Qual caminho você escolheria?
Picture the following situation: you are the manager of a sales team for a beauty products company, and most of your salespeople do not have a strong presence on social media. But particularly one saleswoman is very active on Instagram and Youtube, where she has a channel of her own, and is even thinking about starting a Podcast. She mixes professional content with personal content, and sometimes you think she’s exaggerating by posting things that aren’t work-related and can hurt her business side. At the same time, you know that a lot of customers follow her Youtube channel. There she talks about hair tips, and you know that part of her sales come from that audience. You need to think about the best way to act upon this situation, and consider 3 options:
You tell her to stop posting professional content, to avoid any kind of problem. After all, business is business and personal life is personal life, right?
You encourage her to post as much as possible, because after all you know that some customers are only buying because of her content, hence you, as a commercial manager, are also interested in it.
You talk to HR about investing in a personal branding management course for her to improve the quality of her posts, encouraging her to post about her work following guidelines that the marketing department created, but letting her use her tone of voice.
Which path would you choose?
I believe option 3 is the right to go, because only the third format shows that you, as a manager, understood that your saleswoman’s personal brand is very valuable, and at the same time demonstrates that the company is willing to invest in her personal development – which is one of the greatest ways a company can generate employee engagement. All of this will be discussed throughout this article, based on a speech made by Warren Buffett, who is the main shareholder, board member and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
One of the biggest investors in the world, he believes that investment is not just about companies. On the contrary, he strongly argues that the biggest investment you can make is in yourself. This is precisely what Warren Buffett tells us in the next sentence:
“Your best asset is your talent: they can’t take that away from you, inflation can’t take it away from you, taxes can’t take it away from you, so when I talk to students, I look at them and tell them: you are an asset of 1 million dollars, I would pay you an MBA of 100 thousand dollars, that is 10% of your returns, which makes you an asset of 1 million dollars, if you do something to increase its value by 50%, like learning to communicate better, verbally or in writing, and you become 50% more, then it’s 500,000 more just if you get better, and no one can take that away from you. So that’s why I encourage everyone, when I talk to them in college, to develop the habits, because you already have the mental power and energy, but to develop the habits of success and look around you for the people you admire, and make a list of what you love makes them admire more than someone equally strong or equally talented, and these are things you can do, just write them down”.
It was early 2013, when I received a message via LinkedIn from the marketing director of the Match.com group, asking if I could help her put a discount offer on the subscription to Parperfeito, (the group’s dating site), for that Valentine’s Day. I was working at Groupon at the time, and after helping her to complete the offer, I received another message from her after a few weeks, offering me to participate in a selection process that they were opening for a person who would take care of the Business Development of the group’s brands, including an application that had just launched in the United States, namely Tinder. I agreed, and after a whole day of interviews, I accepted the proposal.
When I first started working with Tinder, I noticed the very strong media power that it had: the brand was becoming more and more popular, and I started to think that I could strengthen my professional profile by being better known.
That’s how I started to post some of the work I was making at Tinder on LinkedIn. I noticed that with each post, I managed to engage more and more audience and, at the same time that I benefited because the Tinder brand became stronger through social media, and so did my personal brand.
From there point and on I started to do this with the other experiences I had, at L’Oréal, and as an angel investor in apps like Zen and Filmr, and what with I do today by associating with companies of all sectors and sizes, such as Oi Soluções, Bradesco, Novartis, and so on.
My main thought was always this one: “In addition to benefiting them with my work, how do I benefit from this relationship as well?”.
You might be thinking “Andrea, isn’t this kind of self-serving?”.
Not at all! On top of that I’ll dare to say that it’s wrong not to take advantage of it. It’s too big of a waste. And you know what? Employees’s strong personal brands are great for companies, with some investing very well as XP does with Guilherme Benchimol, Explica Ana, and Primo Rico, among others. In other words, it’s a win-win. Wven though most large organizations would not be welcome to their employees posting about them on social media, this has all changed and today we can see the exact the opposite: companies are encouraging their employees to create content for the company in order to benefit as well.
Last year, I had the opportunity to speak at an internal event lead by GSK Pharmaceuticals. I had been invited by the marketing team, to speak to their internal ambassadors on the subject of personal branding, and it was amazing to see that something that was seen as a bad thing not so long ago, today is embraced as part of a growth strategy, brand strengthening, and even employee engagement!
But let my reasoning begin to explain the importance of your personal brand by starting with the following question: are you sure you will work forever in your current company? Of course you won’t. So let me ask you something: are you sure you’re going to work forever, for the rest of your life, at any company? We can also say that it is unlikely to happen.
What is the only work environment that you are sure you will have with you forever, for the rest of your life? Think about it, I bet you already know where I’m heading with this.
It’s yourself. It’s your head, your hands, your heart.
It’s who you are.
And that’s why the best investment you can make is in yourself, as Warren Buffett tells us in the statement above.
As much as I loved Tinder, I knew I wasn’t going to be working there forever, and as I put my best effort into working for it, I also made the most of networking, exposure, and learning opportunities that I could carry for myself, and not just for Andrea Iorio, the Director of Tinder.
I used Tinder as a platform for me to develop personally and professionally, and it worked: I started to receive invitations to give keynote speeches, which I prepared with care and care, and which gradually leveraged my parallel career as a speaker, which today is my activity and source of main income. All of that because I decided to invest in myself.
The truth is that if we look back twenty years, who would have bet that being a gamer would be a profession, that being a Youtuber would be a profession, that having a podcast would lead to a career? What online platforms like Upwork, Fiverr and Workana here in Latin America would be sites where freelancers can be hired with just one click, and build their portfolios to the point of working with just that? That Uber, Airbnb, iFood, would be able to employ so many individuals in these platform models, whose business volume depends a lot on the quality of their work, as it is favored by the algorithm?
No one, or at least few, had seen this coming.
Do you realize how the key to success in all these jobs above is the individual himself, and that the best investment you can make is in yourself, in order to make the most of these opportunities?
On average, a person changes jobs every 2 to 3 years, and by 2020, self-employed and contract workers will make up 43% of the US workforce, according to Diane Mulcahy, author of The Gig Economy. In a more liquid job market, that is, where more people leave and enter companies and where more and more information about our professional history is accessible on the Internet the sense that the exclusivity between the employee and the company is no longer needed, but as the employee increasingly has additional sources of income, it is essential to cultivate a good professional image to ensure that you always have good opportunities for you.
Let’s take a look at the case of Bernardinho, whom I admire so much. He is a known keynote speaker in Brazil, an investor and entrepreneur (his investments include edtech Eduk, food company Haru’s, plant-based NoMoo, entertainment Final Level, the BodyTech gym chain and Delírio Tropical restaurants). At the same time he is the coach of the women’s team Sesc RJ and will still take over the men’s volleyball team of France, in August, right after the Tokyo Olympics. On top of all that, during the pandemic, he started to be part of a committee of highly recognized companies such as Arezzo & Co., MadeiraMadeira with whom he did an important job of changing the culture, and Stone, where he coordinated the final phase of Recruta Stone, a program that evaluated more than 70 thousand young people and that, of this total, only the best three were hired.
For me Bernardinho is a perfect example of what I’m trying to say here. Try to answer the following question: what is Bernardinho’s job? It’s kinda hard to answer, isn’t it? It would be limiting to say volleyball coach as well as speaker or anything else.
But try asking a question from a different perspective: what competencies did Bernardinho build his personal brand around? That’s easier to answer, because we can say with certainty that they are high performance, teamwork and discipline.
Have you noticed that we will be less and less defined by our jobs, and more and more by our skills and abilities? That’s why it’s so important to invest in ourselves.
Jeff Bezos has a really cool saying that goes: “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” That’s it! Think about the case of a speaker like me: when a Training and Development coordinator at a company is considering a name for a speech but doesn’t know me and receives my recommendation from a colleague, what’s the first thing he will do? To Google my name. And the question is: what comes up online when people type your name into Google? Is it something that shows your professional potential, or is it an old tweet of yours that has nothing to do with what you’re doing today, or that is even offensive? These results are the first impression people will have of you. At the same time, is the information and content you are sharing on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites consistent?
With the proliferation of social media and the sharing economy, as we talked about earlier, it has become essential that we all work on our personal brand, that’s a fact.
Here are some tips to strengthen your personal brand:
Identify your “circle of competence” and separate keywords and terms that associate you with this area. In my case, you’ve already noticed that even the title of my podcast, Metanoia Club, is defined by the terms Digital Transformation, Leadership and Innovation. It delivers my 3 circles of competence.
From there, make your target audience clear: who is interested in these topics, and who are you interested in reaching? Try to look for the points of contact between the two spheres, and not only do reactive work, but proactive: try to get in touch with a new person from your target audience a day, talking to them and getting closer.
Create consistent and relevant content for this audience, including choosing the right communication channels. Sometimes Instagram is less important than LinkedIn, depending on the audience, just as a Podcast can be more relevant than Youtube, in other cases. Don’t forget Google either. Use these channels to amplify your personal branding message and make sure that those who want to know more about you have everything they need just a click away.
And attention! We don’t need to become a Kardashian, by posting everything on social media, but rather taking care of what is available on the Internet to ensure that it expresses the best we have to offer others.
Go to Google and type your name. What do you see? It must have been a long time since you did that, right? As other people with the same name show up, you’ll obviously want to show up first if you want to build your personal brand. If you’re the one who shows up, see what’s there: is there something relevant, or are there old things like videos or tweets that need to be deleted? For those who have a personal website, is your website the first one to appear? Ask yourself all these questions and think as if you were looking for a stranger you want to know more about: what am I going to know about him? Do I like what I see or not?
Think about it as homework, and tell me later on @aiorio_br
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