What is the Playlist You are Creating for Your Personal Brand?

Music — it’s a huge part of my life and I’m a fan of many genres! I recently read an article about the big changes going on in the music industry and found it quite thought-provoking from a business and leadership perspective.

Here’s what caught my attention …

Analog Stereo Turntable Vinyl Record Player with headphonesArtists/record labels are looking for new ways to reach their audience and instead of spending a majority of their time connecting with radio stations and DJs to give air time to their music, they’ve discovered a whole new channel in which to market. Any ideas who that might be?

Group fitness instructors!

I’m also a big fan of group fitness and am living proof of this concept. I cannot tell you how many new songs/artists I’m introduced to because I heard them in my cycle, yoga or body-pump class. I’ve used much of that music to create my own workout playlist and love it! The industry has now recognized this new “DJ” role that fitness instructors play and are beginning to proactively market music to them!

That got me thinking about how business leaders may be limiting their view about who they consider to be their “audience” or stakeholders. I’m challenging you to think about broadening your view about how you are connecting with and touching the lives of others.

Here are some things to consider:

  • From the business perspective – When you think about yourself as a business leader and the products or services that your company offers to the marketplace, are you thinking about ALL the various ways in which those products/services are consumed? While you may not be in a sales/marketing role, it’s important to bring fresh ideas about all the various aspects of the marketplace and the ways in which potential customers could be consuming what your company has to offer. Per my previous story, the music industry is a perfect example of this. What are all the possible ways in which customers hear or learn about your product or service? This applies to BOTH INTERNAL and EXTERNAL customers.
  • From the leadership perspective – Of course you lead the people who are in your department/group/team, but to who else may you be providing leadership? What other functional groups and people across the organization look to you for leadership? How about the future employees? As overwhelming as it may seem, you are looked to for leadership where ever you go…that means outside the organization as well. Bottom line, you are representing the company, whether it’s in how you behave at your daughter’s soccer game, in community organizations, interacting with external candidates, etc… Right or wrong, people make judgments about the company — “what type of company would hire a person like that?” Your brand of leadership says a lot about the company’s brand. Why do you think Nike (and many others), dropped Lance Armstrong like a hot potato? While he wasn’t even a part of their organization, he clearly represented their brand.
  • From your personal brand perspective  Taking things one step further, how you show up, day-in and day-out, is what creates your PERSONAL BRAND. There is a great article by Tom Peters, The Brand Called YOU, where he makes the case for thinking of yourself as a brand, just like Pepsi, Starbucks and Nike. It’s important to think about the various people with whom you come in contact and be intentional about what you want to be known for — what will your brand be? Here are some questions to get you thinking: – What am I most proud of? – What do I/can I do to add value? – What do I want people to say about me when I walk out of the room? – What do I want people to think about me when I walk into a room? Once you have those descriptors on paper, think about what behaviors you can demonstrate that will drive those desired perceptions. THEN START BEHAVING THAT WAY!

Most of what is out in the world is out of our control. However, we ALWAYS HAVE CONTROL IN HOW WE BEHAVE.

Just like the DJ has control over the playlist, I ask you … what’s the playlist you’re creating for your personal brand?

Honestly, we seldom realize how many people we impact and what simple act, kind word or courageous demonstration could positively change another’s life and outlook. So take the opportunity to look up, open your eyes widely and broaden your perspective on your leadership and influence.

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at mduesterhoft@people-results.com