Archive for the ‘Personal Branding’ Category

Why Should CEOs Build Their Personal Brands?

If you are a CEO or an aspiring one, you’ve got a challenging job with many balls to juggle. Why would you want to build an authentic, unique powerful CEO brand? For three reasons:

1. For your company. As your reputation is enhanced, so is your company’s reputation. Research shows that 50% of a company’s reputation is driven by the CEO’s reputation. 95% will decide whether to invest in the company based on the CEO’s reputation and 88% will decide whether to recommend the company as a good place to work.

2. For your stakeholders – When you are clear about who you are, what your values are and what you stand for, you become a better leader. You’ll become more predictable, more consistent in the emotional experiences you create for others and these are keys for building goodwill and trust amongst your followers.

3. For you – when you take the time to reflect on the values most important to you, how you want others to experience their interactions with you and understand what gives you juice and operate in a way that is authentic, that is natural to you.

And finally, if you need a another reason, how about for all of us? For when you operate in an authentic way, aspiring to be your best – we all benefit. The world benefits. Said another way, the world needs you to define your unique brand and for you to reach your full potential. We need the gift of you performing at your best.

So there are three plus compelling reasons to build your CEO brand. Are you committed to building your unique, distinctive, authentic CEO brand?


What’s the Value of Your Executive Brand?

If you are an executive or manager, how’s the value of your personal brand?

Unfortunately, many executives believe because they work for corporations with well-defined brands, they don’t need to define their executive brands. They may think if they support their company’s brand, that’s good enough. While they recognize the need for clear brands at their companies or for their organization’s products or services, they fail to recognize they also need to be a brand. Yet without a unique, authentic, distinctive brand, we’re just commodities. In today’s economy, where globalization, innovation and technology make the world flat and fast, failing to define yourself as a unique brand can have disastrous consequences.

Just like Apple, Nike, Starbucks and McDonalds are brands, executives are also brands. And our brand is either increasing in value or decreasing in value. If we’re not actively managing our brand, it’s not likely that it is increasing in value. And if we’re not actively managing our executive brand, that means we leave it for others to manage our brands – and if that is the case, chances are our audience will perceive our brand differently from what we intend.

The good news is that with some reflection, a framework for creating our brands and work, we can create a unique, powerful brand that differentiates us from the pack. There are seven steps required to defining a unique executive brand and they are as follows:

Join me on September 13 in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management for my Optimizing Your Unique Executive Brand and you’ll learn what’s required to build an outstanding personal brand. For a preview of what to expect, see this short video:

To register for this 1/2 day course, Optimizing Your Unique Executive Brand click here:

Hope to see you on the 13th. I look forward to assisting you in becoming your best as an executive, creating greater value for yourself and your company with a well-defined, unique executive brand.

Buzzsaw or Springboard? It’s Your Call

Globalization, innovation and technology collide and act as a buzzsaw to careers and jobs in North America. And they converge to create a springboard to success and prosperity. Which is your truth?

If you are smart, you’re reinventing yourself and how you create value for the future. If you aren’t learning anew and reinventing yourself, you are in much trouble. You are playing Russian Roulette with your career and livelihood. Not in these exact words, but President Obama addressed this issue last night in his State of Union address. Education, reinvention, hard work, discipline — make globalization, innovation and technology your friend. Embrace it. Change. There’s no other alternative.

Why You Need To Be Like Lady Gaga

Every one of us, whether we’re the CEO or an entry level employee, whether we operate our own business or work for an employer, needs a well-defined personal brand. Our personal brand is about bringing our authentic self to work and doing our very best. It’s adopting a personal service provider mindset. And it’s not just for Lady Gaga, Madonna, Shaun White, Kanye West or other celebrities.

There are three reasons for defining our personal brands:

1. To get better results;
2. To distinguish ourselves from the average performers;
3. To give us juice and inspiration;

Here are several ideas for defining your personal brand.

Here’s the reality. In today’s competitive world, if you don’t have a well-defined personal brand, you are a commodity. And being a commodity is not a fun place to be. Do you want to be a rock? Or do you want to be a rock star?

You can’t afford to not have a well-defined personal brand. What next steps can you take to better define and communicate your personal brand?

Why You Need A Personal Brand

Whether you are an entrepreneur or work for an employer, you need to see yourself as a personal brand. Whether you are in an entry-level role or the CEO, you need to think of yourself as a personal brand. If you don’t see yourself as a personal brand, you are putting yourself in a precarious position from a career standpoint. Why? Because the market sees you as a commodity. And what happens with commodities? As they are not seen as unique, they tend to be acquired at the least possible cost. Simply put, you won’t get the pay, the opportunities or the respect you deserve if you don’t become a unique, personal brand.

Being average and flying under the radar screen are no longer options. People who try to fit in are endangered – they’ll be seen by their employers as not adding enough value, of being dispensable. We need to find ways to stand out through our outstanding, unique approach to our work. We need to create greater value each day. We can do this by focusing on what we do, what we value, deciding on what makes us different at work and demonstrating this daily. To operate this way requires emotional commitment and discretionary effort. So we need to consciously create and define our own authentic personal brands, just like the brands we know and use daily. Becoming a personal brand means standing out. It’s our promise to our customers. “This is what you can expect from me.”

While successful entrepreneurs have no doubt defined their personal brands, becoming a personal brand doesn’t mean we have to quit our jobs. We do, however, probably need to rethink how we go about our jobs.

In summary, our personal brand = bringing our true selves to work and doing our best work. And our brands are either growing in value or decreasing in value. It’s up to us to ensure our brand is increasing in value.

Famous personal brands we all recognize include Oprah, Martha Stewart, Anderson Cooper, Madonna and Lady GaGa. Gold medalist snowboarder Shawn White, MVP catcher Joe Mauer, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and actor George Clooney have strong personal brands. Each of these individuals has taken special care to define their unique brands.

In the Twin Cities, a number of personal brands stand out. We’ve got Kieran Folliard, owner of the Local, Liffey, Kieran’s, Cooper and other Irish pubs. We’ve got Chris Freytag, fitness and wellness expert and star of Motivation Monday on KARE11. Clothier Marty Mathis of Marty Mathis Direct, who will custom fit you to help you look your best and photographer Wendy Houser Blomseth of InBeaute Photography, who will photograph you to make you look your best. And, we’ve got Wally the Beerman, the beer vendor extraordinaire for all the major sporting events and state fair who greets us warmly with a smile and his booming baritone voice.

So thinking of ourselves as personal brands starts with our worldview, our belief system. To become our own brand requires the following beliefs:

• To take total responsibility for our career, happiness and fulfillment.
• To realize it’s more about attitude than working longer hours.
• To forget trying to fit in. Forget the 9 to 5 mindset. Forget the TGIF business.
• To look at work as an opportunity to display our art and unique talents.
• To be willing to exert emotional, discretionary effort.
• To accept there is no roadmap for success. We each have to find our own way.
• To face the fear and uncertainty of being unique. Yes, someone may laugh at you. Yes, you may not always know the way. Committing to becoming a personal brand, means committing to figuring it out when you hit a wrong turn or roadblock.

Once we accept the need to become our personal brands and commit to defining our personal brands, we can tap into our own special gifts, talents and skills and let our art flow at work. To do this requires us to lean forward at work and stretch. How can we let our art flow? How can we do something really special that will be of great value to our customers? How can we exert our emotional labor, our discretionary effort, to create value for others? How can use our gifts, talent and skills to do something very special and become indispensable to our customers and companies?

A step we can each take today is to identify one or two things we can do to create even more value at work by really leaning into our work. How to do this? Where to do this? The good news and the bad news is there’s no roadmap. I can’t tell you how exactly for your situation how to create more value and become indispensable, but some areas to look at could include:

• Take on a messy project;
• Volunteer to do what others don’t want to do;
• Coach and inspire staff and others;
• Look for new ways to connect others;
• Volunteer to speak at conferences and become a thought leader in your area of expertise;
• Lead customers and provide service they’ll rave about;
• Provide deep domain knowledge;
• Share a unique talent;
• Deliver exceptional creativity;

Accepting that you need to become a personal brand is your first step. These ideas shared in my April 28 interview on NBC KARE11’s Work It Wednesday interview with Kim Insley. Look for my upcoming blog posts to learn more about how to build your personal brand and ideas for promoting your personal brand.

How Strong is Your Personal Brand?

The Nobel Prize. Everyone knows this prestigious prize is awarded annually in Stockholm to individuals who’ve made outstanding achievements in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Medicine and Peace. The Nobel Prize brand is strong and well-known worldwide.

It wasn’t always this way, however. Brenda Bence, internationally-recognized branding expert and author of How You™ Are Like Shampoo, describes in her chapter in The Power of the Platform: Speakers on Purpose, that Alfred Nobel, for whom the Nobel Prize was named, was a successful and wealthy Swedish industrialist in the late 1800s credited with inventing dynamite and the dynamite detonator. He made millions. When his brother Ludwig Nobel died in 1888, the obituary that showed up in the Stockholm newspaper was Alfred’s not Ludwig’s. The headline on the obituary described him as “The Merchant of Death”, because of his work with dynamite and detonators. Aghast, Alfred Nobel knew at that moment his name would forever be associated with death and destruction unless he took control of his personal brand. He created a plan to launch the Nobel Prize, and today we know Alfred Nobel for this legacy – not dynamite.

Brenda Bence asks us a fundamental question: “Do you have the personal brand YOU want?” Is your brand bringing you greater success of holding you back? Not knowing the answer to that question could mean the difference between living a great life and feeling lost.

In her chapter, Brenda shares five keys for mastering your personal brand. I recommend you read her chapter to learn and apply these keys to your brand. You can access her chapter below.

Brenda Bence is a contributing author to a newly released compilation book to which I have also contributed a chapter: The Power of the Platform: Speakers on Purpose. This book contains a vast array of information from thought-leading speakers and authors from the field of leadership and personal development. In addition to my chapter on The Dirtiest Little Secret in Business: The Absence of Supportive Candor, several New York Times best-selling authors have contributed chapters, including Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Keith Ferrazzi, Robin Jay, Marci Shimoff and Richard Bolles. For a copy of Brenda’s chapter, click here; for a copy of my chapter, click here.