Whether you embrace it or avoid it, running a company means having a public leadership presence in your community or industry.
And you aren’t just the head of your company. You’re also a person with goals and motivations that go beyond growing your organization.
Maybe you even have new ways of approaching your industry, and you want to be at the forefront of future innovation.
Despite the personal emphasis, there are some good business reasons to intentionally step into the limelight as the face of a company, developing yourself as an industry expert and role model.
Let’s look at why it can be a good idea to cultivate your public leadership brand and some tips for getting started.
How building a public leadership brand can help your organization
There’s more to welcoming the public eye than increasing your own fame and prestige. Here’s what it can do for your business.
1. Builds trust
By putting a face to your organization, you’re giving your company an ethos that people can relate to, admire and trust.
This can be especially helpful if your business is complex or your products and services are difficult for most people to understand. And at nonprofit organizations, people can come to see you as a champion for your cause, inspiring them to join you in your mission.
2. Increases customer satisfaction
When your customers see you engaging publicly, and if they respond positively to your message, they may feel more proud of their choice to use your product or service.
It can make them more loyal to your brand when they feel connected to its leader.
3. Helps you recruit and retain talent
Your public leadership brand will affect your company’s culture, much like how your corporate brand and culture go hand-in-hand. The more positive influence you build as a leader, the greater the impact will be on your employment brand and your ability to attract and keep good talent inside your company.
4. Expands your reach
You market your brand through multiple channels already. Developing your public leadership presence extends this reach and creates another avenue through which people can learn about your company.
Public leadership branding best practices
What does growing your public leadership brand actually look like? Here are some suggestions for getting started.
1. Think of it as a strategic business initiative, not just a personal project.
Because of the benefits to your organization and the inextricable link between your personal brand and your company’s, you should devote time and resources to developing your leadership presence just like you would for any other business project.
2. Make your public leadership strategy a team effort.
Build a team of employees who will help you nail your personal branding and come across authentically and sincerely. Strive to create a culture of candor among this group so you get helpful feedback on both your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Your image should reflect your company’s values.
Ensure there’s alignment between the personal worldview that you convey and your company’s values. What you do as an individual must reflect your company’s mission – why you do what you do and the role your organization plays in society.
4. Establish a consistent social media presence.
Be active on Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social networks that help you build meaningful connections in your industry. Use the resources of your team to help you post consistently at a frequency that you can maintain.
5. Pursue speaking and writing opportunities.
Accepting public speaking invitations and contributing to blogs, podcasts, newsletters and media outlets will help you build your leadership brand quickly. Make sure your appearances and contributions are recorded or saved so you can share them again later.
6. Network consistently.
Join local groups like the Chamber of Commerce, industry-specific organizations and nonprofit boards, plugging into your community and industry as much as possible.
Important considerations before expanding your public leadership
Here are a few things to remember and to avoid when developing yourself as the public face of your company.
1. Increasing influence takes commitment.
Growing your personal leadership brand can be a slow process requiring devoted effort over time. Don’t give up if it seems like you don’t gain a lot of traction in the beginning.
2. You’ll need exceptional communication skills.
Use your goal of building your public presence as an opportunity to improve your communication skills. It won’t be easy to get your messaging right when engaging with such a broad audience, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
3. You must embody your brand 24-7.
Once you make the choice to go public with your personal views on leadership and life, it’s difficult to go backward. You’ll have a responsibility to always be “on” when you’re out and about, representing your brand and your company.
4. Don’t hold back.
It will be easy to share your wins and successes with the public, but don’t neglect to also share some of the difficult situations you’ve been through as a leader, too. Being vulnerable and open about your failures will help you seem more relatable and genuine.
5. Don’t lose your voice.
It can be helpful to take inspiration from other leaders you admire, but be sure to stay true to your authentic self.
Be original, making sure you have something to add to the ideas that dominate your network. Be careful not to get lost in what everyone else is doing and saying.
And when it comes to accepting opportunities to speak, share and write, know your limits and keep taking care of yourself.
Aspiring to become more motivating and inspirational as a leader?
Download your free copy of the Insperity Magazine now – The Insperity Guide to Leadership and Management.