The role of your personal brand as an Executive

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Andy Raymond.



In today’s interconnected digital world, every C and D-level executive has a personal brand whether they know it or not. A 'personal brand' is the collection of values, experiences, and associations that people attach to you. In short, it is what peers and business associates think about you when they hear your name mentioned. For someone in an executive and/or leadership role, the importance of personal branding cannot be underestimated. Your personal brand says what you're like to work with and work for, and what skills and achievements you bring to the organisation.

Everyone has a personal brand, but now more than ever business leaders and CIOs are investing time and effort in shaping what that brand actually is and raising its awareness amongst target audiences such as senior management, industry peers, and potential employers - much like the marketing department does with the product. An executive's personal brand is the combination of an individual's visibility and reputation amongst their peers.

According to research, an executive's personal brand has a direct link to their employer, and this can lend credibility and shareholder value to the entire company. An executive with a reputation and an insightful media presence is likely to be sought for their perspective by other businesses and will have people eager to work with them.

Therefore, a personal branding strategy, in the case of the executive or leader, is not just an imperative but also a smart business tactic. The personal brand of an executive can be successfully leveraged to benefit the company as a whole. e.g., Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, etc.

When you are credible and inspiring, the people you collaborate with will buy into your ideas and be more open to communication. This leads to further connections and strengthens your personal brand.

Stakeholder involvement has paramount importance for personal branding. Individuals assess the value of other people’s brands in terms of authenticity, uniqueness and identification, communication, as well as on the basis of the perceived personal benefits. This is why it is critical to remember that however you develop your personal brand, you should never lose sight of who you are, and the visible content should be rooted in the written narrative.

Andy Raymond, Director, Redline Executive discusses further: “At Redline Executive, we believe it is important for all executives to own their image and develop it as a tool they can use to grow professionally. The quantity and perceived quality of communication around personal brands are even more vital in the digital world we live in today. As a manager of your personal brand, this means that the calibre of your profile is determined by several factors:'

  • The communication you produce and deliver
  • The interplay of this communication leads to
  • The perceived benefit to the audience (receiver)

Keeping your personal brand alive means feeding it relevant and quality material consistently. It has an outside-in perspective. It is not only about your output, but also about the input of your stakeholders.

The success of a personal brand is based on the individuals’ ability to deliver value to others and to evoke positive reactions among them. Individuals need to acknowledge that personal branding is an ongoing process of interaction, the effectiveness of which requires time and effort—not only in continuous self-development but also in compelling and credible communication.

In theory, good personal branding can help improve your ability to deliver within your current executive role and make the transition to your next executive role easier. Executives have typically considered their C-level personal branding as being associated with and representing the company they work for. However, the notion has shifted into marketing yourself as a person rather than as a part of a company and the tangible and intangible benefits of doing so.

The intangible benefits can look like your credibility being elevated, people seeking you out for your expertise based on the reputation you’ve nurtured, and your opinions being spotlighted.

The more tangible benefits come in the form of ease in networking since people will be eager to connect with you because of your industry presence.

So here are a few ways to establish your personal brand as an executive:

Establish yourself as an Expert

When you focus on C or D-level personal branding you can establish yourself as an expert in a particular industry, rather than for a specific company. Portraying yourself as the go-to executive for many different issues can be very valuable for your career. People need someone to rely on, and if you have the expertise, branding yourself as the person they can rely on can define you in that way.

The key is to break down your personal branding into manageable chunks. Do not try to tackle too much at once.

Link your digital brand with your personal brand

You could be hurting yourself if the person you say you are online does not match the person you are in reality. When you optimise your LinkedIn profile, don’t just write things to make yourself sound good. People will read your LinkedIn profile and have a general perception of you. That perception has to come close to matching in reality, so be sure the two are linked closely and accurately. So, define your strategy and make sure your persona matches reality. These should include:

  • What do you do well?
  • What are you known for?
  • What are your core values?

Become an executive thought leader

A thought leader is an individual who is recognised as authoritative and an influencer. Thought leaders are recognised by others as such because of the value they bring to a subject or industry. When preparing yourself to be viewed as a thought leader, focus on what you are passionate about in terms of the industry you serve. Focusing on your passions will ensure you have enough material to fuel your brand. Thought leadership includes intentional writing and speaking opportunities where you can bring experience and credibility to a topic.

Redline Executive mission is to enable high-technology companies to meet their strategic goals. We offer an extensive portfolio of executive search services and provide a thorough insight to ensure leaders flourish. To have a confidential discussion, please call Andy Raymond – Director, Redline Executive on +44 (0)203 131 0019 or email ARaymond@RedlineExecutive.com.

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