Over 30 years ago when I began my career journey, I never thought that I would be discussing professional branding. However, in recent years the “branding” term has come to signify the phrase that any leader serious about advancing in their career should be actively seeking clarification around.
So, I’ll ask, what is your leadership brand?
In my experience, a significant aspect of leadership success pertains to how the leader is perceived and accepted in their role. Favorable impressions are a huge part of the human experience, especially when applied to relationship-based activities such as leading people in an organizational setting.
Positive impressions enhance a leader’s impact and offer more growth opportunities than neutral or negative impressions.
Product branding is a familiar concept where product identity, reputation, and differentiation are promoted. In an ideal world, a product’s image is established in positive ways, and the market is made aware of its presence. While it seems natural to brand products, I occasionally meet leaders who fail to recognize how advantageous this principle can be when applied to their careers.
Leaders, while valuing the need to perform well and meet commitments, also benefit by establishing a solid personal brand.
This allows them to make the most of their skills and potential as they advance their career path. There are several key areas that formulate your leadership brand and, when developed well, can take you to new heights.
What Constitutes a Leadership Brand?
When it comes to brands, products have much in common with leaders. Look at your brand of leadership/professionalism as a product, because in essence, it is an extension of you, and the service you provide. Marketers illustrate their product’s worthiness, offering solutions that couldn’t be obtained without the product. Leaders are in a position to do the same. A product stands on a brand that makes a mark for its value. That’s exactly what successful leaders do as well.
Leaders with strong brands are sought for their value because that’s what organizations need.
A strong reputation is the fundamental foundation. In part, your brand is what you’ve done, what you’re capable of doing and what you stand for. Consistent performance and accomplishment build great reputations. This creates a brand that proves a leader’s capabilities or expertise.
Leaders with strong brands don’t need to search for opportunities; opportunities come to them.
A leadership brand establishes your voice, as described by Paul Larson in his book Find Your Voice as a Leader (Aviva Publishing, 2016).
Leaders with a developed voice have a presence: a distinctive quality that makes them stand out.
Your brand creates a following. As the saying goes, leaders don’t lead unless someone follows. People want to be associated with the benefits that come with success. Leaders with a strong brand represent success, attraction and influence. Employees know that a great leadership brand brings gains to everyone.
If you have a solid leadership brand, you fashion your influence in ways that create a lasting legacy.
This maximizes your impact, not only while you are in your leadership role, but long after you’re gone. Imagine such a legacy!
Does your brand have the potential of doing that?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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