Updated: Aug 6, 2018
Disney, Apple, Microsoft, Michael Kors, Land Rover. These are all brands that have had sustainable brand equity. Brand equity can be understood as the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself. It is a brand’s value premium, It’s power, it’s credibility.
Brand equity can be created by making products memorable, easily recognizable, superior in quality and reliability. It is comprised of:
Awareness-Knowledge of existence. Not having to be reminded the brand exists.
Brand Associations-Anything the consumer connects to it, the attributes triggered when a consumer hears the brand. What the brand reminds the consumer of.
Perceived quality-Performance of a product based on consumers parameters or expectations.
Brand Loyalty-Dedication to the brand. Exists when the consumer will choose a particular brand over other brands if given the option.
Proprietary Brand Assets-Trademarks, patents, logos, etc.
Every leader has a personal brand. The degree to which others are aware of that personal brand may vary. The degree of credibility that personal brand has earned also varies. There is a misconception that at times our credibility we have earned remains the same. At the end of the day, we either gain credibility or we lose credibility in every situation as a leader. Our brand has great influence on that credibility.
Establishing your leadership brand is an ongoing process of building on a positive impression or reputation as a leader specifically in the mind of others. Things that make up your personal brand, but are not limited to, are:
Ability to be Influenced
Performance, execution, and follow through
Effectiveness of communication at all levels
Relationships with others
To enhance your personal brand equity you must embrace feedback, self-reflection and visibility. A 360 degree feedback session will allow you to gain perspective from leaders you interact with across the hierarchy. The assessment allows the feedback to be direct and can be very genuine. It will improve your self-awareness and give you clarity around how others view you. You must be willing to digest the feedback, learn from it, and revise your leadership as applicable. It can be used not only to help you improve your personal brand but also as a focal point of your development.
As a leader I have built self-reflection into my leadership routine. I reflect on any feedback I’ve gotten in the past week, I reflect on how well I planned and stuck to my plan, I reflect on any disconnects between expectations and execution that were impacted by my leadership or lack of. I ask peers and those on my team for feedback and reflect on perceptions I may have missed. I place myself in a cyclical environment of learning via both feedback and self-reflection. Combined, these two things can help you to have a truer state of leadership and brand equity awareness.
Visibility as a leader is directly correlated to his/her effectiveness which impacts leadership brand equity. Visibility can appear in many ways-Participating in or leading meetings, conference call presence, mentorship roles, the leaders name or area of responsibility at the top of a scorecard. Positive words and recommendations spoken by those with influence about your leadership can create visibility that extends beyond your tangible presence. Visibility is what others notice about you, what stands out to them about you, their perception of the connection you have with them.
Increasing visibility can be done in very purposeful ways.
Have a voice utilizing multiple communication vehicles. (Calls, Meetings, Blogs, One on One interactions, emails, etc.)
Hold feedback sessions where others can pick your brain and solicit feedback and vice versa.
Spend purposeful time on Social Media. Solicit feedback to continue to improve. (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram)
Volunteer for stretch assignments.
Shadow a mentor and connect with others in their network.
Increase your personal brand’s value by understanding where others see value in you and growing as a leader in a way that is obvious. What people notice on a regular basis must be things considered positive and value added to improve the equity of your personal brand as a leader.
Increase your personal brand’s power by being great at influencing both with and without authority in ways that earn you respect as a leader. Influencing without authority is much tougher than influencing with authority. Authority requires others in your charge to listen, pay attention and respond to your leadership. impressive leaders have the ability to persuade others to change their mind, influence others to engage differently, and impact the behavior of others without a title that requires it.
Also, you can increase your personal brand power by having more of a command presence. Let your leadership precede your presence when you walk into a room. Command presence occurs when others respond to you as if you have authority even when you do not. Command presence exists when you are cloaked in the trust and respect of others.
Increase your personal brand’s credibility by being consistent, effectively communicating, leading by example when it comes to integrity and ethics. Consistency in how you carry yourself, how you collaborate, how you contribute and how you add value to an organization or team improves your credibility. Communicating confidently and with clarity in a way that is adaptable and always resonates with a leader or audience is a key factor of credibility. Leading as a reflection of the company values and having the courage to be vocal when others' leadership contradicts those values or lacks integrity is the foundation of credibility. You can add an exclamation point to your credibility by performing in the top percentile of your organization as an expectation and bring your team along in the process. You can also earn the title of an industry expert to expand your credibility.
Continue to build on your personal brand and the value of its equity in every decision, through every behavior, via every communication-every moment, every day of every week.