Maximizing your personal brand value in the hybrid world seems like a piece of cake. After all, in the before times (before Covid, that is) you practiced the techniques of real-world branding regularly in meetings, at networking events, etc. Then, Covid gave you a crash course in virtual personal branding thanks to ubiquitous, back-to-back Zoom meetings and reliance on online team platforms like Slack. So mastering the hybrid world is just a mixture of the two, right?
Yes. And no. Sure, you’ve learned skills and you have some experience in real- and virtual-world personal branding—but growing your personal brand in this new hybrid or WFA (Work From Anywhere) world is all about nuance, congruence and prioritization. When those three elements are managed correctly, your virtual and real-world versions will work together seamlessly, which accelerates your personal brand
According to the folks at Webex, hybrid work is defined as a flexible model that supports a blend of in-office, remote, and on-the-go workers. It offers employees the autonomy to choose to work wherever and however they are most productive. All good. But there are challenges too.
To build your personal brand so you can achieve your goals and increase your happiness at work, you need to master the virtual and the real in equal measure. The most important part of maximizing the hybrid world of work is knowing when to be real, when to be virtual and how to integrate the two.
Let’s focus on the most important opportunities for personal branding and how you should think about—and act on—them in this new mixed-up work world. In the hybrid world, you need to polish your presence in both realms.
Ace your first impression.
Your first impression will likely be formed in the virtual world. That’s because, even pre-Covid, we got pretty good at using Google and LinkedIn to learn about people before ever meeting them in person (even when they worked down the hall from us). When you focus on page 1 Google results and build a stellar, authentic, focused LinkedIn profile, you’ll be sure to build a powerful first impression. For the virtual world, prioritize video and images over text. For example, share video thought-leadership in your LinkedIn profile and add videos to YouTube so they show up when someone googles you, thanks to universal search. Just make sure what you put out there is fully aligned with who you really are.
Lead hybrid meetings.
Perhaps the newest challenge spawned by WFA is leading the hybrid meeting. First, you must acknowledge that the people who are together in the meeting room are having an experience that’s different from those who are connecting remotely. And each of the remote participants is having an experience that’s different from everyone else. To succeed in these meetings, prioritize virtual over real. That means overemphasize the folks who are not in the room because what they’re experiencing is a far less visceral. And being remote comes with more temptation to multitask—both of which mean you need to work hard to keep that part of your audience connected and engaged.
Be ever visible to your team and company.
Appoint yourself the company’s chief brand steward. This means whether you’re at the physical office or working remotely, you’re increasing your virtual visibility by sharing relevant company content with your online community. Make sure you’re connected to everyone on your team, to your internal/external clients, and to others so when you are out of site (not at the office) you can be top of mind (in people’s social media feeds). Just make sure what you share is relevant to how you want to be known, delivers value and gives you the opportunity to express your point of view.
Building your brand while WFA requires deliberate and steadfast commitment. The ultimate key to building your personal brand in our WFA world is to make sure there is congruence between the real and virtual—so regardless of whether your human interactions occur in a shared physical space or are happening via a mobile phone screen they convey your brilliance, authenticity and differentiation.
Feature Image Credit: getty