Powerful brands – we experience them every day. Whether picking up a latte at Starbucks or surfing the Internet via Google on your iPad, each of these corporate brands evokes images in our heads and generates feelings based on what they mean to us. But few people understand the power of personal brands and how and why they drive career success.
Women leaders who are brand names: Tory Burch, Dianne von Furstenberg, Oprah Winfrey and Anne Mulcahy all have at least one thing in common – a well-understood brand that not only enhances their reputation as leaders but defines the very DNA of organizations they lead.
During a decade as the CEO of an executive coaching firm that has clients in world-class companies, I’ve learned that women just don’t do enough to make themselves known. To be successful, you need to make a name for yourself, but how can you do that if people don’t know who you are and what you stand for?
Many of us are juggling multiple priorities but if you’ve been in business a while you have probably realized that hard work and loyalty alone won’t get you to the top.
The first step to discovering your brand is to embrace the idea that you have a brand, that it has power and that you can harness it to accelerate your career. Then you can share these values and lessons to stand out as a leader, attract people to you, win trust, influence decisions, align your team and drive your vision forward.
The core of your brand is your character; the values that define the authentic you. How you communicate those values becomes your reputation.
Telling Your Story
Think back on the experiences that have shaped who you are – the great and the not-so-great. Each of those events, positive or negative represents character-building moments that taught you important lessons. This is your personal treasure chest of experiences from which to draw upon.
Identify a story from your life or career that was pivotal. Talk it through with a friend or coach. What happened and what did you learn about yourself? Don’t make yourself the “hero” but rather, look for the lesson that might be relevant to others.
About the Author:
Suzanne Bates is one of the most influential voices on communication and leadership today. She is the best-selling author of Speak Like a CEO, which has been published in 5 languages and is in its 11th printing, as well as Motivate Like a CEO, and her new book, Discover Your CEO Brand. As CEO of Bates Communications, she leads a nationally recognized consulting firm to help world-class leaders and organizations to communicate in a powerful, strategic way with their important audiences. She is a former award winning television journalist. You can follow her on thepowerspeakerblog.com and on Twitter at CEOCoachBates. Bates Communications home on the web is www.bates-communications.com