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October 26, 2016 by Speakers' Spotlight

Four Steps for Leaders to Grow Their Personal Brands

Sticky brands exist in almost every industry. They’re the brands that customers trust and turn to first. So, if your brand isn’t sticky, why not?  Branding expert Jeremy Miller shows organizations of all sizes what it takes to attract consumers like bees to honey. With clients including BMO, Leon’s, and Boehringer Ingelheim, Jeremy’s blend of humour, stories, and actionable ideas inspire creative strategies to help organizations find their “sticky factor” to entice more business, sell faster, become immune to the competition, and earn higher profits. Jeremy examines the importance of leaders having their own “personal brand” below:

Personal branding can be challenging if you have a job, because you don’t have the platform and leeway of an entrepreneur or an executive. That shouldn’t stop you. With a little effort you can grow a powerful personal brand inside and out of your company.

There are four steps for leaders to grow their personal brands.

Step 1: Empower Others to Succeed

The best leaders make other people successful.

One of the best sales managers I ever worked with said, “My number one measure of success is the number of people promoted off my team annually.” Dave is a top performing sales manager at an industrial distributor. His team regularly goes to President’s Club, and many of his reps have gone on to have remarkable careers.

The alumni, as Dave calls them, are his pride. “Every year I am forced to rebuild my team, because my top performers receive promotions,” said Dave. “It’s not the easiest route for me. That’s for sure. My job would be a lot easier if I kept these reps, but my personal brand is based on the people I develop.”

Dave is an exceptional leader, but he highlights a key attribute of personal branding. Your brand is based on the impact you have on others. The more people you serve and make successful, the more your personal brand will grow.

Step 2: Distill What You Do Brilliantly

It takes self-awareness to grow your personal brand.

Andrew, a VP of Sales at a software firm, is affectionately referred to as the “CEO Whisperer.” He has an incredible knack for finding and closing massive deals.

One of his sales reps told me, “He’s like a truffle pig sniffing out a deal. He roots around and finds opportunities no one else can find.”

Andrew already has a reputation for making his employees successful. His team is highly ranked, and most of his sales reps go to President’s Club annually. Andrew has another advantage. He knows what he does brilliantly, and he has honed that reputation amongst his colleagues and customers.

Self-awareness is an essential ingredient for success. You can’t be all things to all people, and you can’t help in all areas. The clearer you are on how you make others successful, the more opportunities you will have to use those talents.

Step 3: Share Your Wisdom

There is a critical inflection point in personal branding. It’s where you transition from being present in your job to documenting and sharing your wisdom.

Leaders grow their personal brands by writing it down.

Your personal brand cannot grow if it’s limited to direct personal interactions. Writing is the best way to share your wisdom when you’re not there. Get into the practice of documenting and sharing your best ideas:

  • What can you share to make your colleagues even more successful?
  • What ideas, stories, strategies, or pearls of wisdom do you have in you?

These are the things that need to come out on the page.

Get into the habit of documenting and sharing your best ideas with your team. It can be as simple as a weekly email with motivational tips and tricks.

Create a schedule. The minimum is monthly, and the ideal is weekly. This doesn’t mean you have to create massive documents. Rather, you are forming a habit to share your wisdom frequently.

It may feel awkward at first, but stick with it. The act of writing will organize your thoughts, and help you distill what you do brilliantly. More importantly, it will give you another opportunity to empower others to be successful.

Step 4: Amplify Your Content

You can grow a remarkable personal brand inside your organization by simply following the first three steps:

  1. Empower others to succeed
  2. Distill what you do brilliantly
  3. Share your wisdom (monthly or weekly)

To really grow your personal brand amplify your content. You need to reach more people than your teammates, direct reports, and customers.

As a leader you have something that every author would kill for: a captive audience. This is your team.

The first group to share your content with is your teammates and direct reports. This is a well defined group that you can help become more successful. It’s also an ideal group to test your ideas, find your voice, and prove you’ve got a worthwhile message to share.

As you find your voice, experiment with sharing your content more broadly. Publish your memos and ideas as articles on LinkedIn Pulse or Medium. This is an easy way to get your articles out to a larger audience without the hassle of starting a blog or creating a website.

The expertise you develop in your job has value, and there’s a whole world of professionals that can learn from you.

Sharing your wisdom outside of your company is exciting, because you will start to see your ideas travel. This has the added benefit of opening new doors:

  • Speaking at conferences and events
  • Career advancement with promotions or working on task forces
  • Recognition by industry peers and thought leaders

The public recognition and validation of your work is intoxicating. It’s exhilarating to see others use your ideas. This will fuel you to go even further, and lead you to other forms of social media, publishing, and sharing.

There’s never been a better time to grow your personal brand. Anyone can create one. The first step is yours.

Jeremy Miller/October, 2016