One of my corporate career regrets is that I never built an external brand.
Raising my external visibility during my career break in 2015 and now running my own business, I recognise how important it is being recognised externally.
Reading Time – 3 mins
Presented with Exciting New Opportunities
By blogging, attending meet-ups and connecting with my network on LinkedIn, I was offered opportunities I never saw before i.e. I have been –
- Asked to help evaluate a new software company by one of the potential investors
- Asked by a person on my LinkedIn network if I would consider applying for a CTO role for a fin-tech company
- Recruited by an internal UBS recruiter as he liked a blog post of mine and saw that I was looking for new opportunities.
I know I like talking about me, but for a change, I want to speak about Joe. Joe is a corporate leader who first made me think about how important an external brand can be.
By the way Joe is not his real name. I would like to say it was to protect his identity, but to be honest I am terrible with names and cannot remember it.
Let me set the exciting and fun scene for you.
I was asked to travel to Zurich and spend three days in a room and on a video conference call with forty other senior leaders. During this time, we were required to evaluate a large number of promotion candidates.
I can remember the excitement I felt as I was forced onto the plane in London by a colleague.
I arrived in Geneva and caught a train to Zurich, checked into my hotel and then caught a tram to the office. Everything they say about Switzerland is true, public transport runs spot on time and boy do they like their cheese.
The first day was like pulling teeth. Storm Sandy had hit New York a few days before and our colleagues were unable to get onto the video call until around 3pm in the afternoon. We finished around 11pm and went for dinner at 1am. I suffered three days of this and it felt like I was jet lagged and in a different time zone.
On the first day, one of the candidates caught my attention. This was Joe. Joe is the recognised expert of enterprise application performance testing internally and externally.
The next day at the hotel, I googled Joe. He was a thought leader in his field, spoke at many events and was respectively talked about on other websites.
I was very impressed with Joe and started to think about my own external branding. Internally I was the front to back Derivatives Trade Management expert, but externally I was just a tumbleweed blowing down the street.
A Few More Examples
I see a lot of leaders starting to build their external brands on LinkedIn, by blogging and by speaking at industry events. Here are just a few –
- One of my colleagues Jennifer speaks at industry events about her role – https://www.ipsoft.com/2018/07/24/dws-2018-interview-jennifer-hewit-credit-suisse/
- A former client of mine Nathalie is constantly striving to improve gender diversity and inclusion in technology on LinkedIn and speaking events
- Louise McCarthy is a CIO I also see a lot of on LinkedIn promoting her change and digital transformation brand
Why Should I Bother?
I see many advantages to building your external brand –
- Creates new opportunities internally and externally as your visibility and popularity increase
- Become a thought leader in your field and asked to talk at industry events
- Boost your internal impact by understanding the external market more
- Attract talent as people want to work for you
- Have fun by sharing your knowledge and expertise
What About Your External Brand?
You can see why I regret not ever building my external brand.
Recognising this and realising how important this is to my new business, I have just invested in an 9-month accelerator programme that will help me better define, launch and build my external brand.
What’s the one thing you can do in the next two weeks to start building your external brand?