10 tips for building your executive brand

Cultivating your professional brand as an executive takes time, energy and patience. These ten tips will get you on the right path to building a successful reputation.

leadership 138036597

Executive branding is a key facet of professional networking. By establishing a strong professional brand for yourself as an executive, you enforce your value as an organizational leader and open new opportunities for professional growth. Whether you are looking to advance your career or turn around a negative reputation, a cultivated executive brand is essential to meeting your career goals. More than just being aware of how others perceive you in your industry, executive branding requires you to view your career as a craft that needs regular attention and focus.

“Imagine a painter focusing more on professionalism than creativity; or an activist focusing more on professionalism than speaking their minds and telling the truth. It would be hard to bond with their audience, and they would not be highly respected in their industry,” says Alexis Chateau, founder and manager of Alexis Chateau PR, an independent PR agency for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

If you aren’t sure where to start in establishing an executive brand for yourself, these ten tips will get you on the right path to creating the perfect professional image.

Know your brand

Before you can start cultivating a personal or professional brand, you need to have a clear picture of the identity you want to foster. Be sure to create goals that are realistic within your industry and field.

[ Get expert tips on how to advance your career with our CIO Career Coach video series. | Check out the hottest jobs in IT and the most valuable IT certs today. | Get weekly latest insights by signing up for our CIO Leader newsletter. ]

“We've found that the best way to build a personal brand really depends on the industry and the goal. For instance, scientists would focus on credibility; lawyers on professionalism; artists on creativity; and philanthropists on ethics,” says Chateau.

Look to other influential executives and leaders in your industry and get an idea of what it takes to be respected in your field. It will help give you a better idea of what skills, traits and accomplishments you should focus on.

Prioritize LinkedIn

If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to sign up; and if you have a neglected LinkedIn account, you’ll need to tend to your profile.

“LinkedIn is by far the most valuable resource for establishing professional visibility and a clear precise brand. So are Twitter and Instagram depending on your industry and role,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide: Success Secrets of a Career Coach.  

This might seem like common sense, but it’s easy to create an account and then ignore it or dismiss it as a low priority. Carlota Zimmerman, career coach and success strategist, recommends investing in your LinkedIn profile. A great place to start is with a professional headshot for your profile. She also recommends using an image in your profile header from a recent speech, workshop, panel appearance or award ceremony to boost credibility. It’s not just the content that matters, you want your profile to be visually impressive too.

Keep it casual

Just because it’s your professional image, that doesn’t mean you always need to keep it professional. While this advice will depend on your industry, and the culture within your organization or field, Chateau says that “professionalism is overrated for building a personal brand.”

Have some fun with your image and make sure you stay personable and relatable. While you want to always keep it appropriate, don’t be afraid to let loose every now and then.

Take the stage at industry-related events

If you can get on a panel or land a presentation at an industry event or conference, it can help generate “buzz,” says Cohen. It can “heighten how you are perceived by peers and by the recruiter community. By being asked to speak or participate on a panel you are being endorsed as a thought leader.”

To continue reading this article register now

Survey says! Share your insights in our 19th annual State of the CIO study