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How to Build An Executive Brand

The importance of building an executive brand has been on the rise in the past decade. Largely due to the decline in job security and loyalty, its need has never been more strongly felt.

With the advent of the internet and growth of social media, management gurus believe that today more than ever before it is important to create the right image for corporate success.We work with executives daily discussing their backgrounds, resumes, CVs, bios and understanding what they have done, what they do best and how they can help companies.  Unfortunately, not everyone they come across can spend that much time assessing them. One of the biggest challenges for executives with long careers is communicating what they can do for a potential client. Those wanting to market themselves independently have to create a personal brand to get the right message across.

What is an executive brand?

An executive brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. A corporate brand is used to refer to the company, but the executive brand is defined by the personality of an executive. Although the latter is shaped by experiences associated with the corporate brand, the two are distinctly separate entities.

Building an executive brand takes time and effort in participating and being involved in social media. Essentially, the top ten results on Google when you search for the CEO or an employee of your company highlight the executive brand.

Individuals in the job market, use their personal brand to sell themselves to potential employers. In an interview on Sky News, Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director of LinkedIn Australia, said, “At LinkedIn we like to think of every individual as their own business. Job tenure is on the decline. There’s a fact out there that says that the average student of today will have between 10 and 14 jobs before the age of 38. So more and more professionals need to stay on top of their careers and think of themselves in a way as their own chief marketing officers.”

How to create an executive brand?

Using the internet, we can create a personal brand using social media networks. You have the power to control what people see when they search your name on Google or Bing. By creating profiles on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, you can command what information to show and what image to present of yourself.

LinkedIn is a hotspot for professional work-related activity with a rapidly increasing user base. Establishing your presence on the website can be highly beneficial for your brand. Start by creating and maintaining an updated and comprehensive profile. Mention your entire employment history and education. Ask trusted colleagues to write recommendations for you. Upload a professional looking profile picture that best represents you, in workplace appropriate clothing.

Context is very important for professional networking versus social networking. While expanding your network, know that quality is much more important than quantity in connections. Develop a network of a few hundred trusted connections to gain credibility in your field.

Don’t leave anything out in your profile. Headhunters and job recruiters prowl LinkedIn profiles to find people, each looking for specific things in your profile. Some may be looking at your recommendations while others at your qualifications or the groups you’ve joined. Different things are important to different people.

Another great way to establish web presence is to purchase a web domain in the style of yourfullname.com. Linking your web pages to your Twitter and LinkedIn to your website will boost your social media profiles up in Google search results, making you more visible when somebody searches your name.

Narrowing it down..

Since you don’t have the opportunity to be initially in front of and have a direct conversation with all your future clients, you must rely on someone else to

  1. remember who you are when they are speaking to the client, and
  2. quickly convey to the client how you can assist.

This is incredibly difficult for executives. Since most have either been hands-on or managed every part of the organization, it can be challenging to narrow it down to a handful of expertise. This is further complicated by their résumés listing job titles, and not individual expertise.

The most common myth is that if you focus on just one area, you may miss an opportunity or an assignment. The fact is that you are more likely missing out on chances because your peers don’t know how to recommend you. If there’s an opportunity to refer someone, they are more likely to refer someone who is a specialist in the company’s need and situation, rather than someone who simply says “I help companies grow.”

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