Tell a Compelling Leadership Story to Fuel Your Brand

Tell a Compelling Leadership Story to Fuel Your Brand

Marketing and branding has been redefined in recent years around the concept of narrative. Consumers want to buy the story, not just the product. Given the choice between a bottle of wine you know little about and one that includes details about the history of the vintage grapes and the winemaker’s passion for excellence, we buy the bottle that comes with a good narrative.

So if you don’t know how to eloquently tell the story of your career, you’re missing out on a huge branding opportunity.

Even if you failed, you can reframe that experience into something valuable. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” was initially turned down by about a dozen publishers. But now the author’s rejection contributes to the strength of her popularity. We all experience setbacks or have ghosts in our closets that make us uncomfortable. But those who figure out how to transform those into empowering assets move ahead by leaps and bounds.

It’s simple predictable promotion physics: If something is weighing you down you’re being held back. Release it and you’ll make measurable progress. But why settle for that? To really put rocket fuel momentum behind your career try turning it into a positive, one-of-a-kind asset that distinguishes you above the competition.

Think about the turning points in your life. What hurdles did you overcome? What battle scars do you have? What achievements stand out as especially significant? What is it that sets your biography apart from everyone else’s? Are there stories you have shared about your experience that seem particularly interesting to others? Those are the golden nuggets of your unique and individual narrative, so mine them for all they’re worth!

Take Away Exercise

Many stories fall into a particular genre, just as movies or novels do.

  • Are you the victim? Do you always blame others for your lack of success and why you’ve not achieved the life of your dreams?
  • Are you the hero? Did you overcome life’s difficult challenges and persevere to get ahead so that you can now share your success with others?
  • Are you the comeback kid? Maybe you lost your job, endured a personal tragedy, or failed in some colossal way. But you kept trying and eventually proved your naysayers wrong as you triumphed in the end.

You get the idea. Now figure out what character you want to play and build your own authentic narrative to attract the attention and support of others!


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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion™ System.

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Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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