Today’s post is by Karen Kang, author of BrandingPays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Here’s Karen…
I work with a lot of leaders in startups to Fortune 100 companies on both corporate and personal branding. When it comes to their companies, these leaders have no problem promoting their products or their companies. But when it comes to themselves, there is often a reticence to self-market or brand.
The reasons often boil down to two things: 1) culture and 2) not having a clear idea of what their brand stands for.
Culture and Personal Branding
Many of us have been brought up to think that humility is a virtue. Isn’t personal branding contradictory to being humble, and, therefore, bad? The answer is “no.” Having humility and doing a good job at personal branding are not mutually exclusive.
Personal branding should not be synonymous with egotistical boasting. Personal branding, done right, is educating audiences who could benefit from knowing about your unique value. To be an effective leader, you must have a personal brand that is recognized and valued. A weak personal brand is a liability for recruiting the best talent, partnering with the right companies, financing your business and enhancing your company’s image.
Branding yourself is not only for your benefit, but provides value to the world. If you move your focus from “me” to “we,” your value to the world will increase and people will help to promote your leadership brand because they see value in doing so. Tony Shieh, the CEO of Zappos, provides an excellent example. He has branded both himself and Zappos around the philosophy of “Delivering Happiness.” For Zappos, Tony’s philosophy has created an employee-empowered culture and drives positive engagement in customer service. Today it is a movement that has definitely moved from “me” to “we” as others share this philosophy around the world.
Have a Clear Idea of What Your Brand Stands For
If you don’t have a clear idea of what you are all about, you will feel uneasy about “getting out there” to increase awareness of your leadership brand. The way to move forward with confidence is to have a solid strategy, messages and a plan to educate and build your ecosystem for mutual benefit. But, first find your passion because when you brand from the inside out, your authenticity and energy attracts others.
Leaders need to have a vision or a big idea. For Tony Shieh, it’s delivering happiness as a business and life philosophy. What’s yours? If you have “me-too” ideas, you won’t rise above the noise level. Be strategic about the areas in which you can add value, whether it be a vision of where the market is headed, new management ideas, company culture, global geographies, technology or change. Get other influencers to join in so you are not a lone voice in the woods—that is, educate and enlist them in your cause. Tell your story in a compelling and convincing way. Provide evidence that others support your vision or value, whether it is others sharing your content via social media, speaking opportunities or articles.
The measure of your success is not just what others are saying about you, but in the impact you are making on the world. Moving from “me” to “we” makes your leadership brand both attractive and valuable.
– Karen Kang is the Founder and CEO of BrandingPays LLC, a corporate and personal branding company that offers consulting, training and coaching. The author of BrandingPays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand, Karen is a sought-after speaker at leading business schools and professional organizations. Find her at www.brandingpays.com, www.facebook.com/brandingpays and on Twitter @karenkang.