Young and Frugal » Blog Archive » Co-Brand With Your Employer

I work for a company that has a great brand and a cool culture, and part of that brand and culture requires that I adhere to a strict dress code of jeans (or solid color shorts), tennis shoes, a belt, a company branded hat (optional), and an embroidered polo shirt. Some people love it, some hate it, but it’s our dress code and we stick to it.

As a result we are all extensions of the brand wherever we go. After work when we all go out to happy hour we are walking advertisements and representatives for the brand, and the way that we carry ourselves reflects back on the companies brand; if we slip up, have a few too many, or are rude it reflects back on the brand. We know that this is the case, so we all go above and beyond to act gracious when we get complimented outside of work (very frequently) or attentive and helpful if a customer has a concern. It is clear my employer views us as a physical extension of the brand.

This concept isn’t new, it’s proven, and works, but now is the time for companies to take it a step further.

It seems like everyday I read in the blogosphere about a personal brand and why you need to have a solid online identity which includes, but is definitely not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. I always read pretty basic reasonings on why we all need a personal brand, mainly so companies can find you, you can control and own your online image, and so you can market yourself. I agree with all of these things, and I’m not here to offer any new advice on creating a personal brand; for that I recommend going to the master, Dan Schwabel.

What I am here to do is ask a question. Why don’t companies view their employees online personal brands as extensions of the companies brand?

Think about where you represent your company on the internet. Do you have your employer listed on Facebook or Linked In? Do you have a website that contains your resume?

These are primary places where we as individuals represent our employers in todays world. If I have an inappropriate photo on Facebook and my employer is listed, like it or not that photo reflects back on the company and the next time you are in a meeting with someone who has researched you, they might know about that picture of you doing body shots from your last vacation to Mexico. Yes, that is a poor example, but now let’s look at the other side; say you have a strong personal brand, you protect your online image, you blog, you tweet, you are active on Facebook and on great websites like Brazen Careerist; that online presence and your following is a fantastic venue for you to be a steward for the company, instantly adding more value to the company should you choose, or be allowed, to promote your employer.

“That sounds great! Promote us,” your employer might say, but wait…it’s a two way street.

Think of the way large conglomerates advertise their brands. Ziploc, Pledge, and OFF! are all S.C. Johnson Brands. When you look at each of those brands you know they are something different and individual, yet part of something bigger. Every time something good happens to the smaller brand, something good is happening to the bigger brand. If Ziploc has great sales, then that helps S.C. Johnson’s bottom line. On a box of Ziploc there is an S.C. Johnson logo, and on the S.C. Johnson website they feature Ziploc, even at the end of every commercial you hear “S.C. Johnson, a family company.”

Much like the conglomerates there is a mutually beneficial relationship online between an employee with a strong personal brand and their employer’s brand. If I put up on an “About Me” page laying out where I work and what I do in my day job with a logo and a link to the company, I can instantly help give credibility to my employer if you’ve never heard of them, and you might be more inclined to go visit the company. On the other side of the coin, if my employer has a link to me on a company page, it can instantly help give credibility to me as someone who is employed by a great company.

Zappos has a great start at just this, provides realtime streaming of their employees on twitter, but I think it should go a step further. Why not promote employees with good personal brands? Photo, website link, and twitter feed, all on the companies website. Make employees comfortable being online stewards for the company by encouraging it and giving them the ability to reach out on the companies behalf even if it’s not their job. It’s even in the companies interest to help employees develop a personal brand online.

The best way to increase brand awareness online is being represented, and if you have a good relationship, what better people to represent you and give you presence than your employee or employer?

Posted via web from AndyWergedal