6 personal branding trends for 2017
As we enter one of the more uncertain years in recent memory, the importance of financial stability, as well as the value of side gigs will rise. Because of this, building and maintaining your personal brand will be more important than ever.
It’s always interesting to look back at past predictions as you formulate new ones for the coming year. Whether it’s that civilization as we knew it would crash in Y2K, or that the world might have ended in 2012, it seems drama of impending doom often plays a big role. Maybe that’s because optimists would rather see what happens than label a year before it’s culminated. I don’t know about you, but I’m an optimist.
But before we look forward, let’s take a look back at the past year, to cover two important factors for you to consider as you think about your branding in the New Year.
Personal Branding Finally Reached Its Adolescence
While the term personal branding has been around for a little over ten years, I’ve seen a huge influx of people actually climbing aboard the branding train and wanting to take the wheel. Once thought of as a tool reserved for businesses or entrepreneurs, folks are now realizing that even if they are just hoping to advance their career in the corporate world they must work on their personal brand.
Companies Saw More Potential in Their People
In 2016, corporate leadership began to realize more that their employee's brands on social media could not only help their company put forth a cohesive brand, but could also attract more qualified talent and customers. More than ever, many companies began to train their employees on how to better leverage social media and their personal brands, as a reflection of the larger company brand.
/// Here’s what I see on down the track for 2017: ///
/ Influence and Reach /
If you’ve been maintaining a personal brand for a while now, good for you. You’re ahead of a lot of people. However, in 2017 I think the bar will be raised even higher. It will become more important for folks to identify their true niche and go deep with the content they share. In addition, focusing on making valuable connections with folks in your field, or who augment your niche, will be crucial to helping your brand stand out, and leverage influence.
/ Rise of Female Power Brands /
I see professional women standing out and up in their expertise and capitalizing on it. This will become a larger trend in 2017. Women are finally starting to see the unique niches and approaches that will set them apart from brands and industries that have been long neglected or forgotten.
/ Social Media Flux & Online Storytelling /
While 2016 gave us an uprising of image-rich formats like Instagram and Snapchat--and I think these formats will continue to grow--I also see media dense storytelling platforms gaining momentum this year. The growth and availability of high-quality images and access to content will still propel visual connection, but for those who want to flex their thought leadership, easy brand storytelling in platforms like Storia, will become a key personal brand building tool.
/ Facebook and Twitter LIVE /
Livestreaming will be a big personal branding tool in 2017. So fix your hair and put your game face on. It’s time to go LIVE. At least initially, this new tool will help your brand gain more eyeballs on Facebook and Twitter. Have you noticed that notification on Facebook whenever a person or brand you follow goes “live”? That could be you.
Facebook LIVE Map:
/ Visuals Will Continue to Improve (Fingers crossed) /
As a branding expert and designer, I sure hope this prediction is correct. Lately, I see that people are beginning to realize that a photo of you with a cocktail at some nightclub isn’t your best LinkedIn profile pic. Professional headshots are coming back, but with a personality. No need to be stuffy or old school. In fact, please don’t. Headshots and graphics that show a little personality along with professionalism will continue to grow in popularity in 2017.
/ Companies, Investors, Customers Will Expect More /
Last year recruiters and hiring staff would definitely check through your social media profiles before hiring (and maybe even after). In 2017, they will expect more. With the growth of personal branding and the availability of online tools, it will be harder to stand out without a stellar online personal brand. My advice to you is to take the time necessary to plan out and revamp your online brand. Put your best skills and values forward and use active empowering language, along with a fun, but professional headshot and you’ll have an advantage.
Remember, building your personal brand by not only emphasizing your skillset and experience, but also your values, ethics, and interests will help you differentiate from the competition.