Personal branding isn’t new. Our recently published ebook ‘Power Your Personal Brand For 2013‘ looks as far back as Einstein, Plato and Oscar Wilde – and sets what they talked about in terms of adding value, making the most of power and being yourself, into the context of 2013.
We believe that a number of factors have created the ‘perfect storm’ for everyone from students to homemakers and entrepreneurs to managers, to excel in 2013. Not by being egotistical, competitive and self-interested, but by being useful, collaborative and engaging.
Bankers, MPs and phone-hacking journalists
Ajaz Ahmed, founder of AKQA, the world’s largest independent digital agency, said: “In an age where transparency is the norm, what matters perhaps more than your wealth is your reputation. In an era of collaborative consumption, where we are increasingly sharing, it’s more important to be trustworthy than to be rich.”
We Brits love a good scandal and the media has always focused on the human interest angle, casting heroes and villains in every story. But in the wake of the banking crisis, the MPs expenses row, and the Leveson inquiry, there is more focus than ever on personal accountability, transparency and trust.
The social media revolution
As Pete Cashmore, Founder of Mashable.com, says: “We’re all publishers now, and the more we publish, the more valuable connections we’ll make.”
Without doubt, the social media revolution has brought personal branding into focus for 2013 and beyond. Whilst there was initially cynicism as to whether social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were relevant for professional communications (rather than just social interaction between friends and family), it is now widely accepted in professional circles that they can’t be ignored in any capacity. Whether you are a brand or an individual, anyone could be saying anything about you online at any time – and the biggest risk to your reputation is not being part of the conversation.
In this content culture, if you don’t have something to say, you quickly become irrelevant. And what you say can’t just be broadcasting messages out to people, it has to be dialogue in response to what other people are saying – otherwise you are just talking to yourself and, usually, being ignored. Everyone is now a publisher but, as social media evolves, quality is prevailing over quantity. So you need to use your power to publish to your benefit and to the benefit of those around you, not just be a busy fool!
The new economy
In our book, we also quote Nolifer Merchant, author of 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era. She says: “If the industrial era was about building things, the social era is about connecting things, people, and ideas.”
As we enter 2013, there is a feeling that this year will be ‘sink or swim’ for many – and for the global economy as a whole. We are still in very uncertain times and there is a concern that we don’t fall back into the trap of the pre-recession ‘boom and bust’ mentality. As it becomes clear that we have to get used to a new post-recession economic landscape rather than wait just for things to pick up, there is a greater emphasis and value on innovation and sustainability (not just in terms of being ‘green’, but being ‘fit for the future’). Succeeding in this brave new world will be more about challenging norms and thinking outside the box for the long term than making a ‘quick buck’.
There is no longer such a thing as a ‘job for life’ and the 9-5 working model is going out of the window. Even if you work in the public sector or for a big corporate, you have to be entrepreneurial and willing to constantly adapt and change to survive the new economy.
Moving beyond the gender debate
In September 2012, Hanna Rosin published a controversially titled but refreshing new take on feminist discourse, The End of Men: And The Rise of Women. It questions whether we should even be talking about gender equality any more. Instead, we should be embracing everything about post-industrial society that puts women – or typically ‘feminine’ traits whether displayed in women or men – in the spotlight. In 2013, instead of talking about quotas for women on boards, we should be talking about the kind of skills and personalities that are needed at board level for businesses and organisations to survive and thrive in the future. Whatever your gender, your intangible, unmeasurable, inexplicable but natural personality traits will become more important and go hand in hand with your qualifications and experience.
Making 2013 your year
So, why is all this relevant to you? By understanding the context in which we’ve entered 2013, you can make it your year. In our view, the people that will rise from the ashes of the recession are those that are prepared to take a chance and do something different or set up a business like we have. Those that are overly cautious and decide to wait for things to happen to them will soon get left behind. In 2013, you will need your own clearly identifiable and inspiring personal brand that motivates yourself and others to do things differently. And doing things differently doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change much. It may just be that you need to do more to make the most of what you’ve already got.
Click here to download the ebook, which is currently retailing at just over £3.