The Essential Skill of Executive Branding
What Is Executive Branding?
You may have heard of personal branding: a great strategy for entrepreneurs and independent professionals to market their value to a defined audience. Personal branding also has tremendous value for executives. Your executive brand can send you up the ranks of a corporation, or into the corporate setting of your choice.
Why Do Executives Have To Brand Themselves?
Every company is also a marketplace. Every day within a company, ideas and resources are bought and sold.
Every company buys professional services from professional service firms called “employees”. Each employee is effectively a “You, Inc.” that has one customer: the company. The company will continue to “employ” the professional service firm of “You, Inc.” as long as the value brought to the company outweighs the costs for services.
The old employee “contract” that corporations had with their workers no longer applies. Old assumptions have been replaced by new realities:
OLD EMPLOYEE CONTRACT ——————————————————> NEW EMPLOYEE REALITIES
Employment for life Employment contingent upon ROI
Employee dependency Employee self-reliance
Employee loyalty Employee “free agency”
Work is highly organized Work can be organized but fluid
The Production Worker The Knowledge Worker
People produce work Technology produces work
Employees are employed Employees are engaged
Change was slow Change has been accelerated
The fundamental premise of marketing and branding is to find a need and fill it. As an executive, your brand has to stand for solutions – ideas to meet the needs of your company and managers. However, the greater the need of your company and the greater the number of people who can potentially fill that need, the more disposable you are – and the greater the need to have a great executive brand.
Branding Is Everything
Sales is convincing: you move your lips to overcome objections, negotiate deals and persuade others to see a situation your way. Marketing is generating opportunity: networking, sending resumes, even lunching with peers.
But branding is at the very core of selling and marketing … and leadership and training … and everything else you do.
Branding means positioning yourself, through your actions and value, so that people feel an irresistible urge to listen to your advice, hire you, or seek out your leadership. The art of executive branding is the art of shaping or reshaping people’s perceptions.
Branding Is A Reverse Sale
Today, branding comes first. We live in a skeptical culture. Before we are sold anything, we want to know a person’s story: who they are, where they’re from, and what they do. The real fact is that nothing is sold until it is branded. When your executive brand is crafted correctly, the sale is virtually effortless. Companies are “pre-sold” on you.
As an executive, your brand objective is to gain and maintain meaningful and well-compensated employment. Your biggest challenge, simply stated, is this: How do I get more companies to think of me as their “blank” before they actually need one?
Visibility Builds Credibility
Branding is all about visibility, and visibility builds credibility in the public eye. If we see someone all over the place, all over our company, or all over our industry we get the impression that he or she must be good; their presence attests to their success.
Increasingly, people think that if they have not heard of you, you can’t be that good. Lack of visibility not only prevents you from generating new opportunities, it actually hurts your credibility with co-workers and m