It’s a common misconception that thought leadership and personal branding are the same. The former is about sharing your ideas and insights with the world while the latter is about audience perception.

The difference between the two is that thought leadership requires more effort, but it results in higher credibility. Whereas personal branding may accelerate the impact and leverage an individual’s value beyond first impressions.

Regardless of differences, both these concepts are important for business leaders today. Here are the most prevalent myths about thought leadership and personal branding

The Reality of Thought Leadership

There are two types of thought leaders in the world. The first type has an opinion and wants other people to agree with them. However, the second type wants people to think for themselves and form their own opinions.

On the surface, the first type seems more efficient. However, the second type of thought leadership may take time and considerable effort, but its influence is long-lasting. 

It is a powerful tool to help leaders and companies generate influence, authority and image development. And there are many pitfalls that leaders and their companies can fall into when trying to influence with thought.

Thought Leadership; Plato: Socrates; Personal Brand; ideas; Image; Image Group International

If we delve into what thought leadership means, we can say that ‘marketeers’ use it to establish their brand as the go-to expert in their domain. 

Thought leaders are often invited to speak at conferences and seminars. They may publish articles or blogs on the topic they are thought-leading in. 

Businesses also use this kind of leadership outside of marketing departments. HR departments who want to establish themselves as experts on hiring practices, finance experts who want to become thought leaders in the growing area of fin-tech, or engineers who want to be thought leaders in the field of engineering.

The secret isn’t spending money on advertising or expensive events to be successful. You just need to share your distinct knowledge with your target audience for them to take notice. 

Distinguish Yourself Online

The marketplace is a competitive one. With firms competing with each other to get the best and brightest, it can be hard to identify your brand as unique. A strong personal brand can help you stand out as a thought leader. It can give you an edge over the competition.

A strong personal branding is vital for success in any profession. As you may know “90% of success is showing up.” The same applies for success in life. Successful people show up on time, are always prepared, and know-how to conduct themselves with professionalism and courtesy.

The era of social media has brought with it certain challenges.One can overcome these challenges personal values and power. By ‘power’ we mean personal reputational power, which is the underlying influencer in your area of expertise. 

In Essence

Every individual is unique in their way. Personal branding plays a vital role to highlight this uniqueness be it CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, politicians, or any other kind of profession- every individual brings their own identity to the table. 

Perceptions may differ based on experiences – negative, positive, or neutral, but these perceptions revolve around several factors. 

Five Must-Haves of Branding Perception

A brand is more than just a logo. It is the perception maker. A brand is made up of five elements: 

  • Motivations
  • Values
  • Personality
  • Equity
  • Visuals
Thought Leadership; Plato: Socrates; Personal Brand; ideas; Image; Image Group International

To understand a personal brand’s perception, one must first know the motivations that drive it. An individual’s motivations are what define their values and personality.

If a person has strong values and personality then it will have equity over time as people come to identify with those traits.

Visuals are what people see when they think of a company or product the same goes for people which can be used to reinforce the other elements of branding perception.

Each element holds a certain level of relevance and importance for a brand. Many professionals require an outsider’s perspective to understand the world around them with clarity and purpose. Every brand has its own USP and a set of values, purpose, and identity that no one brand can share. The greater the distinctions the greater thought leadership elevation. Check out the latest information on virtual event engagement.

Hence, it is necessary to communicate your brand differentiation powerfully. It creates a great impact in the minds of people today. Showcase your story with creativity, authenticity, and engagement to hold a powerful position over others.

Attracting For Meaning And Joy

A lot of people are not aware of the power of words and how they can change one’s life. It is important to know the type of people you want to attract and the type of people you don’t want to attract.

Attracting the right clients and networks is crucial for success. If we have a strong connected network of people who share our values, it will be easier for us to grow. There should be a relationship of trust, congruency, and consistency between a brand and its stakeholders. Differentiate between people who bring you business satisfaction and joy and who don’t. Create a clear picture to gain an edge in your communications. 

Brand Promise And Confidence

A brand’s confidence in its ability to be true to their word and deliver on promises. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes people can go off-brand. However, we should always strive to become the best. A strong brand promise can help leaders and their businesses build confidence in their products or services and increase client loyalty.

The core message and meaning of the brand are what differentiates it from competitors. A brand should be confident in what it offers. That confidence can communicated through its words, actions, and visuals while seeking a higher consistency rate.

So, step up into the world and prove your real worth by portraying the best version of yourself.

“Life is too short not to be your best.”

Jon Michail



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Jon Michail and his team at Image Group International dress executives, entrepreneur and thought leaders to look world class. They also partner with their clients to achieve breakthrough results with contrarian and disruptive ways to grow and monetise their personal and business brands. A veteran coach with a Who’s Who clientele, Jon is the CEO and Founder of Image Group International, an Australian-based corporate and personal brand image advisory and coaching organisation that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents. He is recognized as Australasia’s No. 1 Image Coach.

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