What about them makes them different from the rest of the population? They are not a (human) resource, but a personal brand.
What is a (human) resource?
A (human) resource is a person (preferably human) whose knowledge and expertise can be extracted to the benefit/satisfaction of the resource owner. To get the best out of the resource, the resource owner will "feed" the resource by providing tools, facilities, etc., necessary for the function of the resource in order to get what the resource owner expects and more.
Based on the statement mentioned above, one can see that slavery hasn't changed much over the years. Instead, you get paid for your knowledge/skills.
In order for the human resource to remain relevant, he/she has to remain knowledgeable to the skillset demanded by the resource owner and the market. If you've been hired to be a carpenter and if new tools/means are available to be a better carpenter, it's up to the resource to find a way to expand/grow with the new tools available. After all, the resource owner expects 200% from the resource, else a new resource will be required and the old resource becomes "garbage" (if you're a developer, you totally understand what I mean).
What is a (personal) brand?
Personal branding was introduced by Napoleon Hill in his 1937 book "Think and Grow Rich".
A personal branded person is a person who is marketed as a brand. This person is a unique self-package (containing identity, services, products, etc.) that is identifiable and marketable. Think of any of your favourite music artist/actor. Why do you follow them or buy their CD or DVD? That's because you know their brand and you identify to that brand that whenever their brand are on market, it attracts your attention.
A brand is an asset, etc., which has a unique identity that contains a established history/portfolio, which the stakeholders identifies to, and has a goal to benefit the brand and their stakeholders. A stakeholder is someone who identifies to your brand and is involved to the brand. E.g., there are many soft drinks products in the world, but many identify to Coca-Cola than Pepsi. The buyer of Coca-Cola are stakeholders to the Coca-Cola company.
An advantage to a brand is that it has history/portoflio. This is crucial as your stakeholders can see the thinking process that undergoes in a brand. This thinking process is not easily identifiable from a human resource, hence why when hiring a resource there are interview process to identify how the "resource" thinks.
Also, an advantage to a brand is that the stakeholders looks for the brand, not the brand looking for the stakeholders. This means that you don't chase money, money chases you. A human resource, on the other hand, needs to find an owner that will hopefully use his /her resource.
Don't be fooled, once you become a brand, it's all hard work from now on since you have to remain relevant as your competitors can eat out of their shares. Hence why a brand has vision. A vision to keep relevant now, tomorrow and hopefully, forever.
Advantages of being a personal brand?
Being a personal brand has its many advantages compared to being a resource:
- Your reputation precedes you. When your stakeholders sees your name, they see your history, they understand your work ethics, process, creative genius and knows what to expect from you.
- You know your nett worth. That is a plus since you can negotiate higher and not lower. A resourceful person cannot quantify as "accurate" their worth.
- There is a sense of individuality and uniqueness in the mind of others. Unlike a human resource who markets themselves through CV (and hoping they can identify a unique proposition that brings value to the employer), a branded person continuously creates awareness of their product/services to their stakeholders such that they don't see just uniqueness in your product and services but uniqueness through the brand itself.
- You are constantly creating a road-map to success. Don't get me wrong, everyone in their lives have a goal. The problem, however, is that human resource don't put focus too much in their goals as the personal brand. A brand is always aware of competition and, for survival, they always have to be an expert in their field or they "die" down.
- You leave a lasting impression. A stakeholder follows their brand in every sense of the word. With today's social media, it's even simpler to follow. When your stakeholders have positive lasting impression of you, it builds credibility, respect, admiration in such a way that it becomes a referrals to other stakeholders.
How does one become a brand?
It's now simpler in modern days technological world. You don't have to hire a branding agent to market yourself. Start small. What some do today is to create a blog and create an identity in their blog. Be involved in community projects, whether it be online projects or community-based projects. The main idea is to create relevance and reputation about you, who you are and what identifies you as a product and service for others to be able to follow you as a brand.
I hope I have got my case across. The more you work to become a brand, the more you will realize your strength and value proposition you can provide (as yourself) as a product/service and, finally, know your nett worth.
Thanks for reading this post.