When it comes to personal branding “if you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing” — a quote by jazz musician Art Blakey — was the advice delivered to IT leaders at Sydney's 2011 CIO Summit.
Former CIO editor and founder of the CIO Executive Council in Australia, Linda Kennedy, said that the development of a personal brand can aid CIOs looking for greener pastures or to widen their career prospects.
“If you’re not communicating, nobody’s hearing you,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy told the summit that three steps of brand strategy are
- Developing your brand
- Package your brand
- Communicate your brand
The initial phase of building a personal brand, Kennedy said, is to think about what you want to do with it — tell people what’s unique about you that differentiates you from the crowd, and show why you’re valuable. However, Kennedy said it is important that CIOs project an “authentic” persona of themselves.
“It’s who you are and what you stand for,” she said. “You should be asking 'What do I love, what do I hate?' Obviously this is job-oriented. What am I passionate about?
“It’s a very critical and objective look at yourself. What do you know, what’s important and valuable to you, what are you proud of that sets you apart.”
Kennedy said that a brand message is the combination of the value CIOs provide and how it helps other people. She said creating a brand message is “not totally easy”; the message should be a single sentence that answers the following questions:
- Who’s your target audience?
- Who do you provide for?
- What do potential employers want?
The next step is packaging the personal brand. Kennedy said that this includes marketing the CIO name and title on everything they do, and developing a speaking style to engage with their audience, such as using an authoritative voice or a more personable tone to engage with the audience.
The third step is to communicate the brand. Kennedy said that CIOs should spend about 15 per cent of their time on ‘public focus’ — Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter — and 85 per cent of time on doing 'behind-the-scenes' work, including networking, sending emails to people and regularly updating contacts. Kennedy also advised self-branders to avoid overused words, such as innovative, motivated, results-oriented and passionate.
Kennedy said that when it comes to social media, CIOs need to think about that they put out there and pass on valuable information.
Communicating a personal brand is not just limited to social media; CIOs can also attend roundtables, join the CIO Executive Council, do more interviews, write a blog and contribute to magazines.
Kennedy said when it comes to personal branding, it is important to consistently make a good impression and to build a reputation that precedes you by raising your profile and visibility.