In a world where it has become easy to claim every laurel, executives will need to veer away from traditional reputation building methods and start positioning themselves to be “rare and indispensable” in a crowded and noisy marketplace. This is the thought process behind personal branding, a phrase originally coined by management guru Tom Peters. Peters simplified the meaning of the phrase “personal branding” in this way: “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me
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Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Intuitive? Perhaps for some, but the rules of the game have changed for all types of executives- the well-connected, tech savvy and publicity adverse alike… just within the past 36 months.
How do you manage your personal brand and ensure that it generates sustained momentum to support your career?
1. Personal branding is a long process of self discovery. Building a marketing campaign for oneself cannot happen over a matter of hours. It is actually a long process of re-evaluating your goals in life and career. It can be a painful journey back to the past where you may replay some set-backs, and get honest feedback from former bosses, subordinates and clients. It can be an inspiring time when you think back to your victories. But the most important thing is to rediscover how you converted your losses into victories and led people “up the hill”. That is what will define you not only as a person but also as a bankable, reputable leader.
2. Brand yourself in a word or set of words-be a VITAL link. Think of Nike’s “Just do it,”; 3M’s “Innovation”; and many Coke slogans. These words have been associated with the product and because of this association people tend to gravitate towards them. The same thing is true with your personal brand. You need to come up with associations that not only best describe you, but those that will immediately catch the attention of hiring (read equity) decision makers. The best advice to do this is to stay authentic to what you are as a person and don’t become a “commodity” in the workplace. We often use the acronym VITAL to help in defining an individual’s brand; V=what makes you Valuable, I = measurable Impact, T = transparent in decision making, A = adaptable to circumstances, L= able to leverage leadership across teams and organizations.
3. Have a plan. With your personal brand now defined, you are now ready to leverage all that technology can afford in today’s marketplace. The slogans of Nike, 3M and Coke did not bring them the success they have now if not for the billboards, print and media exposures they invested on to let people know their bylines. Executives need to have a well-crafted go to market plan that balances traditional word of mouth methods with the best of social media and other communication strategies. We often use “100 day plans of action” to both manage an executive’s market strategy with the ability to adapt and pivot when needed.
4. Practice what
you preach. If you say that you are the “most energetic CFO” then you have to project energy in everything that you do. Be sure to live by your personal brand. If you say you are innovative, innovate; if you say you are strategic, let your records show what strategies you have made to contribute to the success
of your company.
5. Record for every milestone. Keep a journal of what you have accomplished. In fact, while you’re in the process of establishing your personal brand it would be wise to compartmentalize all your accomplishments. Once done, come up with a way to showcase these accomplishments in your resume in such a way that will tell stakeholders (recruiters, investors) your story and not just a run-down (and most of the time a redundant narration) of what you have done in every company that you worked with.
To get more tips on how you can develop your executive brand and improve your visibility as a leader/influencer in your field, join us at the Taco Bell Headquarters in Irvine, California on April 4, 2014 and listen to very distinguished business speakers such as Phil Molyneux, Chairman of SONY Electronics, Scott Tompkins, Counsel & Director of Concentrus Inc.,
John Polson, Managing Director of Fisher & Phillips LLP, Donna Ellis- Ziemer, Human Resource Director of Pendragon North America Automotive, Inc., Debra Squyres, Director of Human Capital of Trinet and John Davern, Jr., President & CEO of Virtual Assistant Talent, LLC.
To learn more about this session or register, please visit the ENP Institute website at http://www.enpinstitute.com/events/.