The gift of a good liar is making people believe
you lack a talent for lying.
- Frank Underwood.
Frank Underwood is a controversial president of the US in one of the most popular TV series on the US television – “House of cards”. In the latest commercial promoting an upcoming 4th season Frank calmly sits at the table in the Oval room forwarding his powerful and a bit aggressive speech directed at you. Even though one could be hundred thousand miles away watching a well directed commercial, Frank’s confident moves, well suited posture, properly spaced tone accent and a strong eye contact convince you not to switch between channels. It doesn’t matter whether you love or hate Frank Underwood, you will definitely anticipate seeing what he is going to do next.
In business we face the same type of situation, where the company is mostly associated with its representative. The most common examples are Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Larry Ellison etc. They have created the successful and profitable brands not only for the companies but also for themselves. By having a strong personal brand you can establish yourself as a leader in your industry and field. By default, this increases your exposure and enhances the reputation of your business. More often than not, the leader is the face of the company.
Here are 5 ways to build a renowned personal brand:
1. Narrative. Tell your story.
The ground base of any personal brand is the story. Your counterpart should be aware of the reasoning behind your actions. Do not try to create any fake stories just to show yourself off. People can always sense when they are being lied to. Information should be narrative that would provide a context and emotional resonance to your work. Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood from “House of cards”) explains it as: “Stay true to your brand and the audience will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion.” If you don’t know how to craft your story, start by examining the 12 stages of The Hero’s Journey as described in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
2. Start a conversation.
Your personal brand is not just a good story or image you have created. In the age of the fast growing work environment, cultivating a powerful online representation is the fastest and most effective way to communicate with your audience. Just as you would dress to impress, go online and share your opinion, research results, some valuable information that can help your followers. Indeed a productive conversation implies a few people involved. The monologue in the social medias and different platforms is a great way to share your opinion but a dialogue with your employees, customers, shareholders will provide an insights on what you can do to strengthen the brand of your company and yours in particular.
3. Reach an expert status.
The main question that arises here is: “What would a potential client or partner find if they Googled your name or if they would ask colleagues about the experts in your industry?” Nowadays consumer decision journey – is an interactive pathway. People are changing the way they research and look for the needed information. Therefore, the best way to gain a potential customer, employee or a partner is through a thought leadership in your field. All Top managers should work to leverage their personal brand to reach expert status. Develop your knowledge and tech your audience. Take efforts to be featured in the local media as an expert in your industry, write articles in the reliable publications about the trends and innovations in your industry, give the speeches in the conferences, workshops to showcase your expertise.
4. Learn networking more effectively.
These days, the advice to network may sound like a cliché, however, a considerable number of people, even the executives are still making mistakes trying to connect people to sell something (an idea, product, power). However, it only ruins a reputation. There are multiple methods to advance these skills. David Bradford, the Chairman of Hire Vue and author of Up Your Game: 6 Timeless Principles for Networking Your Way to the Top advises entrepreneurs to Start Up, Show Up and Stand Up. Judy Robinett advocates a very specific formula of 5+50+100 networking in How to be a Power Connector in Business. The Forbes Contributor Michael Simmons also offers successful networking methodologies through his columns. Remember, the main idea of the networking is about listening and building relationships.
5. Establish a look.
Last but not least, is how well you can demonstrate your skills to people. If I start reciting a world - known brands like Apple, Airbnb, American Express, Visa etc, the first thing that comes to your mind is their logos, isn’t it? That’s right, as any memorable brand, your personal one should present itself in its unique and special way. Create the image that will suit you and emphasise personal characteristics. For instance, take a look at the advertisers. Every prominent CEO in this industry is trying to stress his creativity with an outfit (from head to toe, from colourful socks to Dali’s moustache). However, it does not matter what industry you represent, just remember that every detail is countable and can make you stand out from the rest of the crowd.
To succeed in the modern business world each and every entrepreneur, CEO, top manager has to enhance a personal branding into the company reputation. The above mentioned tips can only give a hint on how to start. The further success will solely depend on you. Every technique or strategy should be adopted to the market and a situation you are working in. Most importantly, remember that a strong personal brand should be ubiquitous and ever evolving. And, since “The gift of a good liar is making people believe you lack a talent for lying” according to our favorite character – Frank Underwood, then the gift of a successful CEO is to become a person everyone would strive to work with and turn for an advice.