How Personal Brands Can Boost Your Company’s Brand Identity (or not)

personal brands vs company brands

Your Employees’ Personal Brand = Your Company’s Brand

The way your employees talk about work with their friends and families and how they work with your clients and vendors is all part of your company. Your employees tell their friends and families stories about their workdays. They advise friends to apply for job openings at your company—or not to. Maybe they complain about policies they feel are unfair and how their supervisors handle conflict, emergencies, and employee relations. Hopefully, they don’t slip snarky remarks into conversations with clients and vendors.

Or! They go on and on about what a great place your company is to work, how supportive their supervisor is and how the work environment is positive and inspiring.

It’s not just your brand managers, your strategic communications team or your top-tier executives who are selling your company and creating its identity day in and day out. Every single employee—no matter their job title—is doing that, too.

They are brand ambassadors. All of them.

Your Employees Are Brand Ambassadors

Are your employees talking up your company after hours, or are they trash-talking it? In other words, what kind of brand are your employees selling for your company?            

Your employees sell your company, often without knowing it, in several ways. For example:

  • Your employees might be the first impression your visitors, potential clients, or the public see of your business. For example, in just an instant, a cranky or dismissive receptionist can sell your company’s identity as one that doesn’t pay attention to the people who care enough to walk through your front door.
  • A friendly, helpful employee who troubleshoots a customer’s problem can sell your company’s brand as one that patiently works through challenges and makes it easy for your customers to stick with your business despite problems. Employees who treat customers well are among your best sales tools.
  • An employee’s post on their personal social media accounts about experiences they have at work can influence an awful lot of people and influence their opinion of your organization on their say-so. An awful lot. The experiences they share will impact your business reputation for good or bad.
  • The way employees conduct themselves outside the workplace is a big advertisement for your business. The way your employees behave, speak, or post on social media reflects you and your business brand, especially if those employees have identified themselves in some way as “yours.”

Aligning Employee Personal Brands with Your Company’s Values

It’s in your best interest to at least try to influence the narrative your employees are selling for your company. The most effective ways to do that are:

  1. Help them create powerful personal brands. A thoughtful, authentic personal brand based on an employee’s strengths and goals will empower that person to showcase their best self to the world. Try bringing in a personal branding expert to work with employees so they can create brands that showcase their own superpowers. Then, show employees how their personal brands reflect on the company’s brand identity. In the process, they will realize that their affiliation with your company is part of their own reputation.
  2. Educate employees about your company’s mission and values. The more employees understand what your company stands for, the more willing they will be to advocate for it outside of the office. Try involving your employees in developing new ways to communicate the mission and values as part of your business’s branding strategy.
  3. Make sure your employees feel valued. If your company’s mission, values and brand don’t already emphasize making employees a priority, do some tweaking of those. Make sure you don’t just say your value your employees but back it up with action. Consider ways to regularly show appreciation for the people who work hard to make your company successful—this will boost your employer branding. Happy employees typically are more willing to sing their employers’ praises.
  4. Proactively ask your employees to become brand ambassadors. Encourage your employees to use their personal social media accounts to promote your brand and spread awareness of your business’s values. However, discourage employees from oversharing about work on social media. Posting every little upset or mishap doesn’t harm the employee’s personal brand or the company’s reputation.

Your Employees’ Personal Brands Can be Your Superpower

Customers tend to rely on information shared by other customers or employees when deciding where to buy from or apply for jobs. Appreciate the influence your employees have on the public and use it to your advantage! Invest in your employees’ personal brands and watch your company’s brand elevate. In addition, your employees might just appreciate your company for caring not only about your brand but about theirs too.

Need help getting started? Check out my new book, Sell Yourself, coming this month!