Personal Branding and Personal Leadership

written by Carola Smits, owner and founder of Windkracht-11

Everyone has their own hobby horse, their own baby, their gut feeling. For me that is personal branding. The individual is now more important than ever. In The Netherland a country that values collectivity that can sometimes sit uncomfortably. That’s ok. I’ll happily explain why I believe in the importance of Personal Branding.

I saw the light when I was working in the luxurious world of LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. The importance of ‘branding’, positioning your brand in a way that evokes emotion. Making it desirable, wanted and get people to talk about it.
When after this I started in the automotive industry, everybody thought I was crazy. From cosmetic and champagne to cars? Yes, it was the ultimate step in branding. A golden combination. The emotion that cars in different ways evoke and the depth of professional service: the people make the difference. So from product to personal branding.

Personal Branding =  Personal Leadership

I wouldn’t do personal branding justice, by saying that it’s a tool every professional should use. I even think personal branding is a lifestyle. First look after yourself then you’ll be able to look after others well.

Personal branding is not just about finding your individual style, but especially making visible your, sometimes hidden, talents. You can be really able and know many things, but if it is not visible, it doesn’t count. What other people perceive of you is one thing, but what they say about you is your market value. What do other people say about you? What do you stand for, what are you showing others? Strangely enough they don’t always have to correspond. Just use your image cleverly and combine it with the means you’ve got available these days, but use them cleverly!

Personal Branding contributes to flexibility, employability, and empowerment. It’s an answer to many of the beautifully complex dilemmas, we as managers or as individual people, face. The sum of the different parts.  All the personal brands in an organisation together, form the employer brand. This is what makes Personal Branding so interesting for organisations and their development.

Personal Branding is a means, not a goal

As a leader are you ready to influence new style, do you want that dream job and do you want to distinguish yourself from the rest? Take the initiative and work on your personal leadership skills. Use Personal Branding to learn to use the right tools and make your image your strength:

  • know your strength and improve putting that into words
  • win others over, you can make the difference
  • use yourself as your most important marketing tool
  • eradicate wrong first impressions
  • be convincing

Own publication Personal Branding within medium to small businessess.

I have tested the connection between personal leadership and personal branding and their success rate by using scientific research involving leaders of diverse organisations. These were the effects that showed:

  • above average employee satisfaction
  • above average customer satisfaction
  • a social network that doesn’t just cost time, but generates money
  • an above average brand awareness and a good company image in the market
  • a steady stream of prospects and a good score for customer retention

Above all: fun, energy and passion for running a business. Look after yourself first and then you can look after others.

This research forms the basis of the methods used by Windkracht-11 for leadership development. Because I believe in the power of Personal Branding so much, it’s led me to start my second organisation: ‘De Imagofabriek’ (The Image Factory). De Imagofabriek offers tailored guided programs for directors and other professionals.

Would you like to know more about what Personal Branding can do for you as an individual or for your organisation? We offer a non-obligatory introduction in an hour.