May 08, 2023
Whether you intentionally curate your personal brand or not, you are one.
Consumers are very intelligent. They care who is behind the products they love and they will stop using products if they don’t align with the founder's image and values. However, the founders aren't the only important people in this discussion. Your Chief Marketing Officer is the person the company has hired to own the entire marketing function, which includes owning the company brand. How do you hire a CMO to own your brand when they aren't even owning their own?
As a CMO, you are intimately familiar with the importance of the customer journey. Have you ever thought about the customer journey for your own personal brand? How someone experiences you is what builds your reputation. I know you wouldn’t leave that up to chance for your company’s brand so why would you take a gamble on your most valuable asset -- YOU?
Let’s break your brand down into three components: digital, in-person and environment:
From a digital or online space perspective, what is someone’s first impression of you? If someone Googled you without having met you, would you feel whatever popped in their SEO results would match your true authentic image? Does anything come up at all? What are the implications if there is a mismatch between your digital footprint and your true brand?
When you aren’t intentional about creating a clear and authentic personal brand, you leave your reputation open for interpretation and you lose control. People judge a book by its cover and create their own narratives, so the possibility of someone getting the wrong impression of you is much higher. And when they don’t have a clear understanding of who you are and what value you bring, they are less likely to refer you for an open position, a potential new client, or any opportunity that you haven’t even thought of yet.
It’s time to take control over your digital footprint by having a personal website that clearly defines who you are and what you bring to the table, with social media pages to support. Your website is the biggest digital asset you have (and what you have complete control of) to showcase to people why you bring immense value to their team.
Now someone actually gets to meet you in person. When they see you walk into a room, what are the first couple things they think about based on what they see? Are you confident in your style? Fashion is a powerful tool of self-expression and how people gather a lot of information about you, with much of it being subconscious. Being intentional about how someone experiences you includes being mindful of what you wear to work, industry events, virtual engagement, and even personal vacations.
Which brings me to my next point, being intentional about how someone experiences you also includes your environment. Your environment needs to be congruent with the energy you want to put out into the world. If you’re someone that needs to be highly creative, innovative and expansive in your work, your environment needs to match that. Not only is it about creating a space to put you in flow, but your office, like your website, is a place where you have the opportunity to connect deeper with both your team and clients, while continuing to create your own narrative.
You might be thinking, “I have a great job, good compensation, consistent business, peer respect, solid customer relations… what’s the point of building my personal brand?” If you don’t pay attention to your personal brand, inconsistencies are inevitable, and we all know that inconsistent styles and messages in a brand aren’t memorable. Think about the company you work for. What would happen if your marketing materials were inconsistent? What would happen if you didn’t promote your brand? You’d be invisible and never grow. The same goes for your personal brand; your personal brand is how people know you exist.
Having a clear understanding of your values and brand essence will align yourself with the right company where you feel fulfilled in the work you do and the difference you’re making. As a CMO, you are the top ambassador for your company so when you are intentional about your own personal brand, you become an even bigger asset to support your company’s business goals.
With your personal brand, you are never starting from zero. You are intentional about your reputation, the people that you know and the people that know you. You invest in being visible. You invest in sharing your knowledge and being seen as a thought leader to people other than your current team. You are your brand, therefore you have complete control.
Creating an authentic and intentional personal brand doesn’t need to be something you do alone. I partner with high level professionals who want to develop and leverage their personal brand, but don't have the time, space or expertise to do so. We start by developing their clear brand identity and style then we work together to convey their personality in an aesthetic way across all three brand components.
Kate Obert is a fashion stylist turned Chief Brand Officer, based in Los Angeles, who empowers entrepreneurs, founders and executives to become seen, heard and known through their brand. She partners with high level professionals who want to develop and leverage their personal brand, but don't have the time, motivation, or expertise to do so
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