Sitting around the conference table with your executive team looking at the numbers, studying your industry trends and trying to figure out why you are still struggling despite the fact that you have increased your sales budget, hired top talent and unveiled a new marketing campaign.
When suddenly a colleague says, “I think we are missing the only true thing that sets us apart from every one else.”
You look at her waiting for her to continue.
“Us,” she says as she stands. “The Executive team sitting around this table.”
She peaks your interest so you lean in a little closer and she continues.
“Do you realize how valuable this team is? In this room we have people who have worked in this industry for years while others have been educated at some of the nation’s top schools. We have shaped trends, have helped our clients make millions of dollars, and one of us has even written a book. But we have never truly leveraged who we are. Everything we do has been focused on what we offer.”
Now she really has your attention and you’re incredibly intrigued.
She proceeds, “In a nutshell, we are game changers in our industry and it’s time we position ourselves so that the world knows—not just the next client. It’s time for us to demonstrate how each of us in our various departments are truly industry leaders—from our HR Director to our Chief Technology Officer. Don’t you realize that by raising the visibility of each individual, we automatically elevate the visibility of the entire company and probably… ten times faster?”
The truth is conversations such as this one are happening daily across the country by your competitors.
It has taken quite a while, but companies are beginning to understand that “it doesn’t matter how great you are if nobody knows who you are.” Therefore, the best leaders are beginning to leverage their people to help get the word out.
When you look around the halls of your company and see how deep your bench really is, are you using it to your company’s advantage? Do you recognize that in a highly technical society where we receive a million messages a minute, people still want to do business with people? They still want to believe that they are engaging with leading experts in their industry.
According to Influence and Co., a content creation company, executive branding is defined as:
“The act of sharing your expertise in your industry in a manner that educates and engages your target audience and drives business.”
When done strategically and effectively, the impact on your organization and its bottom line can be immense:
- Company growth
- Increase in leads
- Ability to reach a bigger audience
- Faster “close” ratio
- Ability to charge premium rates
In fact, according to the Hinge Research Institute, their studies reveal that people are willing to pay the most elevated expert up to 13 times more than an average professional.
So, if you are ready to pull your senior level executives from behind the desk and begin to put them in the marketplace so they can help you un-level the playing field, here are three things you can do immediately to get started:
- Identify those hidden gems within your organization: The subject matter experts (SMEs) within your organization should be brand assets. If they aren’t, you aren’t leveraging them correctly. It is time to identify who they are and what skills and talents they bring to the table (outside of their expertise). For example, are they great at writing, speaking, new business pitches, etc.?
- Develop a SME Elevation Strategy: There is a reason you hire subject matter experts. They know what they are talking about. When developing a strategy to elevate those experts in the marketplace, approach it as you would your sales, marketing, PR, social media or advertising plans. Be clear about what you want to achieve and what your end goal is, and then develop a step-by-step plan to get there.
- Execute your game plan: Once you have put together a strategic plan for each SME or Executive within your organization, make sure that it becomes a line item on your weekly meeting schedule and begin to measure the metrics.
Good luck. There is no reason to have all of that talent and not use it to the highest level. If you would like help developing a strategic plan for the SME and Executives at your organization, we would love to help. We offer a complimentary Executive Brand Audit to determine where you are, where the gaps are and what it is going to take to close those gaps for you to position you and your team for success. For more information or to schedule your complimentary audit, please contact: Sally Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org.