Why Today’s Leaders Need A Personal and Digital Brand

Personal & digital brand

Recently I was asked if/why an Athletic Director (think CEO of a multi-million dollar business) should consider being on social media. My first thought was, why is this still a question? People want to know who the person they choose to follow is at his or her very core. When you invest your trust in someone, especially a leader, you want to know what drives and deeply matters to them. Are they worth following? The answer rests with the leader’s personal and digital brand. The world is no longer a “follow me because I said so and I’m the boss” environment.


Social Media Building Digital Brands

You can have a personal brand – but in today’s marketplace, a personal brand is severely limited if it’s not enabled by a digital brand as well. They go hand in hand, but are definitely not one and the same. This is why being on social media is valuable to a leader.

Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio and I were reviewing his digital brand recently. We were sitting on his office porch overlooking the practice field after OTA’s, and laughing about how far his digital brand has come in just one year. A writer from Sports Techie wanted to explore why and how Jack has taken a different path than almost every other head coach. There are only 7 NFL coaches even on social media, and you would hardly assess the majority of the content approaches as best practices, much less innovative or fan engaging. (This is me talking, by the way, not Jack.)

The Strategy Behind Your Social

In reality, Jack long ago recognized that among his core constituencies are his players, prospective free agents, and potential draftees.  These young players have grown up in a different world than he, and Jack has wisely prioritized the need to remain relevant to that valuable group of people. When you add the need to cultivate a young fan base as well, Jack has determined that social media and a well thought out digital brand are worth high-level prioritization, and even wading into the uncomfortable. Basically, he puts the effort into it based on a well thought out strategy and efficient execution.

So you’re not a football coach or Athletic Director. You may be thinking that you’re not even in a field or role that is consumer facing. Developing and maintaining a digital brand isn’t relevant or maybe worth your effort, right? Wrong! Even Pope Francis, one of the most recognizable world leaders, is on social. Why? Because he understands that to be relevant and accessible to key constituencies around the world – to build an organization for the time when he no longer is at the helm, for the future health of the Church – he and the Church both need to engage people via digital media.
So now, ask yourself: are you and your leaders are cultivating a personal and digital brand? What is that brand saying or not saying about you as a leader?

–Kathleen Hessert

[If you liked this, you might also like “Personal Brand: Building & Protecting Yours Is Not Optional”]

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Alexandria Martinez
Alexandria Martinez

There was a discussion between my fiance and his sister the other day about leadership branding. My fiance is thinking about getting help from a consulting service for this. I think it is a great idea since to build an organization you need to engage people through media. http://thepersonalbrandcompany.com/keynotes/beyond-leadership-branding-101/

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