Published on December 21, 2017, at 7:40 a.m.
by Parker Rocco.
The term personal branding has transformed since it was first coined by Tom Peters in 1997. Today, more than ever before, young public relations professionals need to distinguish themselves from other, highly qualified professionals in the competitive job market.
According to William Arruda, a contributor to Forbes magazine, “The convergence of technological advances, along with rapid changes in the global marketplace, gave personal branding the oxygen it needs to live.”
With today’s technological advantages, young professionals have the ability to use social media as tool to promote their own personal brands.
While tools like social media make spreading the word about one’s personal brand easier than before, young professionals face another set of challenges.
Megan Perkins is the current firm director of Capstone Agency, a student-run integrated communications firm on campus. This year, The University of Alabama’s Capstone Agency took home national PRSSA awards for Best Tactic and Best Campaign, which is quite a feat for university students.
Perkins believes in the importance of brand consistency. “My personal brand aligns very closely to that of Capstone Agency. When you spend most of your time with a certain organization or group of people, it’s inevitable you’ll develop traits that are similar. Capstone Agency’s brand is professional with a snappy twist, and that’s the same image I try to create for myself,” said Perkins.
Although Perkins stressed the importance of brand consistency, she also noted the importance of remaining true to one’s self when representing an agency.
“Although our brands are very similar, I make sure to maintain a sense of individualism in my responsibilities with Capstone Agency. I think I bring out my own personal brand in Capstone Agency by focusing on developing the agency’s culture and creating a welcoming environment. It’s a matter of finding the parts in CA’s brand that are most important to me for my personal brand,” said Perkins.
To balance her personal brand with that of Capstone Agency, Perkins relies on social media.
“My personal brand is reflected in the tone of my tweets and posts, as well as in the material I share or retweet. When I post about business-related concepts, I always try to add a bit of humor. When I post on social media, I try to imagine what I would say if I were talking to someone in person about the subject to ensure it truly reflects my personal voice,” said Perkins.
Additionally, Perkins believes social media is a great tool to convey one’s personal brand to followers, who tend to follow accounts with a consistent feel.
According to Perkins, “My favorite social media accounts to follow are the ones with the strongest personal brand. I’ve seen some people who use a theme for their Instagram captions or create a personal hashtag for their posts. It’s appealing to the audience to follow someone that they know what to expect from them.”
Others also see the importance in relying on social media to convey one’s personal brand. Maret Montanari, assistant firm director of Capstone Agency, uses social media to promote her personal brand, sharing pieces of her personal and professional life.
“I try to maintain my personal brand on my social media accounts by expressing who I am in a professional manner but with a twist of personality,” said Montanari. “I include fun tidbits in my Twitter bio, such as I am an ‘ENFJ’ personality type. Furthermore, I share snippets of my daily life combined with work-related experiences. It’s important to convey yourself as real, approachable and most important to my brand: passionate.’
Additionally, in today’s technological advanced world, first impressions are often on social media. Before job interviews, professionals often check applicants’ social media profiles.
According to Montanari, people’s first opinions of you are often formed from social media. It’s important to translate what you want people to view you as on social media. “Be consistent with whatever your brand is and let that message speak for itself,” said Montanari.
A personal brand should convey a clear, consistent message about the person. It is important to create a balance between one’s personal and professional life to showcase one’s true self.