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Personal Branding for Executives

The executive population was the first to embrace personal branding. The people occupying the chief executive offices recognized early on that if branding worked for a company, it could work for them as individuals.

During the formative years of personal branding, forward-thinking executives knew that in order to differentiate themselves, they needed to work on their public image and guide that image instead of being wholly associated with the companies they worked for.

According to the Conference Board’s 2011 CEO Succession report, the average CEO tenure has declined from approximately 10 years in 2000 to 8 years in 2010.

Given the volatility and political nature of positions at the top, personal branding gives an executive portability. It does so by helping that CEO to develop an individual reputation that can be transported to other positions and to separate his or her association with a particular company.

Meg Guiseppi, a C-level executive branding, job search, and online identity coach and the creator of Executive Career Brand, offers the following list for an executive brand:

  1. Helps you reconnect with your values and passions so that you can move toward the kind of work you love doing.

  2. Empowers you to gain clarity about your authentic self and the combination of personal qualities and qualifications differentiating the unique promise of value you offer over your competition in the job market.

  3. Forces you to be introspective and reflective and to examine the weaknesses that may be holding you back.

  4. Helps you identify your competition and target audience so that you can create differentiating personal marketing communications designed to resonate with them.

  5. Beckons you to solicit feedback from those who know your value best (peers, management, staff, employees, clients, mentors, and so on), helping you understand the true measure of your brand — how you’re perceived by the external world.

  6. Makes your personal marketing documents (resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, and so on) a more interesting and powerful read. Compared to a traditional executive resume, communicating your brand on paper or a web page casts a richer and deeper impression of who you are, compelling people to want to meet you.

  7. Helps you take control of your real-life and online identity and the way you’re perceived by others.

  8. Generates chemistry for you when networking and helps decision makers assessing you more readily determine whether you’re the good-fit candidate they’re looking for.

  9. Empowers your interviewing finesse. You’re pumped by what differentiates you from the others being interviewed, what unique value you bring, and how you’ll best add value at that company.

  10. Helps you position your value proposition directly in front of your target audience and stay top of mind with them (via your strategic brand communications plan — expressed clearly, consistently, and constantly across all channels).

  11. Helps you establish yourself as an industry subject matter expert and thought leader within your area(s) of expertise.

    Guiseppi notes that your executive brand is like career management insurance. For the long term, knowing your brand and consistently communicating it accomplishes the following:

  12. Helps you transition seamlessly because you were hired based on the authentic “you” and the understanding that you’ll fit in with management and your team.

  13. Helps you know your limitations so that you lead with your strengths instead as you progress through your career.

  14. Precedes you and reinforces your reputation. Your brand can be the deciding factor in advancing your career to the next level and matching you with good-fit opportunities.

  15. Establishes you as the go-to person for your areas of expertise. People know that they can always rely on you for certain things.

  16. Empowers you daily, as you deal with people and go about your work day, with that same brand chemistry that defines the way you operate.

  17. Boosts your confidence. Understanding what is authentically you, your value, and what you’re capable of delivering leads you to embrace business opportunities that positively impact your company’s profitability, growth, and reputation.

  18. Compels you to use your strengths to help your teams achieve their own career goals and benefit the company.

  19. Guides you to make the right career decisions for you and the right business decisions for your company.

  20. Keeps you top of mind with key decision makers when they need to select the best people to lead future projects and initiatives.

  21. Attracts opportunities. As your brand reputation gains traction and visibility, internally and externally, more people with opportunities will be naturally drawn to you, leading you to career advancement and fulfillment.

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