Why Most Executive Branding Advice is Simply Wrong – Part I I

by Karen Armon, CEO/Founder, MarketOne Executive

Last fall, I sent you an article describing how personal branding began, what the definition of personal branding is and how personal branding works.

In this article, I want to share with you some more concepts about marketing and branding as they relate to personal branding that I think have been misunderstood, have created confusion, and, most importantly, muddied the waters about what one should and shouldn’t do to market themselves.

Executives must brand themselves if they want to have opportunities and a robust income stream now and in the future. There is no question about that. But there are a lot of different ideas about branding and marketing that need correction.

You see, I’m classically trained principles of marketing. Why are principles important? Because they have been tested and proven to work.

However, advisers and counselors who do not have a background in marketing tell you what they think works. But the proper test, always, of whether or not principles work is that they create best practices and benchmarks that are proven to work.

There is a difference between branding and marketing

Executive branding is a result of crafted marketing strategies with associated high-value actions, or tactics that result in the desired payoff.

For products, the payoff is that consumers buy the product and revenues are obtained. For executives, the pay-off is that a company hires you and income is achieved. But branding also has a long-term payoff.

For products, the long-term payoff is that you know, identify with, and understand the concepts that the product stands for. An example is Apple. The products stand for cutting-edge technology, cool design, and simple usage.

For an executive, the long-term payoff of an executive brand is that your network knows, identifies with, and understands what you stand for as a leader. An example is Steve Jobs. His brand was to be a rebellious, maverick entrepreneur; a relentless driver of engineering excellence; and a manic, unapologetic leader of the company he founded.

Marketing strategies include defining what messages you want to give to your target audience, what methods you will use to get in front of them and what metrics you will measure to determine if your plans and tactics are effective.

Marketing develops a brand; branding doesn’t create a marketing strategy!

Marketing, therefore, is a set of actions that once implemented repeatedly and consistently, over time, develops a brand. Developing a brand is the result of a well crafted and designed marketing plan.

Who you want to reach, why should they care, and what do they receive from buying (or hiring you) is only beginning of marketing. Crafting a message isn’t what brands you. Using those messages in strategy that is consistently used year after year is what brands you.

Additionally, every feature (skill, competency, experience) should have a benefit or an outcome. And every outcome (past result for another employer) should describe a reason why it is important to someone today. When you combine these important messages over time, one begins to develop a brand.

Brands are not reputations. Reputation is about the past.

Think of a restaurant that has closed. That restaurant, let’s call it Joe’s Diner, has a reputation of being greasy, run-down, hole-in-the-wall. When someone says, “Let’s go to Joe’s Diner,” you think of its reputation. But let’s say someone has purchased that space and calls it Sue’s Emporium, the owner must communicate to its new customers what this new establishment will offer. Sue must brand herself differently that Joe.

Reputation is what was; brands are what is or will be.

MarketOne Executive Bottom Line

My definition of personal branding/marketing is to “turn strangers into interested parties.” This takes time and effort. Selling can only happen after attraction and its purpose is to “turning those attracted interested parties into a job offer, a contractual relationship or a sale.”

At MarketOne Executive, we help you to develop a framework for your personal ideas and intellectual property. Intellectual property has value and is able to be identified as having economic capital worth because it can create a return-on-investment.

Intellectual property also gives you independence. Your personal intellectual property, therefore, must clearly identify you, differentiate you, and align you with the hiring market today.

From there, we work with you to shape your personal brand orally, first, to attract strangers and power brokers to you. Then we develop the various written marketing materials that are used in selling your brand. We each step has a definable metric and benchmark and is repeatable. We have built tool that you can use, year after year.

You see, all of the marketing strategies we use are the same ones used by large corporations. All of the marketing tactics come straight out of the corporate branding playbook. The tools are adapted to the personal branding practice, working with you as if you were a big brand product.

The sales strategies and tactics are come from 30 years proven and tested results in the practice of sales, including negotiations.

And if you’ll notice carefully, most of the respected sources who are cited as furthering the practice of personal branding are not career professionals but marketers!

© Alliance Resources LLC, dba MarketOne Executive.  All Rights Reserved, worldwide.
© Alliance Resources LLC, dba MarketOne Executive. All Rights Reserved, worldwide.

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