The shift from corporate brands to personal brands

September 11th, 2009 / 07:09 by Ross Dawson

Was just catching up on Ray Wang and Jeremiah Owyang joining Charlene Li’s Altimeter group from Altimeter.

Jeremiah is quoted in the New York Times:

Mr. Owyang said that his story holds lessons for other companies. “I think this is an interesting trend that many companies are going through — personal brands are here to stay, alongside corporate ones, and the key to success is to make sure they help each other,” he said. “But now the power is shifting to the workers, because they can take their network and a lot of what they know with them, with these social media tools.”

The third trend in my recent Five key trends in how influence is transforming society is:

Reputation shifts from the corporation to the individual

I strongly believe in Jeremiah’s point that individuals and corporations need to support each others’ brands. In fact one of the important reasons I have pointed to as to why companies should support use of social networks is that it helps their employees to build their own brands, to the benefit of both individual and company.

Now, as personal brands grow in relative strength, corporations need to consider how they can best reflect and tap the influence of the individuals working for them. As Jeremiah notes, social media means that personal brands are immensely portable, as are personal networks.

This is about power to the worker, absolutely, but those companies that understand this and tap this shift can do extremely well. They can attract those with strong personal brands and create immense value from their influence, simply by focusing on building the brands of their key staff as much as they do their corporate brand.