A title can give you power, but a strong personal brand can give you something better: influence.
By Jeffrey Hayzlett
If you’ve been following the news lately, it’s not uncommon to hear reports of off-the-cuff comments made by C-Suite executives who have disrupted their companies’ image in the marketplace. Just as a defined brand for a company is critical, equally so are defined personal brands for executives. Successful leaders exemplify their company’s brand promise, but eat, sleep and breathe their own personal brand.
The importance of defining a personal brand for C-Suite executives is more than self-promotion, as executives are an extension of their company’s brand. Executives’ need to know how they sell themselves must be aligned with how they sell their products and services. When an outspoken top-level executive’s personal brand doesn’t mirror their company’s brand, companies like Lululemon and Abercrombie & Fitch make the news.
The time to develop your personal brand is now. Here are five steps everyone must take as they build their personal brand:
1. Define yourself. Who are you?
What are you? You’re more than just a name, so define what you are. Personally, I’m a primetime business TV show host, a best-selling author and frequent keynote speaker. My name is Jeffrey Hayzlett, but there’s a lot more to me than just my name. My name and what I do define my personal brand.
2. Define your conditions of satisfaction.
What do you value? Define these, and make them your promises to yourself. Whenever you have a business decision to make, run it against your conditions of satisfaction. For example, mine are: I must make money, have fun and grow professionally. If I’m considering a business deal that doesn’t meet these three conditions, I will walk away from the deal.
3. Define your expertise.
You can’t be all things for all people, so don’t try. Position yourself as a go-to thought leader on subjects that you feel passionate about. For me, I’m most passionate about business, marketing, social media and leadership. I’m not passionate about designing clothes, opening a restaurant or becoming the next Picasso. Once you’ve defined your expertise, develop content or speak on your subject matter to build influence.
4. Define your online presence.
It’s critical to have an online presence. Develop and maintain a website with content your customers want and need. Then, be everywhere that makes sense for your brand. Create engaging communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. If Pinterest and Instagram make sense for your personal brand, create communities there as well.
5. Maintain radical transparency.
It’s easy to tell online when someone isn’t being genuine, so be real about who you are and what your personal brand is. I’m not going to back down from what I believe or who I am, so if someone online is challenging that, you better believe I’ll say something. My clients and fans expect that from me, so doing anything different would not be genuine. Your fans will see through you if you’re not true to yourself and your personal brand.
C-Suite executives far and wide know the importance of developing and maintaining their personal brand. Answer these questions, and you’re on your way to creating your own.
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime TV show host and best-selling author. Follow him on Twitter: @JeffreyHayzlett.
This article first appeared on the Forefront Blog.
Latest posts by Jeffrey Hayzlett (see all)
- What Does Your C-Suite Say About Your Company? - April 23, 2015
- Keeping a Positive Public Spotlight on the C-Suite - January 1, 2015
- How to Build Your Personal Brand in Five Easy Steps - February 28, 2014