By Lolly Daskal.
As a leadership coach and business consultant, I am always on the lookout for the most effective resources that I can find so that I can help my clients with their leadership development and business strategies.
Recently I picked up The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand by Karen Leland.
Leland, the founder of Sterling Marketing Group, is a branding and marketing strategist who works with entrepreneurs and executives around the world to build stronger personal, team and business brands.
Mistake #1. Failing to create a personal brand on purpose.
Leland says that many leaders still don’t get that in today’s world, a personal brand can be just as important as a business brand. Leland says that one Burson-Marsteller study, reported that 48 percent of a company’s reputation can be attributed to the standing of its CEO. For this reason alone, leaders have the responsibility to build a parallel brand that complements, not conflicts with, their business brand. According to Leland, the key is for leaders to create their personal brand by design–rather than by default. This requires moving beyond basic reputation management, to strategic personal brand management.
Mistake #2. Mistaking an elevator pitch for a personal brand.
The typical personal brand elevator pitch is meant to convey who a leader is in a few sentences. While useful to have, this is just the tip of the personal branding iceberg. Leland’s Brand Mapping model prescribes that leaders need to articulate in a deep and authentic way 6 other aspects to their personal leadership brand. Among these are:
- Unique Branding Proposition, which answers the question, What is it about what you do, or how you do it, that makes you unique, distinct and special? What sets you apart?
- Brand Tone and Temperament. What is the consistent mood, tenor, quality, character and manner that you bring to all your interactions?
- Brand Energy. What can you be counted on to contribute–in all circumstances and at all times?
Mistake #3. Failing to put a personal brand strategy in place.
Too many leaders stop at the front door of their businesses when it comes to their personal brands. While they may have a plan for managing their reputation inside their organization, they often don’t think through a strategy for how to promote and manage their reputation, and build their personal brand, in their industry and the business world at large.
A successful personal brand strategy always takes into account the leader’s goals and objectives and considers where the executive’s natural talents lie. For example, if the leader excels at writing, a blog may be perfect fit for their personal brand strategy. If the leader is a powerful speaker, keynoting or being on conference panels would work in the tactic mix nicely. Lastly, any effective leadership brand strategy must consider where most of the customers and colleagues they work with consume their information; i.e., blogs, newspapers, podcasts, etc.
In combination these factors help a leader determine a brand strategy that goes beyond a basic elevator pitch, to a powerful presentation of who they are in the world at large.
More than anything I found in interviewing Karen and reading her book a refreshing blend of no-nonsense advice, informed by research and the in-depth experience to back up her recommendations. Leland makes a great case as to why every leader must incorporate the work of building a personal brand as part of their leadership development.