Have you ever joined a new workplace and found yourself immediately resonating with the organization’s values and ethics, almost as though you had written the credo yourself? If yes, then it will not be difficult for you to understand the engagement that this aspect brings about. But even if you don’t feel such a deep connect, understanding how your own brand aligns with the organizational brand can make you a more thoughtful and effective leader.
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Accenture’s recent report, From Me To We, highlights that customers are looking to associate themselves with purpose-led brands. When the customer focus shifts, the employee focus is bound to follow suit. So as a leader or a function head, how can you create your brand and link it to your organization’s purpose? What are the activities you could do? Here are a few simple and strategic steps that we think you could consider, irrespective of your role, sector or level in the corporate world.
Understand your organization’s purpose
Your organization has a purpose statement. Go into its depth—the what, how and why of it. Be fully aware of your company’s brand positioning and differentiation. Alongside, as a leader, you must educate your team on the organization’s brand and live its purpose and values so they can learn from your example.
Be clear about who you are and what makes you exceptional. That is a process that you can implement with exercises and programs on self-discovery. Learning about what matters to you and where you want to be is key to the decisions you make in your professional role in the organization.
Connect the common elements
Only when you clearly understand your brand and as well as the corporate brand can you apply your unique skills and expertise to activate the organization’s goals. So, in the context of your organization’s purpose, identify the common elements between your purpose and the organization’s purpose and see how you can bring the two together. Unearth your greatest strengths and integrate them into everything you do. This is nothing but practicing the applied personal branding strategy rooted in the powerful principle of personal plus corporate, not personal versus corporate. This is essential to your success and your team's success.
Think consistency, not conformity. Be authentic
Do not approach alignment between your brand with your organization’s brand as an exercise in conformity. Instead, as an individual within the organization, you need to determine how you can deliver on the corporate brand promise in a way that is authentic and true to your personal brand. Only then can you leverage the corporate identity with what ignites you and makes you exceptional. A consistent brand does not emerge from being a conformist employee.
Participate in cross-functional projects
Whether you head a sustainability role in your organization, work in the inclusion and diversity space of your company or hold a managerial role on project delivery, always be on the lookout for cross-functional exposure to take forward your or function-specific goals. Cross-functional projects help you become known to the organization, thereby becoming an individual brand as well as learning to approach a situation from different angles. It is great for meaningful visibility for your personal brand even as you contribute to the organization’s business.
Use digital platforms strategically
Explore, mark out and sign up for the events that meet your objectives, and the people you would like to connect with. The pandemic has opened up a laundry list of sessions, workshops, discussions, meetings and catch-ups for everyone to enjoy. Many are by organizations that had never conducted e-meets before. All the same, maintain consistency in your engagements with your organization's goals and brand positioning.
Sync your communication with your organization's
Whenever you communicate any thoughts on LinkedIn or get published on traditional or new media platforms, align your words to your organization’s vision, values and tone of voice. Do not sound different from how the organizational brand sounds. In other words, speak in the same voice as your organization.
Project yourself as an inclusive leader
Building your brand certainly includes positioning yourself as an inclusive leader. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are critical in India Inc. today. So, be sure to go beyond being a passive DEI believer to an active DEI proponent, for instance, by sharing your learnings on building an inclusive team.
Always remember, the personal brand and the corporate brand must cooperate. They do not and should not compete. So, make the most of the integration of your individual traits with the broader corporate objectives.