How do personal brands impact institutional brands in the organizational management?

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“You mean a lot to me. I trust you.” When the dealer tells the sales executive, it sends a signal that this observation is the “coolant” in a “hot-bed” of relationships. The personal profile of the executive stands vindicated in a set of stressful circumstances in an organizational climate.

“I know your capacity. Your words have a lot of weight in your team members. You can convince them and get things done.” When the boss tells the team leader, it is indicative of the ‘emerging brand’ of this team lead.

“Personal Brands” are often used to build an “institutional brand’ – be it in a process, product, a theme or a value. They are aimed to create a ‘belief system’ that the association of such sorts is a guarantee to the institution that nurtures, produces or processes a theme, concept, process or product. However, in many cases, the profile of the ‘personal brands’ are glorified so much that the customers and consumers believe that many of these marketing strategies are nothing but a gimmick. They are driven to believe that they carry no intrinsic value.

Personal Brand is very important in the growth profile of any individual, whatever profession, industry or business, one pursues. It does not matter in what hierarchy of operation one stays, but personal branding is a powerful communication the individual provides to the environment in which he functions. The ‘halo effect’ the personal branding provides is often gravitating and facilitates in powerful interactions with the people in the system. It infuses some energy into the ‘belief systems’ that exist between the people. It acts both as a direct and a hidden catalyst or negotiator in formalizing transactions and assuring confidence.

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Personal brands are often excellent supplements and complements to institutional profiles. They help in filling the gaps in ‘relationship’ between the clients and the institutions.

Personal brands reflect the authenticity of the person in some domain of his profile, may not be in all. Nevertheless, a single or a few of those are good enough to project the value profile of the individual and through them, that of the organization. In some cases, mismatch between the ‘personal brands’ and ‘the institutional brands’ downgrade the purpose for which such images are created.

Celebrating a personal brand is mostly done by “protecting its value and image.” The sustainability and increasing visibility of the brand is indeed an asset to the individual as well as the institution that nurtures the individual.

However, in establishing, building and consolidating the personal brands one should take care of the following:

1.  It does not manifest into ego.

2.  It does not drive one to underestimate the profile of the ‘brands’ of others.

3.  It does not develop into a ‘hero-worship’

4.  It is not glossy and has an ethereal value.

5.  It is not just an emotional conduit between the institution and the consumers. (though in several cases, that appears to be the singular objective)

6.  It does not transgress professional boundaries to cause personal influences.

7.  It does not result in a ‘personality-cult’ where the individual’s power marginalizes the collective power of the team or the organization.

Though the chances of the personal brand shadowing the institutional brand does not very much occur in large organizations, its possibilities do exist in smaller organizations.

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In small organizations, the dominance of personal brands over the institutional brand can have both positive and negative impacts.

On the negative side,

a.  The relationships of customers get personalized and thus the business-line becomes unprofessional.

b.  The role and presence of the personal brands impact the quantum and quality of the business.

c.  The personal brands can exercise their free will to alter, modify and distort the institutional standards or operating platforms.

d.  The personal brands may polarize the line of business costing the goodwill and trust of the fellow employees or brands.

e.  Institutional or organizational health suffers due to uneven work, operating and human relationship environment.

f.   One of the challenges in sustaining ‘personal brands’ is the effort of these brands to hold their life cycle for a longer time creating support systems through “weed-culture’. This might pose management challenges and non-productive systems in organizations downgrading the morale of performance among the other members of the large family.

g.  “Personal brands” often subscribe to ‘learned helplessness’ to maintain their sovereignty and thus impoverish “creative competence”.

For a larger organization,

a.  The culture of personal brands and their dominance will lead to linear thinking processes

b.  The personal brands might become ‘the nucleus’ of celebrations and create roadblocks to ‘shared visions’

c.  The dominance of ‘personal brands’ might adversely shift balance of power thus creating H-R inequities and thus effective organizational delivery processes.

d.  The ‘personal brands’ often might adversely resist change management and their schedules.

e.  The exit of the personal brands might lead to ‘group poaching’ of the satellite workers used to a branded loyalty and obliging culture.

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Vigilant HR systems need to be in place to bring synergy between personal and institutional brands so that they are mutually supportive, and grow in a healthy manner.

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