A brand is a business’s personality, and we all tend to hang out with the ones we like best. But let’s face it, we’re probably not going to go listen to a bunch of people from McDonald’s talk about how they managed to get where they are. We would (at least I would), go and listen to the likes of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, the late Steve Jobs, or, of course, Oprah Winfrey. Those people are not only living, breathing brands, but they are also thought leaders.
Thought leaders are the ones who inspire, who motivate, and the ones most generous with their knowledge. They are the ones who can turn a mere germ of an idea into a tangible reality, who know how to assemble a team, who help others succeed.
Thought leaders embody their brands, their brands drive their business, and their businesses are wildly successful. And the thing is, we’re all capable of being one. Becoming a thought leader can make a huge difference in the online world. That kind of passion combined with expertise is a very effective combination for helping to build your business.
I Repeat … Start With Why
A long time ago (2016) I wrote a blog called “Why You Should Always ‘Start With Why,’” where I talk about one of my favourite books by Simon Sinek titled Start With Why, which states at its core that nobody will do anything unless you tell them why.
Why should they believe in you, believe in your brand? Plus enjoy your personality so much that they actually want to spend time with you? Know how you would define yourself, and be able to do it quickly. Thought leaders are leaders because they have taken the time to whittle it down and truly define their purpose.
Based on that, here are some traits I’ve observed off of the people who I admire that I try to emulate.
- I know what I know. We’re all experts in something, it’s just sometimes it takes a little confidence and self-reflection to understand what that is. I fully understand my niche of expertise, which includes communicating goals effectively with clients and envisioning a marketing plan that will set people on a sustainable path to realizing objectives. I won’t, however, pretend to know something I don’t. This is disingenuous and can lead to real problems, including lost credibility.
- They’re genuine. Somewhat similar to the first point, being genuine rings true with people, and will allow your words to carry more weight.
- They don’t self-promote. Self-promoters are just annoying, and fly in the face of everything a brand should be about. It’s selfish to put yourself above your business. And client and customers don’t want to help someone who is obnoxious get rich with our money. Promote your brand and what you know, and leave yourself out of it.
- They publish. Use your company’s blog to get your voice down somewhere it can be found and found again. There are stories everywhere, all you have to do is think like a journalist to find them. Promote your words through social media, but remember to be humble.
- They don’t operate in a silo. Surround yourself with great people whose opinions you respect and make sure to use their brains often. These are the people who will ensure you remain authentic.
- They know their audience. Thought leaders have done the research necessary to identify their audience. We can’t ever be all things to all people all at once. Doing so will spread your brand so thin it will basically become diluted. Figure out who your ideal customer or client is and speak directly to them.
Let’s Talk …
Emphasize Design can help you build your brand and your business at the same time with expert brand reputation management advice. We also provide content development services to assist you in putting all of your great ideas into words. Our web and logo design services will bring your brand to life, and our online marketing skills will get your name out there. Contact us to talk more.