Everyone has a personal brand, whether they know it or not. At its most basic, your personal brand is what you stand for and how you present yourself to the world. As importantly, it affects how the world sees you. Your personal brand communicates your essence and your value to the people you meet. It’s particularly vital when it comes to your career because a brand sets you apart and makes you distinctive, memorable and valuable.
I’ve written extensively on personal branding—why not take a look at my online archive familiarise yourself with the general concept?
What I want to tackle in these blogs is a related concept: personal branding for leaders. Having worked with many leaders, I have come to realise that many leaders do not put enough emphasise on this vital aspect and the importance of it in their leadership journey.
A leader’s personal brand is an extension of his or her personal brand, but geared specifically to leadership. Whether you’re just starting out or are already on the leadership ladder, a leader’s personal brand has to signal not just who he or she is but what kind of leader they are.
There are several clear benefits to building an authentic and compelling leadership brand:
- A personal leadership brand allows one to define the kind of leader one wants to be—a first step that people often skip.
- In turn, this allows one to become much more self-aware, intentional and consistent about one’s behaviours, actions and motivation as a leader.
- Because one knows what the brand stands for and is acting more intentionally, it’s much easier to control the brand and how it is seen in the marketplace and with key stakeholders.
- A powerful and authentic brand helps a leader raise his or her profile, to stand out from other leaders, particularly in a cluttered business or industry with lots of competing noise.
- Finally, a leader can use his or her brand as an effective way to communicate with, and mobilise, his or her team in order to drive business performance.
A caveat: In today’s world, where so much happens online and social media rules, leaders are under particular scrutiny. This makes it vital that your personal leadership brand is consonant with who you are and what you stand for in a way that is truly authentic.
This blog series is intended to provide some guidance as you go about developing and refining your personal leadership brand.