz about you in turn raises your profile and credibility, which then gives rise to the notion that no longer will you be an employee with limited options.

If no one knows your brilliant, does it matter? CFOs, finance executives, and other finance rising stars tend to put nose to the grindstone and do their work rather than creating buzz about their contributions and the short and long-term impacts to the company. If you don’t talk about it, it’s likely no one else will either. And if no one is talking about how brilliant you are, you aren’t in the driver’s seat of your career.

–This label [Independent Executive] applies to someone who takes their knowledge from previous employment and sets out to create their own destiny, lifestyle, and income on their own terms. This philosophy takes personal branding to the next level, because it is not just important for the professional or the entrepreneur, but it is now very important for employees who are happy to work in someone else’s environment but who want to be recognized, both financially and emotionally, for their very real contributions.

Research shows that executives who are socially well-connected typically make more money, are less likely to lose their jobs for poor performance, and transition quicker if they do lose their jobs. (Source: “33 Million People in the Room”). 

With a strong personal brand, CFOs can take control of their careers and foster powerful positioning with the choice of where to move and when, along with getting desired compensation.

–In the past, an unhappy employee had limited choices …. Now, in the new “Branded Economy”, you are all allowed to play the role you want in building your brand and building your value. If you don’t take control, you will risk becoming irrelevant and relegated to the position of a cog in someone else’s wheel.

“You risk becoming irrelevant and relegated to the position of a cog in someone else’s wheel” … that’s a pretty powerful statement! 

Are you a strategic Chief Financial Officer who has earned a seat at the table in your own right with a team that is following you because they share your vision and they want to? Or, are you the CEO’s right-hand man with a dysfunctional and unproductive finance team who work for a paycheck? Are you in the driver’s seat of your career or the passenger’s seat of an freewheeling taxi driver (no offense intended)?

–You have the choice to BRAND OR DIE. 

Die might be a little dramatic … however, extinction is an absolute possibility!