Five tips for managing your personal brand
- Recognise its importance. Good personal branding doesn’t just benefit you, it’s an important part of your IT strategy, helping your whole department achieve its goals.
- Research your brand. To know how to promote your brand you need to know what your brand currently is, and where it needs to be. Join the half of CIOs who have already spent time researching their own brand, their strengths and their weaknesses. Really, really ask yourself “Who am I?” Work out who needs to know about you and make a plan to communicate.
- Get the message out internally. The single most important way of developing your brand is to be seen in person – positively. Make going out and meeting the business an objective in itself, not just what you need to do to perform another objective. By all means raise your profile through CCing people on mails, but remember email is the ‘cheap man’s’ branding tool – you’re one step away from being a spammer.
- Get the message out externally. Be one of the (surprisingly) few CIOs that speak at conferences regularly or write blogs. Attend conferences and make a point of networking. Become a press contact for your company. Think through where your name appears, or can appear on all communications (e.g. emails, websites, LinkedIn etc) and make sure the message is right.
- Get the message out consistently. Don’t be a one-hit wonder. Brand building takes time and needs to be consistent. There are countless blogs with only one or two postings made years ago. Don’t let the tumbleweed roll through your branding initiatives.
But there is still much to do
Most CIOs are actively building their brands, but there is still more work to do. CIOs are often not natural self-publicists, and clearly many were very conscious of the subtle line between positive brand building and blatant self-promotion.
Perhaps reflecting this, the more personal the brand building activity is, the less likely the CIO is to do it. The vast majority keep their LinkedIn profiles factually up to date, but few maintain blogs or online diaries which express subjective, personal opinions.
The paradox here is that the more personal the communication, the more potentially effective the brand building. The lack of blogging is even more surprising given the responsibility of the CIO in promoting the use of technology for communication across all of the business.
Some CIOs are also cynical about the whole concept of ‘personal branding.’ In many ways this is understandable – after all even the term ‘personal branding’ sounds a little like, well, business jargon. But the strong balance of opinion points to personal branding being an essential part of the IT Strategy. As one CIO commented “I considered the quality of my work would speak for itself, but realise now that was naïve.” It might not be fair, but in today’s increasingly complex corporate environment, it’s reality.
Written by Bruce Mair, Head of Digital and Technology, Impact Executives.
About Impact Executives Ltd Impact Executives is a leading interim management provider to organisations of every size in the UK and globally. Originally formed as a specialist practice within PA Consulting Group, over the past 25 years Impact Executives has helped over 2000 companies, including more than two-thirds of the FTSE 250 – find the very best executive interim management talent.
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