Be good at what you say you’re good at, then make people think you’re even better.
In order to build a brand that stakeholders value, executives need to do a bit of research to work out what your target market wants, then build your brand to deliver in these areas. Your reputation is what your stakeholders think about you and as an executive it is your responsibility to create a reputable personal brand, not only for the benefit of your company , but more importantly, for you.
Become an Expert
An expert is someone who knows a lot about a subject. As an executive, you have probably spent years doing a particular job, working in a particular industry or you have the necessary experience and education to be called an expert. You are an expert if you know more about your field than your target market.
While people may compare accomplishments and formal qualifications when ranking experts against each other if you know a lot about what you do, you’re probably already an expert. The next question is whether your target market sees you that way. If not, there are a number of things that executives can do to be viewed as experts or opinion leaders.
- Run a blog with in-depth articles on your field.
- Join related trade organizations and find opportunities to have your expert opinion heard.
- Bank on your experience. If you have been involved in your field for a number of years or worked with many clients let people know about the issues and problems that you have helped your customers resolve.
- Get published on your topic of interest. It is amazing how much knowledge is residing in senior executives that will probably go with them into retirement.
- Write an article or do an interview for a trade magazine, local newspaper or popular website in your area of expertise.
- Get formal qualifications. You can complete certificates and short-courses in most areas in a few weeks—just make sure you pick one that sounds impressive and relates to your career.
- Contact your local university and offer to hold free lunch-time seminars on your core area of expertise.
- Provide a journalist with regular in-depth analysis of issues in your area of expertise.
Blogging for Executives
If you’re trying to build a strong personal brand in the Web 2.0 age, there’s no excuse not to blog.
- If you blog on your field of expertise it can help establish you as an expert or authority.
- Blog readers can go on to become clients and customers of your business.
- You can leverage a loyal audience to support your non-blogging projects, services or products.
- A blog gives you an element of notoriety, which will help you charge premium prices for your expertise.
- A blog allows you to network with other influential bloggers. You might be able to blog for them in return for promotion of your business or blog.
- Popular bloggers often get interviewed, which provides an opportunity to promote your personal brand to a new audience.
- Successful blogs can lead to book deals and other lucrative opportunities for an executive.
Ten Executive Branding Mistakes .
Not defining your personal brand. If you don’t have a clearly defined brand, people won’t know what you’re about. You may appear to be all things to all people, or nothing to nobody.
Having vague career objectives. As an executive you may be looking for your next opportunity. Your branding efforts should be in line with your career objectives. Understand what you’re looking for so that you can develop and market your brand accordingly.
Not taking advantage of LinkedIn. Much of your online executive branding efforts can be done via LinkedIn. It’s a great vehicle to showcase your skills and experience, but also allows you to learn from others, share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Networking ineffectively. The way to get your name out there is through networking. When you meet people in person or interact with them online, you should be representing the brand you’ve worked hard to develop. Take advantage of networking opportunities to perpetuate your brand.
Not developing your skills. Make an effort to strengthen and evolve your brand. Acquiring and practicing new skills are critical if you want to develop as a leader.
Not marketing yourself. It’s rare that people get “discovered.” There’s effort involved in getting people to know what you’re all about. Marketing yourself is an integral component of executive branding.
Not having testimonials. You gain credibility through testimonials. What other people say about you can have a tremendous impact on your brand, good or bad.
Not getting feedback. You are responsible for defining and developing your own brand. However, your own perspective is not enough. The insight of others regarding your brand can be eye opening and helpful not only to communicate your brand, but also to improve it.
Not having the right audience. You may have what you think is a spectacular brand, but are you communicating it to the right audience? Make sure the people to whom you are reaching out are the ones who would be interested in your brand, and the knowledge, skills and services that come along with it.
Not practicing the 5 Cs. Clarity, consistency, constancy, commitment and confidence are all critical to presenting a strong, effective brand.
Ref: A Guide to executive branding, by Bill Holland, 2011
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