Rumour has it that personal branding and thought leadership is at the peak of their climb. Both are in demand and sought after.
If we could go back in time, the greatest authors like Gabriel Márquez and Khalil Gibran are definite examples of stellar personal brands. On the other hand, Simone de Beauvoir and Maya Angelou could well be eminent thought leaders. They influenced a whole generation to write, stand up and act.
And, as we return to the present day, the distinctions are merged into an all-embracing term – creators. This in fact has led to a divide of sorts. And, many to sound LinkedInish, tout Gabriel Márquez and Khalil Gibran as ‘content creators’. Simone de Beauvoir and Maya Angelou are seen as ‘feminist influencers’ without IG handles, of course.
We get it.
LinkedIn is that land where professionals are divided by jargon and schools of thought and united by the desire to be a brand. This brand, in essence, is a public portfolio of experience and expertise for leaders.
So, what kind of a brand do you want to build?
Indelible like Márquez and Gibran? Indestructible like Beauvoir and Angelou? Or one that is unique to your skills and persona?
The difference lies in being part of the herd or being heard beyond the noise. Your brand is your persona. Your thought leadership positioning is driven by your expertise and unique point of view. The same craft of conversation applies to LinkedIn, or any social platform for that matter – give value to gain returns.
How do you go about it?
We have four key practices for leaders to be heard and seen above the din.
Knowing Your Craft, Finding Your Niche
Got the craft?
Eliminate those plans to impress the audience. The craft will do the job.
Think of Ray Kroc. The man rose to fame with the expansion of McDonalds beyond the United States of America. The skill to market and establish the business nurtured the growth of his personal brand too. Something that the original founder brothers failed to achieve.
Those who have the craft and speak of it with authenticity and essence are sure to be noticed. It is the first rule of making a brand called you – know what you do and do what you preach. Above all, be yourself to stand out amidst the clutter.
Establishing Your Voice, Being Who You Are
Establishing your voice is not about changing the tone and the tenor of how you speak; but knowing what to say, how to and where.
What to speak is taking a stand and firmly holding on to it. Apolitical, suave, non-judgmental, neutral; pick what suits your personality.
Would you relate if Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw spoke like a 20-year-old influencer? The ‘How’ is all about being mature, respectful and empathetic. It isn’t impersonating to be accepted.
Where, is choosing a comfortable platform to interact and engage with peers and other professionals. And as it turns out, most leaders have made LinkedIn a preferred platform.
In a nutshell, establishing a voice is speaking out your mind and being who you are on a preferred platform. So, chuck that mandatory calendar that says – ‘quoteful Mondays’, ‘social Tuesdays’ and ‘humour Fridays’. Let the content flow naturally and not overwhelm the audience.
Joining Conversations That Matter
LinkedIn has people talking about everything, from work to motivation to success and more.
It is critical for professionals to be part of conversations that educate and benefit your field of work. Moving away from the inane comments -, “so inspiring”, “so motivating,” or the most common “thank you for sharing”, to impactful and sensible comments add value to your brand.
Experienced leaders are never seen joining silly banters but share insights from their profession. They help their community learn and grow.
Not all Network is Good Network
That 5k or 10k followers doesn’t speak about the strength of a leader. But who constitutes it, does.
Quality of networking is incredibly crucial in establishing a positioning. Leaders who walk the talk are more likely to build a strong community of like-minded people than others. In branding, you share knowledge, educate the audience, and build sustainable dialogue. This is the core of becoming an indestructible brand.
To build a reliable brand, one must get to the depth of things and stand by every word said.
A Thought, One for The Road
Personal branding is the most abused term recently. It is most definitely not for wannabees who are out there to earn some likes. It is a portfolio for true leaders. It makes them more visible for organizations, stakeholders, partners and customers. The core of brand building is being who you are, speaking with conviction and embracing a personalized approach.
The deluge of information and motivational content is nothing but seasonal rain. A strong personal brand is here to stay in one form or the other.
What is more beautiful than translating thoughts into stories?
That’s how we preserve the sanctity of the practice.
If you would like to know how we do it, do read more on Bespoke Thought Leadership.