“Branding” is obviously a buzzword in offices around the world, but the concept is so popular that the term has started catching fire in alternative workplaces, as well. Tradesmen and laborers in a variety of fields must keep eyes and ears toward their brands to ensure their customers are receiving the service and treatment they expect. To achieve this, blue collar companies are paying more attention to their employees — and their employees’ personal brands.
Personal branding has long been associated with high-profile careers in marketing and communications, but now workers across industries must understand how to cultivate an employable identity. While it may seem that tradesmen and laborers are too far removed from the culture of branding, in truth, even blue collar workers benefit substantially from developing a personal brand. Here’s why.
1. Start Standing Out and Showing Off
In many ways, tradesmen and laborers have skills that are more refined and demonstrable than white collar workers. During the course of their careers, blue collar workers learn to create with their hands, and at the end of a project, they have concrete structures that demonstrate their abilities. Physical, verifiable evidence of one’s talent and experience is something that most office workers lack, and something tradesmen can use to make their personal brands stand out.
Just as corporate brands elicit certain emotional responses from consumers, a worker’s personal brand can influence future employers in positive ways. With powerful stories and images of past projects, blue collar workers can separate from the crowd and impress their peers and superiors. By transforming hard work and talent into a tidy personal brand, a laborer can gain a reputation that will keep them comfortably employed for decades.
2. Start Exploring Other Opportunities
Because a personal brand is such a powerful tool to gain employment, blue collar workers can leverage their brand to explore employment opportunities they might never have considered. For example, after gaining experience as a truck driver, an individual might have enough brand equity to start his own freight business. Alternatively, a strong brand may help laborers find work in adjacent industries, such as construction, renovation, and interior design. Like white collar workers, most blue collar workers are not content to remain in lower levels of employment for the duration of their careers, and effective personal branding strategies allow them to grow and search out other prospects.
3. Where to Start
While much of a white collar worker’s last years in schools and first years in the workplace are focused on how to sell oneself to earn dream jobs, raises, and promotions, blue collar workers receive almost no training when it comes to personal branding. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to start developing a personal brand in any field. Here are three simple steps to help anyone create a captivating brand.
Step One: Think about what makes you different. As mentioned previously, tradesmen are more clearly distinguishable due to their perceptible skills. You should consider which services you are most confident performing and craft your brand around these. By focusing on your strengths and specialties, you can create a niche market for your unique talent.
Step Two: Use more than writing. Also noted before, blue collar workers usually have a physical manifestation of their toils when a project is complete. You can better use this concrete (or glass, or plaster, or metal) proof of your skill in multimedia — such as videos and pictures — to show potential employers and clients what you can do.
Step Three: Have a positive online presence. Many blue collar workers draw a line between themselves and new technology, but more and more companies are turning to the Web to find workers. By being visible online, you allow your potential employers to learn more about your work, which sets you above other candidates. You should maintain profiles on top social media sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, where you can showcase your work with video and pictures.
By differentiating themselves online, tradesmen and laborers can make names for themselves inside and outside their chosen industries. Personal branding isn’t just for those wearing white collars. More and more trade industries are relying on the same tools as corporate offices to garner attention from clients, and workers in those industries should do the same to excel into the careers of their dreams.