How Employees’ Personal Brands Can Help Your Agency
As a marketing professional, you’re naturally always looking for new ways to bring in new business and promote your own agency. All too often we’re so busy reaching out to external sources, we overlook one of the most useful marketing tools we have: our own team!
In your creative team lurk innovative thinkers, clever contemplators, and driven professionals. These are people who live and breathe their chosen discipline, so why not use their natural talent and the audience they’ve already accumulated to build your agency’s brand?
How can you do this? By leveraging the power of the personal brand.
What is a Personal Brand?
As you know, branding is all about creating a cohesive look and style for a product line or a company. You want customers to be able to look at any of that company’s products and know instantly who made them. Customers can grow to love a brand so much that they become loyal to it, and those loyal customers are more valuable than gold.
Although your agency will have its own brand, each member of your team can have their own brand separate and apart from your agency. They might specialize in a particular style of design, focus on certain types of projects, or work with certain types of clients.
Leveraging Your Team’s Personal Brands to Benefit Your Agency
The quality of your agency’s work is directly related to the staff you hire. If you can show potential clients that your team is out there doing awesome stuff, they can feel confident you’ll pull off the same level of awesome for them, too.
The more high-profile your creative team is within the wider design community, the more work and opportunities will come back to your agency. Team members that are well-connected within the industry are invaluable sources for freelancers, hook-ups, and creative opportunities.
Utilizing and leveraging the personal brands of your team can be a valuable way to build your reputation, as well as giving your team the chance to showcase their talents. Here’s how:
Give Them a Bio to Remember
Make your team the focus of your website. Give them a bio that fully displays who they are and the type of work they do. Showcase their particular style and skills, and share details about their projects outside of work.
Is your video editor also an award-winning documentary filmmaker? Does your head of design also have her own line of greeting cards? These details show potential clients that your team is truly dedicated to their craft.
And at the very least, hire a professional photographer for their headshots.
Give Permission to Share
Sharing is caring. Allow your creative team to share their projects with their own networks and grow their own personal brands, which in turn enhances your agency’s brand.
If your clients give permission (and you can write this into their contracts), they should also be able to share project notes on sites like Behance and Dribbble. These sites showcase the best of a designer’s portfolio and are often scouted by design publications and potential clients.
Initiate Fun In-House Projects
Agency work can be feast or famine. When your team is feeling hungry for something to do and there isn’t any client work on the horizon, get them to collaborate on a cool in-house project. It could be anything from designing a poster for your account manager’s band’s latest gig to creating a design for a 3D printed portable office.
Whatever project you choose, make sure it’s something that will excite and challenge your team. Or better yet, get the team to work together to come up with their own creative brief.
Create a Growth Plan
Talk to members of your team individually and create an annual growth plan to outline their professional goals for the year ahead. It doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to their work at your agency and it can also incorporate new skills they’d like to learn and personal projects to complete.
Look at ways you can help facilitate completion of some of these goals. This may include:
- Enabling team members to take ownership and leadership roles in projects that are a good fit for their skills
- Allowing time to attend local events and networking opportunities, or webinars and online learnings about certain subjects
- Setting aside budget for attending conferences or workshops
- Encouraging experienced staff to apply to speak at conferences or conduct workshops
- Taking an active role in setting and defining company objectives and strategy
- Initiating projects that fit with their skills and goals
- Providing resources and assistance to help with completion of personal projects
Supporting your team and encouraging them to grow their personal brands isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a fantastic way to grow your own agency’s brand.