6 Parallels Between Personal Leadership and Brand Leadership
There is an inextricable connection between the characteristics that make an individual an effective leader and those that help establish and maintain true brand leadership. Taking a step back to examine these traits within ourselves and how we conduct business can provide a useful foil for reviewing the brands we steward.
There is no greater factor in the success of an individual or a brand as operating in an honest and authentic manner at all times. Our integrity defines who we are as individuals, and shapes our trustworthiness and how we are perceived. Leadership without integrity is autocracy. Likewise, our brands must earn the trust of their constituents. Brand promises must not only be compelling and differentiating, but also meaningful and achievable. The connections between setting brand expectations and experiencing the brand should be seamless.
Optimism teamed with determination can be infectious. It is a platform for inspiring others by generating hope and excitement. When it is reality-based, positivity can be an effective tool for getting people on the same page and building momentum. Brands that take the high road and evoke optimism often form a deeper emotional connection to their constituents, and can lead to unshakable loyalty.
Much like trust, confidence must be earned. Title alone does not inspire assurance. Confidence is rooted in experience, knowledge, and candor. Experience and knowledge enable steady forward movement. And when there is a gap in direct understanding, leaders know how to be candid, work with their teams, and uncover a pathway that provides answers. Brands too, must instill confidence among their constituents. Adopters of brands must have repeatable positive experiences that amass feelings of certainty.
Creativity for creativity’s sake can often lead to confusion and unwittingly become a point of distraction. Leaders, however, who use creativity purposefully, to problem solve, to differentiate, to reinforce strategy, to bolster unity, wield a powerful tool that is not easily emulated. Purposeful creativity is often not intuitive and takes discipline to harness properly. The creativity that we exercise to communicate our brands must also be purposeful. Creativity should always contribute to your brand objectives. It’s important not to be moved by personal preferences or what many refer to as the “new and shiny” factor.
The most proficient teams have leaders that remain 100% committed to every contributor and their overall purpose. This commitment is palpable and never in doubt. The result is that team members are empowered and exhibit their own leadership. It also provides solace during times of challenge and doubt. Successful brands remain committed to their constituents – meeting their needs and evolving over time as warranted.
Beyond being perceptive, effective leaders understand and relate to people and their circumstance. It’s from this position that leaders can motivate, foster loyalty within their team, and connect on a genuine level. Successful brands also identify ways to satisfy constituents needs in a personal and reliable manner. This is ultimately what enables targeted audiences to own the brand.
Regular introspection, for our own leadership styles and skills, and the leadership we hope to achieve with our brands can be invaluable. Undoubtedly the more we focus on the first, we’ll be in a better position to positively influence the latter.
by Jonathan D. Katz