The word “branding” has become a turnkey for the entire marketing process in general. When the discussion turns to “personal branding,” then we’re talking about something that is so much more than just a marketing process.
The trend in organizational restructuring that has continued pretty much unabated since the country’s financial collapse in November of 2008, has so disrupted and re-defined the marketplace, that individuals and companies are still trying to find their new identities.
In the case of companies, I think the process of re-branding is less complicated because it’s more about supporting the transformation of the organization and reconnecting with the customer. In the case of individuals, especially those that have been displaced from the workforce, it’s about a personal journey of self-examination, continuing education, and having a sense of clarity about the “new” value of work.
The process can be very emotional, especially for those who have been in one particular environment for a very long time. There is a natural resistance to change, a resistance to internal reflection, and a resistance to unload necessary baggage that has been accumulated through the course of a long career. That baggage is most often manifested in behaviors that the environment has supported in the past, but will no longer support in the future.
The most important thing to understand about those behaviors is that they represent the “brand” of an individual that is recognized by both the internal and external environment; in other words, by both peers in the workplace and friends and family outside the workplace.
Truth be told, the definition of a “brand,” whether for a company or an individual is the same: it is recognized as either one of value that others will come back to time and time again, or one to be avoided on a consistent basis.