Putting the people factor back into technology

International Women in Business founder Sarah Pavlou, on behalf of Essential Retail and RBTE, poses some questions for professional branding expert Runa Magnus.

You are a personal and professional branding expert, what does that mean exactly?

Great question! Well, my focus has been on helping people to develop their personal brands and understand how they connect to their company brands.  People buy from other people they know, like and trust and as I help fast-forward thinking professionals to discover who they truly are they are then able to live and communicate their unique value with confidence and clarity. I’m helping them to distinguish their unique DNA, what differentiates them from their peers.  When you as individuals know what you stand for, what your core strengths and values are, you become more confident and are then clear on what sort of a career you want to aim for.  An authentic strong brand is a brand that clearly differentiates themselves from other brands, giving them a head-start in the competition. I believe a strong company brand should strive to employ the best person for the job in the deepest meaning of that statement, therefore clarity is the key factor for both personal & professional brands.

How important is it for retailers to recognise not only their business brand but their internal branding, the make-up of their many personal and professional brands that collectively represent their DNA as a business brand?

I honestly believe many companies are falling behind by not paying more attention to their employees' passions and core values when hiring into their company team.  Companies such as Zappo’s in US is a clear example of a company that hires all of its employees by their individual values. In other words, you can’t become one of their employees unless you can engage yourself into their 10 core values. That distinction has given Zappo's an ultra-outstanding value in their customers' mindset.   

In today’s environment people are seeking for different things when they are looking for the right company to work for.  They are seeking for a place where they feel connected, engaged, and belong to a company that truly want to bring out the best in their employees whilst at the same time it is vital that those employees you seek are people who deeply share the company values and mission. It is a WIN-WIN situation and should rightfully be so.

What are the most common downfalls in business today when the people factor is no longer a priority?

Companies who have not been thinking this through are quite simply losing out. They are not getting the best people for the jobs; they are losing customers, because people connect with other people, not robots. I’m not saying that automation is out… far from that, the important fact here is to see how they can create a brand that represents the voice of the brand character, a voice that gives the customer the constant feeling of what the company is all about. Consistency is a crucial key factor.

You will be joining IWIB international women in Business at this year’s RBTE addressing the subject of Putting the People Factor back into technology/business. Despite the continuing growth in technology, why is the people factor so important in business more so today than ever?

For many reasons in fact, like I mentioned in your earlier question one of the main factors is because people buy from other people they know, like and trust – word of mouth plays a very important role and another reason is the company culture is something both clients and employees are engaged with or in some cases, not. Brands that stand out from the crowd are the ones that are doing things differently, and by doing things differently for a core reason, drives trust; people will trust brands that deliver. Brands also need to realise not everybody will love them either, and that’s the pain most brands (both business and personal brands) find a bit difficult to swallow.

As part of our up and coming seminar at RBTE you will be providing our visitors with some fundamentals skills and tips for bringing to their business the right people with a new generation skill set. Can you share a little of what our visitors can expect?

Motivating people is my passion, and therefore I will do my outmost best to give attendees at our seminar insights into the 5 core pillars to build a strong authentic personal brand, a strategy they can quickly and easily start to implement into their own lives and businesses.

As part of your visit to RBTE you will join us post your seminar in the RBTE Meet the Speaker at the Networking Lounge. For those who wish to learn more about personal and professional branding, I understand you are offering a gift to our readers and an opportunity to discuss in more detail on the day, can you tell us more about this?

Thank you Sarah, well, truth to be told, I will actually carry two gifts with me from Iceland to the RBTE event. Gifts that I dedicate to the fast forward thinking professionals who want to discover in more depth their own strengths, and how they can make their own magic with confidence and clarity by building their own authentic brand.  Not sure if it’s appropriate to tell you at this moment what’s in that wrapping paper. However, what I can tell; is that these two gifts have direct links to the European Awarded Leadership & Personal Branding programs I’ve created. These programmess have already transformed thousands of lives, and hopefully will continue to do so with the attendees who will accept my special gifts that day.

Runa Magnus will be taking part in a panel discussion at RBTE on March 12th at 15.30 ‘Putting the People Factor back into Technology’. The session, run in association with International Women in Business, will address the importance of the personal touch in retail technology. Check out the full programme.



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