By Don Broekelmann
Sept. 12, 2013
Many upper-level executives, especially those who have been in the field for 20 years or more, find it difficult to get used to the idea of personal branding. For them, marketing has always been about promoting a product or a company, not themselves. Until recently, personal branding consisted almost exclusively of managing relationships with key customers or partners. However, times have changed.
Building an upper-level executive’s personal brand isn’t about the executive, but about how his or her brand can be leveraged by the organization to build more credibility. Upper-level executives are primary voices for the company, and they need to be portrayed as experts in their field. They need to be publishing content regularly that solidifies their reputation as go-to people for questions related to their industry.
Barriers to brand building
Even if the need for brand building is recognized, upper-level executives face some unique barriers that must be overcome. First, executives need to be more cautious with the information they share about the company or the projects they’re working on. They must be careful not to disclose confidential or sensitive information that could harm ongoing efforts.
In addition, when an upper-level executive takes a stance on a particular issue, it tends to reverberate throughout the organization, having a significant effect on every employee. If execs are looking for employees to give honest feedback on an issue, it’s a good idea to avoid supplying an opinion until after employees have provided feedback.
Finally, executives’ time is a precious commodity. They are busier than most, and finding the time to build their professional brands can be a challenge. However, a few best practices can expedite the process.