Event recap: Personal Brand, The New Secret Weapon of Corporate Communications

Jay Palter was invited to give a presentation on personal branding at the PD luncheon on January 15, hosted at the Westin hotel. As a social strategist, Palter has worked with several corporate and non-profit clients since he launched his first web software business twenty years ago. His presentation on personal branding reinforced the importance of social networking and personal branding as a corporate public relations strategy.

Many people working in public relations have various ideas of how personal branding and social media can be used effectively, if at all. Palter understood this. However, he also indicated that the increasing popularity of freelancing and independent work is making socializing more necessary in business.

Palter said, “There’s a growing need to understand social networking and personal branding for your own professional life.” He organized his presentation as both a reminder as well as an introduction to the benefits of personal branding, keeping in mind the different types of experiences people have had in their careers.

“A lot of businesses think that social media is something that is easy to ignore,“ Palter explained, “But that’s not true. Business is fundamentally social.” Often, the valuable services that a business provides are not enough for it to become successful. People do business with who they know, like and trust. In order to succeed, the business will need to build social connection with different publics and nurture those relationships. This is important to customers, as well as other target audiences, such as employees and the media.

Palter explained that it has become more effective to incorporate social media tools into a corporation’s public relations strategy in order to foster these positive relationships. Social media tools, such as Twitter, help to accomplish effective personal branding, which is at the core of social networking. Social media makes for easy communication and helps humanize the business’s brand.

Palter used the success of Peter Aceto as valuable example. Aceto is the President and CEO of Tangerine. His activity on Twitter has made customers and employees like and trust Tangerine, as Aceto appears more personable to those publics. However, Aceto’s strategy was not successful simply because he promoted his business and his new book Weology.

In his presentation, Palter also explained the different personal branding strategies a business may use. Specifically, the promotion of others through social media was highlighted. Instead of blatant self-promotion, engaging with others through social media and sharing information from other accounts can make a corporation appear more human as well as an informal source of information.

Palter was grateful for the opportunity to share his knowledge. He found the group that attended to be very interested in the topic, and he appreciated their contributing comments. Likewise, a great amount of valuable information was taken from Palter’s presentation.

Those who attended agreed that the presentation was an overall success. One attendee in particular noted, “He was very knowledgeable on the subject. And he was also very engaging and real.” Although many public relations practitioners may have incorporated personal branding methods into their social network strategies already, most found Palter to be informative and easy to understand.

The most resounding message that many people took away from the presentation was the importance of adapting to change in social media. Palter mentioned a number of times that personal branding is not always necessary for everyone to excel in business. However, he stressed that there are plenty of benefits gained from applying those strategies, and that it is important for businesses to adapt and change their approach as necessary. Doing so makes communication clearer, and strengthens relationships with target audiences.

By Danielle Carlson
CPRS Edmonton volunteer writer

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