When I work with startup clients I always try to quickly evaluate their leadership brand. Over the years, I discovered that most successful startups have a bold leadership brand. These successful entrepreneurs are always looking to build a bolder leadership brand. But what does it take to stand out in today’s crowded market?
Great entrepreneurs are very effective at building a bold leadership brand with their many stakeholders and constituents. Their brand allows them to stand out from their competitors. I consult with many entrepreneurial CEOs. Here’s how I help my clients create a stronger, bolder leadership brand. A bold leadership brand can help these entrepreneurs get more funding, create more buzz, and increase their sales.
To build a bold leadership brand today you must make sure is that it fits your style and personality, only multiplied. Many startup CEOs try to model the behavior of their favorite CEO and wonder why it fails them. Today’s clients and customers have built in BS detectors. Authenticity rules today, and even more in the future. Your clients must trust you if you hope to build a more valuable organization.
I have my clients invest significant time in understanding themselves before they invest money in advancing their bold leadership brand. The good news is this can be done very quickly today. The twist I add is that once you know who you are, consider how this can help your clients.
Many startup CEOs I work with have never considered how their strengths and values impact who they attract to their early stage business. They fall in love with their product and service, but fail to understand their client’s goals and challenges. My favorite question is, “How does your product or service impact the people you are trying to influence?” A bold leadership brand must impact your clients‘ world in many powerful ways.
If your product or service is being sold to engineers, you might want to focus on the key factors they may look for in their buying decision. In this case, you might under promise and over deliver. Engineers love to explore the products they are interested in. A more effective strategy is helping them turn into your best champions for your brand. You should invest more time in a better product or service. Learn to help them uncover your unique qualities and capabilities to engage them in your brand.
If you’re selling to corporate executives, you should invest more time in social proof. Peer to peer endorsements are invaluable to your business. Most executives want to know that your services have a proven track record with an organization that they respect. For this reason, your bold brand may be better served by having marquee clients at the early stages of your new product rollouts.
My clients invest significant time finding the best, most respected clients for their early adopter clients. We work very hard to highlight our client executives in our bold brand. If we say it, its hype. If they say it, is more likely to resonate with potential clients.
When rolling out new services, I try to get my clients to establish a peer to peer relationships with their clients’ leaders. We might even work with them to help create a more powerful story to share with others. I’m always asked why a senior level executive wants to help me promote my client’s leadership brand.
Again, it comes down to their own self-interest. The increased visibility can grow the value of their own organization, as well as their career. The most effective entrepreneurs I know are very good at telling a better, bolder brand story.
Several senior executives I know have leveraged their work with my clients into new career opportunities for themselves. Social media has helped many leaders recreate themselves in growing industries and markets. To do this effectively, you must get to know your clients’ leaders better. That’s a topic for another blog.
Finally, when dealing with entrepreneurs and visionaries, you must create a brand that embodies their values and view of the world. Many of these rising entrepreneurs are looking for platforms to help create a stronger connection to their communities. Successful entrepreneurs today understand that cobranding can help them stand out from others in their markets.
Richard Branson or Peter Diamandis are great at doing this. They both have built a bold leadership brand that helps attract the best and brightest to their growing organizations, not only people, but also partners.
Picking the right partners is critical to create buzz and interest in emerging markets. Learning how to create the right chemistry with other organizations can help launch your business to higher levels of success. Creating a shared agenda can help your business leapfrog the competition.
Building great brand partnerships help your early stage business stand out from other companies. I can remember one client who was very good at getting others invited to speak at conferences. By helping promote new organizations to his markets, he was invited to serve on many emerging businesses’ boards.
Now that we have several ideas on how to build a bolder leadership brand for your business, next week we talk about how to create a message that impacts others. It’s taken a while to get here, but I promise it worth the wait. See you next week.