Executive leaders are responsible for bringing together customer/market needs, information & technology and business models to create value. They have the responsibility for improving current products and innovating new products/solutions that represents result driven brand marketing strategy to boost business revenue.
This note supports executive leaders in recognizing and building their personal brand. It provides simple activities that can help to put the ideas discussed here into action.
The Priorities of Executive Leaders
The ability to influence and gain executive support is a critical success factor for executive leaders. This includes communicating their vision and gaining alignment of the business leadership.
Executive leaders report that their biggest challenge is overcoming internal resistance to respond to disruptions. Meeting and beating such resistance require them to convince their peers of the facts and potential futures that challenge their current plans and commitments. In turn, gaining executive understanding and commitment to new courses of action requires that the executive leader has a significant and strong personal brand.
What Is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is the context people use when making judgments about your messages, actions and requests. It is how they hear you and how you encourage them to take action. A personal brand is built via the accumulated interactions that they have with their teams and others.
Your personal brand consists of an internal and external views. The internal view relates to how you see yourself and the way you would like to be seen by others, such as peers, team members or the public. This view often embodies your beliefs, values, priorities and world view. Develop a sense of your personal brand by asking yourself what is important to you and why. The answers to these questions form a kernel for your brand. Alternatively, try to define yourself in three words or less.
The external view is how others see you. Unlike the internal view, this view is subjective and held by others. It forms the context for how people perceive, interpret and respond to you and your leadership. Gaining an outside-in view of your personal style and perception is tricky. Listen to what others have heard from your communications; that is, how they communicate your messages to other people. Don’t concentrate on them getting the substance right (i.e., “Are they repeating what I said?”). Rather, pay attention to the context, tone and additional commentary. Your personal brand is the intersection of your personal self-perception and how others perceive you. Executive leaders report the alignment of internal and external perspectives when they are most effective, powerful and satisfied.
Adopt a brand-conscious view of your actions and communications. Assess how you think about yourself, and how you believe others perceive you. This is the start for building and changing your brand. Pay particular attention to the external view when considering your brand as that view supports your influence. Your internal view, on the other hand, is the foundation of your resilience and strength. Keep both in mind as you look to apply your personal brand to your role.
Your Brand in Context
Brand value is directly related to brand context. A brand’s value is amplified when it is consistent with its context — think of a cold drink in the context of a hot summer day. Take a brand out of context and it loses value and may even become the object of humor — think of that same cold drink in the middle of a snowstorm.
Your brand is yours; you own it and develop it. You influence but do not control the context of your brand. Putting your brand in context means first recognizing that executive leaders can play multiple roles in an organization. Knowing the organization’s expectation of your role is central to aligning who you are with company context. Comparing the relationship between your role’s responsibility and its accountability for results provides a way to understand context.
Context is the filter in which others experience your brand, up, down and across the organization. Being aware and adapting your brand to that context becomes essential for success. Remember that being adaptive does not mean abandoning your principles or compromising who you are. Instead, being adaptive is the way you are yourself in ways the organization needs you to be in the current context.
Executive Leadership Challenges
Executive leaders face multiple and often complex challenges, requiring them to balance external needs with internal realities and capabilities. These form the challenges that bring a company’s context into sharp focus. Our research finds that the majority of the executive leadership challenges are internally related.
Working to drive change internally and externally reflects the unique position of an executive leader. How you address challenges has an immediate and lasting impact on your brand. Consider the three ways in which people understand and take action in the face of particularly complex challenges:
Way of thinking. This concerns the mental models used to describe the challenge, who is responsible, what the root causes are, and how this map to your experience. How you see yourself influences your way of thinking or your perception of the challenge.
Way of modelling. This is the approach and template used in crafting a solution or response to the challenge. Questions asked here include:
- ✓ What do we have to get right?
- ✓ Which forces need to be encouraged?
- ✓ Which forces need to be counteracted?
Will you meet the challenge with a process change, organizational change or product change?
Way of acting. This includes the plan and steps taken to respond to the challenge. It starts with identifying and mobilizing resources, and extends to the action plan and how you measure success. For example, do you form tiger teams, act along functional lines or take another approach?
We see challenges in the context of our own personal lens. The ways in which you approach challenges reflect your internal brand in action. Assess recent challenges and how you have approached them in these terms. Are there patterns, go-to solutions or other ways that help highlight how you see yourself and the organization? Bringing your personal brand directly into your challenges gives you a tool for better understanding how your self-image influences the company and context.
Your personal brand grows to the degree that it is aligned and consistent within you, with the executive team and with the challenges you face. Reaching that state requires a conscious effort to adjust your self-image, and the image others have of you with the challenges you face. That involves recognizing and working with different leadership personas.
Your Brand with Leadership Personas
Executive leaders are active participants in the leadership team, advancing product strategies, plans, investments and deployments. This brings them into contact and potential conflict with peers and other members of the leadership team. Influencing your peers, particularly to commit to actions, brings your brand into direct contact with the personal brand of others. Avoiding the potential for conflict requires being conscious of your external brand, how people perceive you and how you perceive your peers. Measure your message and extend your influence through being aware and tailoring your interactions in ways that work with others leadership personas.
There are almost as many persona models as there are people. One model that focuses on leadership styles is Merrill and Reid’s “Personal Styles & Effective Performance,” which organizes personas into four types:
- ✓ Analytical
- ✓ Driver
- ✓ Amiable
- ✓ Expressive
These are also known as “social styles”. They provide a shorthand model for identifying your own personal brand and the brand of others.
A Tool for Managing Your Personal Brand
Building your personal brand is an ongoing process that demands awareness of yourself, your peers and the challenges you face. It can be challenging to be conscious of your brand, particularly for executive leaders who report having a dynamic, high-pressure and highly visible position. Taking a few moments to inventory and understand your situation from a personal brand standpoint can help you build consistency across yourself, how others see you, the challenges faced and actions to take.
Jot down the answers to each of these questions. Be honest with yourself as this tool is just for you and planning for your personal brand. Once completed, look at the relationships between your answers:
How you see yourself and how others see you. This represents the essence of your brand — its current state. Consider the consistency between the two and how your communications and actions influence the way others see you.
How others see you and the challenges you face. This looks at your fit with the organization and its current state. Are you the best person to meet these challenges? What may need to change to create a better fit?
How you see yourself and how you will meet challenges. This represents the essence of your personal brand and the means to evolve it. This is the most important connection as your actions either reinforce or change your brand image.
Look across the page for consistency in terms of the theme of your personal brand. Remember that taking actions and engaging others in ways to create consistency with your internal brand represent a path to building a positive brand.
Recommendations for Building Your Brand
The ability to adjust your brand is an essential adaptive skill, particularly when you can adjust without compromising your beliefs.
You must keep these recommendations in mind when you manage your brand:
Have a focus and values. Know what you stand for and what you want to be. This is the basis for your convictions and conscience, both essential for leading in challenging environments.
Be true to yourself. While it’s possible to play at being someone different, it is exhausting and eventually ineffective. Know who you are. Look for opportunities to bring your best to your career, peers and organization.
Let others tell your story. Your brand is the combination of how you see yourself and how others see you. When you talk about your values and beliefs, people listen and then look for you to back it up with action. When others talk about you, what you have done and how it is to work with you, people understand and value the endorsement.
Be a positive force. This may sound trite, but use your brand to advance your team, peers and organization. This positions your brand in a positive light and builds influence, which draws people to work with you — the ultimate measure of an effective executive.
Be ready to learn and unlearn. Do this particularly as you look to adapt your brand. Recognize that it’s easy to build a track record of success by tackling similar challenges, but your brand grows significantly based on how you face and recover from adversity. This requires both learning new things, as well as unlearning past habits and beliefs. You will make mistakes, but learning/unlearning shows your true commitment to success.
Features of Result Driven Brand Marketing Agency
1. Digital expertise.
It is recommended to select an agency that has a proven track record of generating leads and driving sales in the digital space. In addition, the marketing agency should be proficient in the following services: email marketing campaigns; nurturing; social strategies; website development; mobile; pay-per-click (PPC) ads; content strategy and creation; SEO; landing page creation; link building; and marketing automation.
Analytics, measurement and data are essential features of a successful marketing campaigns because these prove the value of your goals and initiatives and enable better decision making–driving success at a faster pace. This is the reason why a good marketing team use these metrics to track their success and iterate. Jotting down the campaign effectiveness keeps you informed on the progress of the agency towards goal achievement. Analytics are utilized by a great marketing agency to measure the outcomes of every actions and utilizes iterative process using data to drive better conversion rates.
3. Focusing on storytelling and content
Content is a central aspect of good and effective marketing. It is essential to consider this aspect while partnering up with an agency that possess expertise in this field. An optimized content helps attract, retain and convert clients along with appealing the market giving you a benefit in the marketplace. Key and relevant content is an important aspect.
A beautiful and thoughtful design will enhance your marketing campaign and strategy by inspiring visitors to consume your content. Hence, it is essential to understand the utilization of content that resonates with your target market.
5. Knowledge of your consumers.
A good marketing agency should be well-versed in retaining, engaging with, and acquiring clients. This can be accomplished by gaining and possessing knowledge of market and consumer needs; meeting the needs on a continuous basis and offer value. Customers desires and needs should be prioritized to build marketing campaigns around them as it will ensure successful brand.
6. Emphasize on business revenue and growth.
Some of the marketing agencies purely focus on lead generation, user engagement or beautiful design. A good agency will also understand the ultimate goal of any marketing initiatives to drive business growth, user engagement and revenue. As such, they think beyond marketing and prioritize your organization’s long-term business and revenue goals just like you do.
7. Continuous education and learning.
The marketing agency is constantly advancing and evolving. Good marketing companies endlessly master new platforms, channels, theories, and technologies to ascertain their clients have access to the most effective and latest innovations.
8. Enthusiastic and passionate individuals.
A good marketing agency and its people are the driving force behind all of your technologies, campaigns, and strategies. To this end, it is recommended to partnering with enthusiastic, passionate, and creative people who genuinely love marketing and aren’t afraid to take risks and launch bold campaigns to acquire the greatest possible impact.