When we think of successful brands, clear associations come to mind. For example, an SUV brand might be associated with ruggedness, family, safety, a love of the outdoors, or even a fondness for dogs. These themes and connections are cultivated through images, content, descriptive words and more to all lead back to the central idea. The same is true with leadership branding.
What is Leadership Branding?
Leadership branding is a concise message about you and your services delivered through multiple means of communicating. Branding communicates to your identified audience who you are, what you do, what your values are and what you are passionate about. A clear and compelling leadership brand ensures that you get your message heard and have the impact you want – so that you’re walking your talk and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps.
Just as an economy car shouldn’t pretend to be a luxury vehicle, leadership branding starts with authenticity. It’s rooted in your values and what you stand for; it is the intangible quality that differentiates you from others. A successful female leader shouldn’t be timid about showing her strengths. She should know those strengths and be real and intentional. Are you a team player or a lone wolf? Gregarious or introverted? Quality-focused or adhering to the bottom line (or both)?
Does Your Leadership Brand Convey Your True Identity?
To get a sense of whether your leadership brand conveys your true identity and distinctiveness, ask yourself:
- Are my actions aligned with my intentions? Am I working toward the results my organization wants or needs?
- Am I known for what I’m good at and like to do, and am I being true to my values and strengths? Get feedback on whether others see you as you see yourself and be sure to balance strengths that come naturally with those you want to develop to be effective in your role.
- Am I having the impact I want to have? Am I taking only projects, assignments, and roles that align with my leadership brand?
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, re-assess and update your leadership brand. The result should be a comprehensive, individualized statement that includes several facets of your leadership skills, philosophy, and ideals.
How Do You Use Your Leadership Brand?
Once you have a leadership brand statement, how do you use it?
Share it with your team. You send a strong message about the importance of accountability when you hold yourself accountable to living up to your leadership brand.
Create personal leadership brands as a team exercise. This develops understanding and appreciation of team strengths and diversity.
Include it as the summary statement in your resume and/or LinkedIn profile. Your statement will begin shaping how others perceive you.
Remember that you are training people how to treat you and see you in every interaction you have with them. Use the power of your leadership brand to define who you are as a leader and your legacy for the future.