Marketing leaders spend all day thinking deeply about developing campaigns to help position client and corporate brands. They are incredibly passionate and purposeful about the impact of positioning and branding because it’s their profession. Ironically these marketing leaders spend no time thinking about the positioning of their own individual professional brand.
Marketing leaders – better than anyone else – understand that when done well positioning is the ultimate weapon to accelerate a brand to where it needs to be, faster. Whether it’s about their career, professional development or their unique field of expertise, marketers don’t invest enough time in creating, developing and nurturing their own brand.
Your brand isn’t about making yourself into the next Kim Kardashian, it’s about how relevant you are to your clients and employer, based on the problems that you can uniquely anticipate and solve.
To build your professional brand, you have to first understand your current positioning.
Write down five adjectives that you would use to describe you, then send a message to 30 people you know and trust and ask them to send a reply with five words they would use to describe you.
Look at the patterns and themes in those words compared to your words. This is your current professional brand positioning.
So, now you can be clear on what you want and why. Reflect on the gap and what you are passionate about and want to do in the future. It’s much more about the skills you need for your future roles as those you need to get your current job done.
When you understand your current professional positioning you need to reflect on where you want to position your professional brand going forward.
It’s critical to understand that positioning is about what the brand will become rather than where it is today. When you go on a holiday, you think about the destination not the departure lounge. So why not apply the same thinking? The question to ask yourself is “what should my brand be?” This informs your professional development plan.
A consistent pattern I see in marketing leaders is the desire to be more commercially relevant in meetings with the CFO, CEO and board. They want to move from conversations about campaigns to robust ROI impact in a language that makes them credible and clear. This will position your brand beyond being a marketing leader to being considered a business leader.
Positioning your professional brand is accelerated by what others say. As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
As a marketing leader, ask yourself could your team, your client and your CEO anticipate every time how you would answer a question or solve an issue when you are away?
It’s consistently being true to yourself that helps build your professional brand. Ironically as a marketing leader, you already know this.