Building an executive brand is more complex, more subtle, and easier to get off track than personal branding practitioners would have you believe. In order to cultivate a powerful executive brand — the kind that gets decision makers to take notice — you have to pick and choose personal branding strategies carefully, assembling them into a comprehensive vision of you as a capable corporate leader.
How Executive Brand is Different than Personal Branding
Executive brand is simply an extension of personal branding applied to your high-level career. But it’s more than that, because it requires a better view on the subtle nuances that distinguish corporate leaders in the marketplace. Here are some of the differences:
- Strategy vs. Tactics: Personal branding enthusiasts might suggest that writing an article on how to open doors to new sales prospects will garner attention and acclaim. But an executive brand holds a different promise which is less tactical and more strategic, less instructional and more demonstrative. A mid-level manager might get great results from such an article, but you will better support your executive brand by being quoted in an article about the success you’ve seen devising and implementing innovative sales and marketing strategies.
- Visibility vs. Exclusivity: Many personal branding advisers will trumpet the importance of visibility. The more people see you, the more they will remember you and the better the chance for opportunities. But it’s possible to water down your executive brand promise with too many opportunities to access your expertise. Being selective about giving people access to you in the right venues at the right times can fuel people’s perceptions of you as an important, dynamic changemaker.
- Self-promotion vs. Public Relations: Corporate superstars aren’t posting their own bios and hawking their own wares. Thinking about a powerful professional you admire, you likely didn’t develop admiration for them based on what they said, but on what you learned about them through other trusted sources — friends, colleagues, or even the press. True executive brand building leverages third-party credibility to build big leverage — respect.
- Being authentic vs. Being marketable: Personal branding experts push forth the importance of authenticity, which can be a powerful tool. But being too authentic can get in the way of your career growth down the road. Imagine your career as a neverending campaign for public office — you’ll work day to day to connect with people in a meaningful way, ensure understanding of your ideas, and get the word out about your qualifications, without ever saying anything that will end up as a sound bite on the evening news. A successful executive brand walks this fine line.
How are you channeling corporate powerhouse in your executive brand building efforts?