Build Your Leadership Brand and Move Your Business Forward
The core of your leadership brand is who you are and what you stand for. You find it in your heart and your soul. The brand begins with the story of you — the experiences that defined you, the lessons you learned, and how those lessons shaped your values and beliefs. Once you understand the essence of your brand, you can communicate it to the world. This becomes a powerful force, creating positive results. You can leverage that brand of yours to drive tremendous value into your company — and increase your personal success.
Leveraging the Future Value of Your Brand
A great brand has sticking power – or what you might call brand loyalty. Loyalty exists when people understand your brand, they trust you, and are committed to you. In the world of products and services, it’s the commitment to repurchase or keep using the brand. When it comes to leaders, it’s also whether they are committed to staying with the leader through thick and thin. They stick with you because they believe in you.
Brand loyalty drives even greater value. Loyalty increases the number of talented people you attract and retain, the number of customers who do business year after year, the investors who go multiple rounds funding you, and the number of referrals you get from customers who talk you up. Brand loyalty generates more positive media attention that builds your company’s reputation.
The more you learn about leveraging your brand the more you can create value. You’ll be able to build a brand that can get you booked to speak at major conferences where you meet new customers. Your reputation will get you invitations to join networks or organizations you didn’t have access to before. It will allow you to interact with other influential industry leaders, policy makers, political leaders, investors and more. To leverage your brand, it has to have sticking power or what you might call brand loyalty.
You will also find that a powerful brand is a great buffer for your company in challenging times. When you have a trusted brand, you get the benefit of the doubt. You can step in and change the conversation. You can cushion the blow. You can pave the way for a better outcome. A respected brand will help you win back another’s trust. Of course you already have to have the brand to use it in times of crisis. As we all know, when a crisis hits, it’s too late to build a trusted brand.
When you count the ways you can leverage your leader brand, you see what value it has. It makes a direct and powerful impact on the bottom line. Where will you make an impact? You never know. There’s an old saying in marketing, “50% of my marketing is working — I’m just not sure which 50%.” Know that when you harness your brand, it’s going to work for you and your company.
Making It Happen
The question to ask is “Do I want this to happen by accident, or do I want it to happen consciously?” Creating brand velocity should be a conscious activity. To do this, you must clearly define and then frequently communicate your values.
When you do, people begin to think and act in concert with those values. This becomes a good test for employee buy-in around your culture. If you see that people are not thinking and acting in concert with the brand values, they aren’t a fit for the team. This helps you say goodbye to people who are not resonating with your culture. And, as your brand gains velocity, it attracts and retains those who do. The more velocity, the more positive buzz you create and the more in sync everyone is. Those become part of the fabric of your organization.
A brand is an intangible asset. However, the impact is very real. Smart, successful leaders put their brands to work and infuse them into the fabric of their organizations. Your brand is a valuable asset you can leverage to create real results. A clearly defined leader brand can be a driving factor in a company’s success — and your personal success.
Suzanne Bates is a top CEO coach, respected authority on leadership communications, and author of the bestselling business books Speak Like a CEO, Motivate Like a CEO and Discover Your CEO Brand (McGraw Hill). She is founding CEO of Bates Communications, a firm that helps leaders fuse powerful communication strategies with business strategies to accelerate growth and achieve business results.