By Karen Armon, CEO/Founder, MarketOne Executive
A new trend is emerging from the crowded marketplace of leaders, many with the same experiences and skills requiring a need to distinguish themselves from others. This trend is called, “Personal Branding.” Personal branding is not about becoming the flamboyant “celebrity de jour.” It is about creating a message that communicates who you are, rather than what you do.
Personal Branding is the crafting of a consistent message and style that is so well known to your community or constituency that those who know your name can easily predict your behavior – without even personally knowing you. It includes crafting a leadership message that is so clearly identified that it becomes a leader’s personal style and, when matched to one’s personal attributes, creates a brand within the community (or industry) the leader operates.
Why is personal branding so necessary today?
With the continuing trend of the revolving door of top leaders — caused by mergers, acquisitions, and vertical disintegration of the back office — leaders must become ready for the next adventure whether within their company or not. The “musical chairs” phenomenon driven by leadership consolidation causes the need to stand-out from the crowd. To thrive, therefore, the winner’s strategy is not to hunker down and wait for the inevitable, but to create opportunities through a continual and consistent marketing strategy.
Does it mean that an executive isn’t fully present in his or her current role? No. It means that, in addition to employing the fine art of networking while employed, the executive must reach out to his or her community with a message (i.e. brand) that identifies what he or she stands for. The key question then becomes, “What do I want to be consistent about?”
Once an executive has identified the answer to this question, then a personal filter is created that causes him or her to know what his or her boundaries and limits are and to refer out those opportunities that will or will not meet one’s inner-most desires. This not only assists in finding the next opportunity but galvanizes an inner philosophy and standard that fits well within the paradox of leadership issues identified.
Developing a Personal Brand also answers the question of whether one has enough in his or her life to find meaning and motivation. Situations cannot and will not provide these and no amount of business challenges can fulfill the inner desires of an executive, except when personal standards and challenges are identified for oneself. Many today do not have this all important answer to create a rich life filled with balance, meaning and purpose.
The MarketOne Executive Bottom Line
Personal Branding provides an executive with a behavior and language style that communicates a personal legacy within an organization, in preparation for the time when an executive leaves or retires. The old Boy/Girl Scout standard of “leaving it better than you found it” is something that is desperately needed within the executive ranks today.