Why leaders and entrepreneurs should focus on their personal brand.
Why leaders and entrepreneurs should focus on their personal brand. 3 reasons that might surprise you.
If you are a leader, an entrepreneur or a subject matter expert, your personal brand should give you a competitive advantage. Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to stand out in a crowded market or in a corporate environment seeking the next promotion, a great personal brand could be one of your greatest assets.
Most leaders believe they have a strong personal brand. Yet, if you were to ask the people around them if they could define their brand, they probably wouldn’t be able to. Often times there is a mismatch in perceptions. 360 conversations or surveys often tell the story. For example, one person believes they are a great communicator while the respondents believe the person is aloof at times. That is the unfortunate reality of self-awareness at a low point.
Great personal branding takes focus, self-awareness, commitment and energy and
it will define your brand of leadership.
Being “time-poor” is a great reason not to invest in your personal brand, but it is less about time commitment and more about how you focus your attention.
Let’s start with a simple definition of a personal brand – a personal brand is the experience people have when they work with you. In conjunction, there is alignment between your own perception of your brand and the perception that others have as well.
With social media today, there is an inordinate amount of emphasis on the brand visuals – that is, your social medial profiles, website, colours, fonts and photos etc.
The brand visuals play an important part, but the essence of your personal brand comes from a much deeper place. It is about authenticity and generosity. A great personal brand requires you to ask the question,
“How can I continuously develop, elevate and serve those around me?”
When you stop using the cookie cutter approach to what and who you should be or what others think you should be, what emerges? That is where authenticity begins.
When you are able to do that with effect, a great personal brand will give you a distinct advantage. People watch leaders and how they behave and interact with those around them. People gravitate towards certainty. And certainty of personal brand (and therefore personal power) is an extremely magnetic quality.
Here are 3 key reasons you might not have considered as to why leaders and entrepreneurs should create a great personal brand:
1. It raises the bar. A personal brand that is authentic, relevant, disrupts the norm and is consistent requires a level of accountability to yourself and to those whom you serve or lead. When you hold yourself accountable to these actions, it shows other people the level of accountability and commitment to excellence that you expect. The upside is that this type of behavior can be a little “contagious.”
2. Maintain your relevance. “How can I serve, develop, elevate those around me?” When you regularly ask this question and then commit to delivering on the answers, it means that you are constantly innovating. You are responding to the ever-changing technological and societal needs of your industry or organisation. In doing so, you maintain your relevance. Maybe you have heard the expression that someone is “old school.” While there are plenty of good connotations to that expression, it often refers people who have not altered their approach as technology and society have evolved.
3. People recognise the value of your contribution. As a leader with a strong personal brand, you should always be aware of your contribution’s value and relevance. It is a powerful tool and never leaves people wondering, “what does he/she really do?” or “what is the benefit I am going to get if I hire you?” When you manage your brand effectively, quantifying and qualifying your value is front and centre.