Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, all leaders who have used their personal brand to lead a company. Personal branding is fast becoming a leadership requirement. But how best to do it?
The people at PTS Consultants point out that a personal brand allows leaders to develop more self-confidence, optimism, resilience, credibility, stronger positive self-image and identity, and greater clarity of purpose. Through personal branding, leaders shape their reputation and the expectations others have of them.
“A true personal brand is not a logo, tagline or elevator speech. It’s a strategically crafted message that communicates consistency through multiple channels. This includes both online and offline presence, such as speeches, conference presentations, publications, networks, social media connections, and testimonials authenticating their positive contributions.”
Glenn Llopis at Forbes says the personal brand for leaders is their trademark. “Your personal brand is an asset that must be managed with the intention of helping others benefit from having a relationship with you and / or by being associated with your work and the industry you serve.”
He says when you start to see yourself living through the “lens of a brand”, your perspective will change and you will become more mindful about how you approach the personal brand you are trying to define and aiming to live.
Margaret Manson, the founder of InnoFuture and Global Trendz Marketing, says leaders who are brands create Non-Negotiable Principles (NNPs) so that every person in the organisation knows how to make the right decisions and trade-offs on a daily basis. Think about it. Everyone at Virgin knows what Richard Branson stands for and tries to follow him in the way they behave.
“Telling people to do something is not enough,’’ Manson says. “Best leaders lead by example. They walk the talk and aim to personally experience what their employees and customers are experiencing. A leader needs to demonstrate that if it's good enough for them; it's good enough for their employees.
“Leaders can only be leaders if they are visible and if people see a reason to follow them. It can be just one message - repeated, reinforced, refreshed - as long as it helps people do their job easier, they will have a reason to follow.”
Norm Smallwood at the Harvard Business Review says a leadership brand is what makes the CEO and by extension the company distinctive.
“It communicates the value you offer,’’ Smallwood says. “If you have the wrong leadership brand for the position you have, or the position you want, then your work is not having the impact it could. A strong personal leadership brand allows all that’s powerful and effective about your leadership to become known to your colleagues, enabling you to generate maximum value.
“What’s more, choosing a leadership brand can help give you focus. When you clearly identify what you want to be known for, it is easier to let go of the tasks and projects that do not let you deliver on that brand. Instead, you can concentrate on the activities that do.”
He says leaders wanting to create a leadership brand need to ask some key questions: what results do you want to achieve next year, what do you wish to be known for, how do you define your identity and how do you construct your leadership brand statement. Then, he says, you need to test it to make your brand identity real.
Do you use your personal brand? What’s your advice?