Why It’s Important to Build Your Personal Brand
By Chuck Lee, Co-founder of the GigX Fractional CxO Network
I attended a business conference in the mid '90s whose keynote speaker was Roberto Goizueta, the Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company. At that time, Goizueta was a rock star, having built the company into one of the most celebrated global brands with unprecedented shareholder value.
As he approached the podium, Goizueta reached into his pocket. The video zoomed in as he held out his business card and its image filled the two giant screens behind him.
He went on to say that this card could get him into any club, into any restaurant. It could open doors that were closed to most people, but he had to humbly remind himself it was not just his name and title on the card that opened doors. It was the brand of Coca-Cola. This brand's reputation was built with the hard work of thousands of loyal stakeholders. That was an impactful visual lesson that has stayed with me all these years.
The growing importance of intangible assets
In a recent article in The Marketing Journal, Jonathan Knowles examines the valuation of tangible vs. intangible assets within the top S&P 500 companies over the past several decades. In 1990, the three largest sectors were Industrials, Consumer Discretionary and Energy – companies that relied heavily on physical assets. Over 25 years later, the three largest sectors are currently Technology, Financials and Healthcare, showing a strong shift to intangibles. Knowles reports that of the largest 2,000 publicly traded U.S. companies, only 26% deal in physical assets.
While it might be easier to quantify tangible assets like machinery, real estate and cash as opposed to intangibles like trademarks, brands and public perception, business leaders must learn to do both. In the Harvard Business Review article Four Ways to Create Intangible Value, author Norm Smallwood says, “Intangible value is based on the market’s perception of whether a company is likely to keep its promises.”
This aligns with the point Goizueta of Coca-Cola made about public perception and trust in the brand. As a fractional business leader, it’s important to foster a deep trust with clients in your ability to develop strategic initiatives and drive growth.
Your brand is your greatest asset
Savvy executives understand the value of corporate brands. Healthy brands instill confidence in the marketplace and carry goodwill into future endeavors. They open doors.
Your personal brand:
- is how your reputation is represented in the marketplace, letting others know ahead of time what to expect from you
- projects the quality and level of expertise you have to offer
- builds over time, and can foster ongoing loyalty
Brand-building for fractional CxOs
If you’re an executive, brand-building isn’t a foreign concept. But what might be new to you is the idea and importance of investing in a personal brand. All the rules of building a corporate brand still apply, but now you must use them to market yourself and your fractional portfolio career.
Here are two ways to start building your personal brand:
- Deliver great results and keep your promises. When a client is satisfied with your work (and if you’re keeping your promises, they will be), ask for a testimonial or review. Outside opinions lend a lot of credibility to your brand.
- Articulate your vision and value. If you’re a GigX member, that means spending time crafting a powerful vision statement for the “Why Hire Me in a Fractional Role” section of your GigX Network profile. If you have a separate website for your business, make sure it conveys your vision and value as an executive leader.
Brands are intrinsically linked to to reputation and perception. Each time an existing or potential client interact with you, your work or your online presence, you're creating an impression. When these impressions are consistent and authentic representations of your value, you're delivering on your personal brand promise
Click here to read more about Chuck Lee’s insight on the latest trends in the gig economy.
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