By Justin Foster, Strategy Magazine, October 2015
As part of our approach to helping leaders develop their personal brands, we have our clients send out a five-question brand perception survey to 15 to 20 people in their circles of influence. Similar to 360 surveys, our survey helps provides data and insights on how a person is perceived by others. A new client recently sent her survey out and received this response from a friend: “What?? You’re a brand??”
While somewhat humorous, this reaction highlights a growing awareness gap of the definition of a brand, and the essential role of personal branding for leaders and entrepreneurs. Traditional leaders tend to view a brand as an organizational entity defined by a logo or outside perceptions. They also tend to view personal branding as self-promotion—even as an act of disloyalty to the greater organization. While both views are reflective of the well-intentioned team-first view of a good leader, they also reflect a 20th century view that the organization is more powerful than the individual. However, in the Social Age of business, the people who interact with an organization become the faces of the brand: the leaders, the employees, the customers, the shareholders. In short, leading is branding and leaders must take ownership of this fact.Read more.