There was a great piece featured in The Drum called Why brand building is brain training for your customers with some key points that I'd like to highlight as they also apply to Leaders who are building their brands and strengthening their public profiles.
"Balancing the short-term "sugar hits" of performance marketing with the long-term, "slow burn" power of emotional brand building is one of the most powerful ways a brand can grow and succeed in the digital economy of the future"
When it comes to people-brands, it should be emotional marketing every time! We're human beings, with stories, experiences and insights that are worth sharing. When you show up as strictly 'professional' you lose your edge, reduce engagement and miss opportunities to connect on a deeper level.
"Simply put — the more that your audience hears and talks about you, the more you will grow. That sounds simple, right? Well, it is — and despite the rise of digital marketing, this is still true, so why aren't we doing it?"
As human-brands, the answer to why leaders and people in business aren't doing it, is rooted in the realms of 'confidence' - whether it's a lack of confidence because you don't know how to balance business and personal, because you've spent so long being 'professional' that you've lost your 'self' when it comes to work, fears around getting it wrong and damaging your reputation or a whole list of other unhelpful emotional responses to the concept of 'putting yourself out there'.
"The truth is that the power and relative ease of performance digital marketing (and the short-term benefits it can deliver) have created a hyper-dependency on quick wins and instant results that are easy to prove through simple metrics"
"While these short-term, quick-win ad-funded campaigns contribute strongly to the bottom line, they also have such a fast decay that revenue will literally dry up overnight if the campaign is switched off. That means they rarely deliver meaningful long-term effects. Instead, brands must combine the power of performance marketing with the long-term effects of brand building for maximum efficiency"
Analytics, data and measuring results are a great addition to the KPI suite but you won't find meaning in the metrics when it comes to long-term career and leadership success. The key to that is a combination of strategy and deeper human relationships.
"As humans, our brains are hard-wired to process emotions much faster and more deeply than rational facts — and every interaction with a meaningful and memorable brand experience will gradually and permanently change the perceptions and intent of your audience"
"Our emotional brains are much smarter and faster than your logical brain thinks it is — without realising it, you make decisions even when you unconsciously think you are choosing not to decide. It's a hard-wired fact of human nature — and one that we often overlook as marketers, despite the evidence and research to prove otherwise"
When you weave emotion into your social media posts, presentations, pitches and talks, you give people a reason to connect, you stand out amongst your peers (who are more than likely sticking with the professional robot approach to marketing themselves) and you instantly become 'more human'. This can be downright terrifying at first but if you slowly start to shift your communication style, you'll find that not only do you see measurable results, you'll feel the difference because you're finally bringing yourself to work rather than the professional persona.
"The power lies in balancing short-term activation campaigns with long-term brand building that will build brand salience, reduce price sensitivity and deliver much stronger long-term success than either approach in isolation. By carefully and purposefully combining human interest stories and emotional content with rational, factual messaging and product information, over time a strategy that combines both types of engagement will see considerably better results than those who favour one approach over the other"
With all good relationships, the longer you know someone the more comfortable you become. You're likely to trust them more (this depends on the person... but disappointingly, even the most shady of characters seem to be able to gain public trust!), support them more and introduce them to your friends. This is the same for leaders and their audiences. The longer you show up as balance of; work and personal, facts and emotions, professional and human, the more likely you are to see sustainable increases in commercial and brand value.
"Emotional engagement and storytelling creates long-term memory, which is a critical part of brand building.
How people feel about your brand matters more than what they think about it — which is why human interest content, emotional responses and even humour (this will obviously depend on the type of brand you are) can have a powerful effect on your audience that is impossible to achieve through rational messaging only"
How you leave people feeling should be the ultimate focus. It isn't all about you. In fact, it's rarely about you at all! As a leader, it's about the people who look to you within your organisation, industry or wider-society so getting hung up on not wanting to put a more human version of yourself out there, isn't serving those same people that your leadership role is.
"As humans, our brains are hard-wired to process emotions much faster and more deeply than rational facts — and brands that successfully balance the raw emotional power persuasion with the science of precision and performance, will unlock the keys to much higher and sustainable long-term growth"
As human-brands, leadership brands, career brands, personal brands or whichever label you want to put on it, you have a responsibility to represent yourself as well as you strive to do for others. It's likely that you're looking at business and your career beyond the next 12 months, so if you're not taking a strategic approach to building and growing your personal brand for intentional, sustainable long-term growth, you're missing a trick!
To see more about the work we do with leaders and people in careers, visit Brandableandco.com