Oprah – yes she only needs one name – continues to be in the headlines. Namely because here in Australia she has a tour to promote and is a master at gaining media attention. The media coverage is also because she is hugely popular and appeals to readers, viewers and the public at large. Her highly visible personal brand is one of authority and credibility and she is perceived as an influential leader. For you to be seen as a leader by the people in your field or circle of influence it pays to distinguish yourself through your clear personal brand. Continuing my series of Leadership Presence blogs, the D in your leadership brand is for DISCERN.
A discerning leadership brand is to understand how you come across and practice insight into your own behaviour. Do a personal brand audit to understand your positive qualities, your values and vision, your future goals and strengths. Defining who you are aligns with your deepest passions. A clue to discovering the feeling or emotion of who you are is to identify where you are and what you are doing that makes you truly happy.
Get feedback from others to understand their perceptions of you and your brand. What do people say about you, how do they perceive you? Pay attention to how others describe you when they introduce you and how they treat you. Are you described as fun loving, compassionate, professional or creative? Do these descriptions align with your values and what you stand for? Do people accurately describe what you do? Is that coming across clearly?
Observe others who display the qualities of a leader according to you. Are they in the public eye, or memorable in some way? Do they always have a considered viewpoint to put across at meetings or a public speaking event? A discerning person is someone who is a good judge of quality. Can you observe and consider the pronounced and subtle characteristics of those leaders that stand out and shine.
Leading personal brands don’t always have to be in the public eye but if you are the face of your company it pays to be highly visible within your network. A number of Managing Directors and CEO’s in Australia have recognised the power of personal branding in building a strong company. They have established a memorable face behind the company to add a personal perspective to their business. Examples include Napoleon Perdis (Napoleon Cosmetics), Naomi Simson (RedBalloon), (John McGrath (McGrath Real Estate) and Mark Bouris (Yellow Brick Road). These people are inextricably linked with their companies and are very clear about the brand image they project.
Building a strong personal brand has the added bonus of building further recognition and media exposure. These people are known and used by the media as spokespeople in their area of expertise and as commentators on business issues. They are sought after as keynote speakers, television personalities and are invited to participate in numerous high profile and industry events. Through this personal public relations strategy, the exposure they receive is more credible than advertising.
What sets you apart from the crowd, what is your unique "shining" point and how do you distinguish your leadership presence?
Read last week’s blog To Shine as a Leader, Act Like One