Dan is the leading personal branding expert for the generation-y audience, with an award winning and world recognized blog, a TV podcast series that he directs, awards that he judges, and a magazine that he publishes. He has written over 30 published articles in major magazines and online resources such as MarketingProfs and The American Marketing Association and has been featured in Fast Company Magazine, BrandWeek Magazine, Boston.com, Providence Business News, Brand Strategy Magazine (UK) and Yahoo! Finance.
Dan established the first 360 degree personal brand website, DanSchawbel.com, creating a new standard for career development. Also, he engaged and facilitated collaboration around a standard definition of personal branding and created the first template for a personal brand press release, focusing on promoting individuals through new and traditional media streams.
Dan has 7 years of experience in marketing, working at Reebok, Lycos, LoJack, TechTarget and EMC to name a few. He’s is on the board of advisors for a new geo-social startup called ((Echo)) Myplace. Also, Dan has presented to audiences such as DELL, Coca Cola, Fidelity and Bank of America and was recently invited to be one of the inaugural marketing speakers at Google. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bentley College in 2006.
Permission marketing holds true in every facet of life, whether it is a purchasing, publicizing or promotion within a company and beyond. All individuals are brands and to be a brand means to self-manage and become the commander of your career. No longer will companies have a vicious stranglehold on us, as we progress and evolve, we are in full control. Mass messaging, ad placements and billboards will have very little effect on our habits, attitudes and day-to-day operations. We are living in a relationship driven economy, one in which we are connected from brand to brand, based on networking, meeting individuals and developing rapport.
Word-of-mouth marketing is perhaps the most significant attempt at fusing people with products. As individuals, we purchase based on consumer reports, through influential blog posts or friends and family who have built up an affiliation with a specific product and may express an opinion, whether positive, negative or neutral. Word-of-mouth creates website traffic, subscription bases and is most commonly used for branding of a product, company or person.
Everyone can have their own website or blog, with very little startup costs and production time. You will notice that there will be an emergence of small business owners and consultants and they will eventually override enterprises in the future, as it is easier to touch customers, when you don’t have to go through tedious internet processes. Companies, such as DELL are building communities around products and interchanging ideas from prospective consumers, who are in fact building better products alongside the company. The times have changed and to reflect that evolution, companies have to battle for talent and their brand.
There are threats of course, as you are empowered, the company has lost power. If companies lose power, they are no longer companies, but organizations that house mini-entrepreneurs. Corporate culture is bound to shift and the direction of the company won’t be set by the CEO’s, but the personal brands within it. This is a potential danger to the organization, but an opportunity for the individual.
Grass roots economics
In order to be successful in today’s world, corporate centralization and hierarchical structures must disperse and reorganize. This is a threat to most companies, as their culture and structure is built on this old philosophy that not everyone is equal. Titles in general should be tossed out and motivation should be through projects, results from projects and references. In web 1.0, corporations spoke directly at consumers, but web 2.0 has changed that. Our culture will soon support user driven environments, corporate collaboration online and the boundaries that separate buyer, seller and producer will disintegrate. “Co-option” or companies that both compete and partnership will be common practice in the future. In order to build and innovate, companies need to leverage expertise both internally and externally to the organization.
As brands support each other, the magic can really happen. Remember that the talent is the brand, meaning that without people, there are no companies. By bridging the gap between buyer, seller and producer, you are in fact building a marketing plan that reflects everyone, thus it will be more successful. Think about it, there are so many marketing research firms out there that charge thousands of dollars for their reports, when all you have to do is pair with your target market and build a business out of that relationship.
What if the people you deal with are wrong or unethical? Yes it’s true that customers and partners are not always right. This is a potential threat, as they may intrude, by stealing talent like Facebook has done with Google or innovative ideas that were potential thought leadership for your company.
Years ago, you had to meet someone in person to connect. Today, meeting someone is a mouse click away. You can join hundreds of social networks that put you in touch with people in your town, state, or even continent. Starting a company or networking into a company is quite easy these days and the big word is “opportunity.” I even feel that there will be no more strict recruiting processes where individuals submit their resumes and cover letters to corporate HR systems. Instead, you will HAVE TO submit through a contact that you meet online or offline. That is due to competition and corporate structure.
Wikipedia has proven that information can be collected, edited and perfected within a single website. Anyone can harness the power of wiki’s to develop marketing materials, solve a specific problem or blend cultures together for a single message. People self-organize and aggregate online now and in my opinion, we can change the world, in a way that was never possible.
Smart networking can threaten HR processes and procedures. I say this because individuals can freely move from company to company, which puts the pressure on HR. They will be thinking “how do we keep our talent” through the next several years.
I can picture social media forms that contain multimedia feedback messages, cycling through blogs or websites that are picked up by companies. Everyone has a voice, can take a stand and become an expert on a desired topic. This is all branding and how we are perceived by others, as we take action and initiate projects or execute ideas. Blog’s actually match up individuals with subscribers, or those that are interested in their topic. By branding yourself online, you are in fact showing others what you are passion about, believe in and strive to accomplish. That being said, I believe that companies should recruit based on personal branding, aligning the talents of others with positions.
Customers who have influencer and provide feedback may learn too much of what the company has made public. This is a threat, as ideas can pass and be revised throughout the blogosphere. The more feedback mechanisms, the more legal will interfere, which is classified as non-transparent or withholding of information. It’s hard to win in this area, unless you develop a feedback loop framework, which gives the customer just enough say to make a difference.
I’ve been seeing and am a case study on professional and personal life convergence. In the future, our jobs will not represent who we are, but the opposite. Facebook is also evidence, as they target colleges, then high school students, then everyone and now for business practices. When you receive a Facebook notification from your manager, you know that you’re always being detected and searched. Facebook was a system that held your personal life together, allowing you to view pictures of your college friends drinking and partying, or to conjure up a social event for a Friday night. You can’t get away with anything anymore because “they” are watching you.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, has continued their focus on professional contacts, but I can see them spreading their wings soon enough. I can see this threatening the workplace in a few ways. One is, by joining more networking and setting a profile, you are more inclined to be recruited, thus the company will lose talent. Also, people will soon feel they are always working, which will damage their social lives and suffocate them slowly until they find a way to break free.
The old craze was on eating healthy; the new craze will be on separating personal and professional lives, which have been integrated through social media forms.