As technological innovation changes the way we work, skill sets and career paths follow suit. For many of us, a job for life is no longer an option, and the disruption of entire industries is making us multidisciplinarians by necessity.
In the media and content industries, where disruption is threatening artist incomes, many have responded by attempting to diversify their revenue streams. Essentially, they are building a brand around themselves rather than relying on a single competency.
Services like Bandcamp and Kindle Direct Publishing are helping to enable this process by reducing the barriers to distribution, allowing artists and authors to harness the relationship they have with their fans.
It’s a model spreading to other industries. TeacherPayTeachers is a platform for educators to sell lesson plans to one another directly, and here too building a personal brand is important (the first teacher to pass $1 million in sales amassed 17,000 followers).
We’re also branding our professional selves by accident. As the boundary between work and personal life continues to blur, social networking accounts are increasingly becoming expressions of our interests and opinions. In response, services like Trustcloud and Klout are trying to add transparency and legitimacy to our online presence.
Ultimately, with the employer-employee relationship becoming more flexible and our online presence becoming more fully formed, 2013 is the time to start managing our personal brands a little more proactively.