It is so difficult to convince non-content team members to contribute one article to the brand’s official blog or publish one post, or re-share a company post. I work with teams across the organization who come from different functions such as content, marketing, product, sales, human resources, and engineering. “If it’s not a part of my KRA or performance appraisal framework, then why should I care about it.” The magic happens when ‘Personal branding’ becomes a part of their KRA. There is more to it.
This comes with a great deal of rigidity from the organization with the fear of attrition and high independence passed onto the employee. I would just call this a rigid mindset and not a growth mindset.
Many business owners and managers defend this rigid mindset by confronting that “it’s easy to use words like mindset to win an argument, but when it comes to numbers, adding personal branding as a KRA doesn’t help.”
This article brings numbers to prove that ‘encouraging your employees to build thought leadership with their personal brand ties back to adding value to the organization, enhancing the brand, and stirring collective responsibility.’
And in the process, I will be answering some questions such as:
- How to inculcate Thought Leadership among teams?
- How to encourage your leadership and employees to invest time to build their Personal Brand?
- Aligning your team with a purpose that motivates them
- How to tackle excuses that your team comes back with to not take up any personal branding or thought leadership?
- How Thought Leadership contributes to conversions?
How to inculcate Thought Leadership among teams?
Both for organizational branding and personal branding thought leadership is a high priority action.
- Start with your company positioning.
- Create attributes and niche that you want your team to associate with. This needs to align with their professional destination and role and/or their personal interests.
Can you imagine, for instance, Malala in a context outside female education or Oprah Winfrey as a chef?
I guess that would be too wild. And, that is because we associate every thought leader with an idea that they spread. So, for your team, start by helping them associate themselves with a strong and unique idea.
Before a thought leader emerges, every person goes over three deliberate phases of action.
- Thinking about the definition of an idea that is unique to a person
- Discovering one’s self and aligning with the idea, and
- Treatising with a self-pact of how one’s ecosystem looks like to emerge as a thought leader.
Emergence is like the surface that is visible to your audience. After emerging as a thought leader, the invisible future involves:
- Repeating a proven process for further customizations
- Evolving your thought leadership for the upcoming ages, and
- Amplifying the leadership.
How to encourage your leadership and employees to invest time to build their Personal Brand?
Some of the great spiritual gurus including the Dalai Lama encourage their students to start a sense of purpose. Even organizations need to begin with the purpose that goes behind creating a thought leader’s brand. Help them choose from among the following. Some are driven by being a part of the larger organizational bodies. And some others keep their personal agenda above the company’s needs.
Each person is motivated by a different purpose, so a single purpose cannot help them begin their journey to thought leadership.
Help everyone on your team align with a purpose
Tell them the collective vision that you want to achieve. This could be convincing them to journal their work from home stories, encouraging them to use a new AI technology and journaling about it transformed different journeys, reshuffling roles, and presenting those learnings on digital platforms.
Collective thought leadership
Partnering with inspiring leaders and showcasing their work on social media and public forums.
Being a part of a larger brand
As the thought leadership compounds, the brand also starts growing. When there are more and more people exercising thought leadership, brand amplification is a natural by-product.
With more fans and community engagement, not only would your team bring knowledge within different roles for your organization, it would also help them use this work for shifting roles across organizations.
Stirring collective responsibility
You could have 3 or 10 people in your top leadership. In the worst case, if 10-30 % invest in thought leadership, you would have so much more content contributed to the organizational brand.
It also leads to healthy competition to raise the bar of leadership. With more and more followers, to a specific person, there is a community that you invite to engage with your brand. Take the example of Mark Kilens, VP of content and community at Drift. Along with him are other people at the organization who talk about how Drift can contribute to the marketing community.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft loops in employees leading different projects to present them on Microsoft Inspire through their acquired platform of Linkedin.
Custom Fit.ai is a customer experience optimization platform that loops in everyone right from the founders to the growth engineer to participate in their community activity of the GrowthFit interview series.
It makes your leadership and team members feel included in the exercise of enhancing thought leadership.
How to tackle the excuses that your team comes back with?
Creating content is a necessary tactical task for thought leaders. But, you would often hear your team return with excuses. Most often, except for the content teams, of course. Writing is the core job of a salaried content writer, so I guess excuses won’t work there.
All the excuses have a workaround. Here are some popular ones and also how they can be tackled.
Excuse: I am already writing as per the content calendar. I have targets to meet.
Workaround: Create your portfolio and your own blog on Medium. It helps in showcasing you as priced writing asset of our company. We need your thoughts and views beyond the calendar. What would you like to write about?
Excuse: We already have enough of data analytics, and tech integration work on us. We need to achieve conversions, and hence don’t have time to create and publish content.
Workaround: Contributing to the thought leadership of a brand creates a strong association around the brand for the person. It also attracts the right audience and brings the marketer closer to different buyer personas. It also adds more influential score to their ideas and opinions.
Excuse: We don’t have much to do with building a relationship with the audience. So, any effort from the product team to build a personal brand and contribute to the organization’s thought leadership would be futile.
Workaround: Product teams are great at building products, features, and articulating their product roadmap. Sharing some behind the scene videos of how you worked on a product would put you in the spotlight among the industry watchers. Also, it would be really easy for your to attract the right talent and a like-minded team. It sets a strong course for the rest of your career. A great personal brand also positions your product for good integrations, leading to product enhancements.
Human Resource team
Excuse: We are not good at marketing. We are busy convincing people that this is the best place to work. It is a lot of hard work to do that.
Workaround: “We agree”. To make talent acquisition and retention easy, create a personal brand that attracts the right talent around you. You can create a most sought after employer brand that can easily attract people who would apply for a job when the time is right.
Engineering teams and Developers
Excuse: We are not good at content creation. We can code but not jump into branding.
Workaround: You are at the right spot. You need not be a content creator where you shoot videos or write long articles. You could simply journal about how a code snippet works. How you worked on a specific platform? You could pursue creating your niche on platforms such as GitHub, Redditt, and Slack which are more developer focused.
You could join marketplaces and submit your extensions, plugins, code snippets, and other tech hacks.
For all those who seek professional to promote their personal brand, get in touch with me to join a impact-driven workshop.
How Thought Leadership contributes to conversions?
You need to measure everything when it comes to marketing. Adding thought leadership to your personal branding mix indicates that you should also be able to measure it.
- Create a video channel or podcast: track subscriptions and downloads
- Create a Medium or blog page: track claps, shares, and followers
- Create a course: track downloads and subscriptions
- Create social accounts: track followers, connections, engagement rate
Does your team need a Thought Leadership workshop? Get in touch, let’s talk.