Personal branding is increasingly vital as companies seek employees with the necessary job skills to do their work, plus the personality and soft skills to fit well with the company’s brand.
I know this article in Entrepreneur is from 2013, but I think the following quote still rings true:
“As we market ourselves for new careers or take ourselves in new directions personally, we need to think as a brand and stay true to who we are and who we want to be.”
Some branding trends are universal, others are culture specific. I’m sharing the most common personal branding themes experts expect in 2016.
Making things personable
Customers want to feel a connection with a brand and how employees interact with them is a major factor in achieving that. What’s more, a growing marketing trend is to create company brand ambassadors in their employees. This makes it all the more vital that a potential employee’s personal brand blends well with the company.
Authenticity is also increasingly important. Customers can spot a fake and so it’s even more important for the employee to truly fit not just be trained to act like they fit.
I see this trend continuing and professionals will need to find ways to express their personal brand so both the company and potential employee can see if the situation is a good fit.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that for someone to better express their personal brand, they must have a strong understanding of what that is. What do you stand for? What are your skills? How do you convey this personal brand? Having an updated professional headshot is a major part of maintaining and communicating a personal brand.
More LinkedIn use
I think you will agree that it used to be assumed that if you were on LinkedIn, you were looking for a job. Not a good place to be caught by your current employer, right? Companies now realize the extreme value of their employees having a LinkedIn profile that is current and well-maintained. Their profile helps them connect with potential clients.
I’ve spoken many times about the importance of having an updated, professional LinkedIn profile picture. A selfie you took with friends is simply not appropriate. Your picture is the first feature people will notice on your profile.
As you utilize this social networking site more in 2016, make sure your profile is something you want potential clients to see.
Location part of brand
It’s no longer necessary for employees to work 9 to 5 in an office. In fact, they often don’t even need to live near their office. This makes it easier for employees to choose where they want to live instead of having to live where they want to work.
Where a person chooses to live says a lot about their interests, personality and sometimes, capabilities. A person’s location is now a part of who they are because it’s more choice driven than job driven.
As a professional headshot photographer in Northwest Arkansas, I get increasing requests for location-based headshots. Some clients still enjoy the simple beauty of a studio background. Others want to express more of their personality and interests through a location-based photo shoot. I can help people express their personal brand through choosing the best location for their professional headshots.
Being more visual
As the ability to telecommute increases, there is an increasing desire to find ways to still connect with an employee, client or colleague in a visual way. Enter, video and live streaming. This does not directly affect still photography, but I would offer similar advice that I do for headshot clients. Choose clothing that is flattering, not distracting, and in which you feel confident.
A growing trend expected to continue through 2016 is using personal websites to express one’s brand. This is not so much a personal blog where you share recipes and more a blog about your professional life. It’s also more than an online resume. You need a variety of pictures and discussion of your philosophies not just a list of places you’ve worked.
When I do professional headshot portfolios, I often shoot a variety of poses. I strongly recommend getting a full portfolio so you have multiple pictures on your personal website. As this site is used for professional gain, it’s another place where casual pictures taken by friends are not appropriate.
What do you see as a personal branding trend in 2016? What trends will you embrace?