What business are you in? The healthcare business? Law? Financial services? Technology? Education? The Arts?
No matter what industry you are in, you are in the business of building businesses, and you are in the business of inspiring and persuading people. That’s why creativity and leadership can make a big difference.
A traditional leader can make you do something because they are the boss, but the creative leader makes you want to do it.
Soft power prizes context and nuance.
As a creative leader, you realize that the world is growing fast and shrinking fast. You realize that challenges are interconnected and the best strategies come from encouraging diversity.
Soft power means developing all your assets that can motivate and inspire others. That can mean developing your image, your voice, your words, your body language, your stage presence much like a performing artist prepares to go on the stage.
Soft power is the carrot that attracts people to you and makes you a creative leader.
The creative leader uses soft power to supplement hard power strengths.
Soft power or personal branding power is your intangible assets that attract followers to you.
Soft power puts creativity into the leadership equation both in how you think about yourself as a leader and how you approach business problems.
Soft power is your ability to inspire and “click” with others so that they identity with you and your goals. It’s having a purpose. It’s having the desire to make a difference that motivates others – and the ability to communicate your purpose in a way that’s authentic and powerful.
Unlike the traditional leader who prizes being the lone agent who creates new worlds, the creative leader realizes the individual is small and the group and context are large.
The creative leader asks not, “What should I do?” but “What needs doing?”
The creative leader asks, “What is the opportunity in this situation? What are the challenges?
What important things need to be done that my team and I can play a role in?
And, “How can I motivate others to join me in this endeavor?”
In working with all types of clients as a personal brand strategist, I find that what hinders people is not knowledge or technical skills. It’s not substance or “hard power.” They have strong technical knowledge and understand their business well.
In today’s business world, career success isn’t a project to be completed or a schedule you can delineate on a Venn diagram. It’s a dynamic landscape to be explored.
Business success isn’t just about analytics and five-year plans.
Today’s business landscape where nuance and change defy traditional business analytics.
What is holding many people like is what I call soft power or creative leadership.
It used to be an unusual first name was a liability. Just ask my sister, Kevin. Yes, her real name is Kevin. And she grew up in the 60’s when girls had names like Sue, Ann and Karen.
Today, unusual names are all the rage to a point. Self-branding minded parents are spending time and money trying to choose unusual yet interesting names for their newborns. They’re looking for a name that is ownable on a Google search.
That’s why “baby names” was one of the top ten generic Internet search terms in 2006 ranking it up there with “weather” and “directions.” There are more than a hundred baby-naming websites that offer name databases, online polls and individual consultations. Like marketers, some enterprising parents are even hiring naming professionals to come up with a distinctive name. What’s in a name? A lot.
Your name can help brand you positively or negatively, and “ugly” names can hurt you.
In one study, two women were found to be equally attractive. Then the name “Elizabeth” was added to the bottom on one lady’s picture, and “Gertrude” to the other. So how do you think the voting went now?
That’s why so many aspiring actors through the years changed their names. Would Norma Jean Mortensen be the icon she is even today if she didn’t change her name to Marilyn Monroe?
The other thing that can plague you is Generic Name Syndrome. It’s a handicap if you have a generic first and last name like hundreds or thousands of others. You’ll never show up on Google try as you May with marketing yourself.
My strength, interest or leverage point is ________
Market need or problem that my brand could fulfill:__________
How I’m different from what’s out there:___________________
Look at analogy or linking ideas:
I’m a cross between _____________ and ________________. .
I’m like_____________ meets _____________. .
___________ + _____________ + ______________ = ________________
As a branding rule of thumb, when everyone is zigging, it’s usually smart to zag, particularly if you are the lesser known brand.
What you want to do in creating your brand identity is meld your female aptitudes with the passions and interests that make you unique as an individual. In other words, you need to build a personal brand that best leverages your aptitudes and assets.
What’s different about you? As Mom used to say, “You have five fingers and they’re all different for a reason.”