• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • How to Create a Personal Brand by Becoming a Thought Leader

    Let me also start off by thanking Dan for the opportunity to participate in the Personal Branding Blog. I’ll be posting on Wednesdays and thought I might focus initially on one path I know very well and that path is – how to create a personal brand by becoming a thought leader.

    thought-leader

    People don’t buy “run of the mill” anything anymore!

    I work in a professional services firm and in order for firms like ours to differentiate themselves they have to create perhaps hundreds of personal brands around individuals who understand niche topics extremely well. And since buyers have transparency through the use of search engines they can really get a handle on just how qualified any individual in an organization is to perform a given service for them.

    Elise Bauer once wrote in an article on thought leadership.

    A distinguishing characteristic of a Thought Leader is “the recognition from the outside world that the company deeply understands its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader marketplace in which it operates.”

    Think about it, if you or a loved one was going to have heart surgery in New York, don’t you think you would Google “Heart Surgeon New York” and want the heart surgeon who is the most widely known in the field? Same applies in consulting because people just don’t buy run of the mill consultants anymore.

    5 Steps to becoming the Thought Leader?

    1. Start by defining a clear objective – Most thought leaders become thought leaders because they have a desire to educate the folks that follow them.
    2. Pick your spot – There are always just a few thought leaders in every industry and/or field of study so pick a spot that you can differentiate yourself with.
    3. Find your voice – We can’t all be Hemingway. Don’t try to write like someone else, find your own voice and don’t try to change your demeanor.
    4. Don’t try too hard – Thought leaders genuinely influence others by creating, advancing and sharing their ideas. Thought leadership is not what you say or write. It is a state of being. Use your content as your attraction vehicle.
    5. Lather Rinse Repeat – you can’t just write one blog post and call yourself a thought leader – it comes with persistence, it comes with passion about a particular topic and it comes with dedication to continue to publish and publish often.

    The impact of a Thought Leaders can be felt in the way they catalyze others to do business. Take Michael Hammers 1990 work thought leadership on business reengieering – it changed every industry – now that’s the effect of becoming a thought leader and created a lasting brand for Michael Hammer!

    Author:

    Paul Dunay is the Global Director of Integrated Marketing for BearingPoint a Management and Technology Consulting firm and author of the blog Buzz Marketing for Technology.

    avatar

    Paul Dunay is the Global Director of Integrated Marketing at BearingPoint, Inc and blogs at Buzz Marketing for Technology. He has spent more than 20 years in marketing, creating buzz for leading technology companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Avaya and Cisco. He also has delivered work for American Express, Motorola, Genzyme, Novartis, Citigroup, Cendant and Ernst & Young. Paul has been a featured speaker for AMA, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, BtoB Magazine, and the CMO Council.

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    Posted in Brand Yourself As, Career Development, Corporate Branding, Employer Branding, Personal Branding, Positioning
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    9 comments on “How to Create a Personal Brand by Becoming a Thought Leader
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Radek Pilich says:

      “Most thought leaders become thought leaders because they have a desire to educate the folks that follow them.”

      Thanks for that quote! It helps to make my career choice much more straightforward.

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      jonburg says:

      Great point!

      I would add a deep social element to this approach. One can present brilliant positions on all the right subjects, but without regular participation in the right community, you aren’t going to generate a following. it is only through building relationships that will drive people to your content, that you can begin to build a following, establishing oneself as a thought leader

      If a man teaches, but no one is there to listen, has anyone learned? Possibly himself.
      If a man teaches, but no one knows that he is teaching, has he built a personal brand?

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      yinka olaito says:

      Thought leadership has great advantage but posses a lot of demand. Just when others give up, thought leaders continue to give until they add the ‘extra’ that is lacking in many.
      Thanks paul for this post.wednesdays will be great now with this quality of mind here.

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      Chad Levitt says:

      @ Paul Thought leadership is an interesting subject because it is developed in many ways. I’ve found many have the desire to be a thought leader because they think it’s cool, or it would be a great way for them to make some extra dough. However, this mindset usually leaves you disappointed because you realize thought leadership is tougher to come by than you originally believed. This isn’t because it’s too hard and beyond your ability, anybody who tells you that is just crazy, it’s that developing thought leadership takes time and much effort on your part, which usually requires a very high level of passion for your niche. If you’ve got passion anything is possible! So if you want to be a leader in thought — start with your passion!!!

      • avatar
        EXPERT
        Maria Duron says:

        Chad,
        You are spot on with your emphasis on passion. It’s that “music” that’s heard far and above any words someone might say. Thanks for your thought leadership on passion!

    5. avatar
      EXPERT
      Tony Ruiz says:

      Great post. I believe thought leaders lead with passion. Welcome to Wednesdays Paul.

    6. avatar
      EXPERT

      Thought leadership is as good as personal development and ability to share idea. If you realize you will see that at one time you used to be a newbie and now you are better. So thought leadership brings about influence. The more people you have help to achieve their goal, the better for your personality and influence.

    7. avatar
      EXPERT
      Chad Levitt says:

      @Maria – I believe everything builds upon one’s passion. Look what Dan built through his passion for personal branding. We wouldn’t even be commenting here if it Dan wasn’t head over heels passionate about his niche.

    7 Pings/Trackbacks for "How to Create a Personal Brand by Becoming a Thought Leader"
    1. […] example, consider what Paul wrote on Wednesday: “People don’t buy ‘run of the mill’ anything […]

    2. […] How to Create a Personal Brand by Becoming a Thought Leader Becoming a “thought leader” might be another way of saying: Be known for what you write about — like a beat reporter. […]

    3. […] and test. Prune your brand every 6 months and be sure to have a clear objective (see last post on How to create a Personal Brand by becoming a Thought Leader […]

    4. […] how you want to be defined. What are the attributes of your product. Are you innovative? Are you a trendsetter? What are your specialties? If you were sitting on a shelf at a store, why would someone choose you […]

    5. […] how you want to be defined. What are the attributes of your product. Are you innovative? Are you a trendsetter? What are your specialties? If you were sitting on a shelf at a store, why would someone choose you […]

    6. […] Either way you craft your brand I believe you need to continually refine it, keep these things in mind and test. Prune your brand every 6 months and be sure to have a clear objective (see last post on Becoming a Thought Leader) […]

    7. […] Either way you craft your brand I believe you need to continually refine it, keep these things in mind and test. Prune your brand every 6 months and be sure to have a clear objective (see last post on Becoming a Thought Leader) […]

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