John Mediana is a master of executive branding, a form of personal branding that helps C-suite execs to establish themselves as powerful players within their industry.
It’s an area that often gets overlooked and overshadowed by traditional influencers and entrepreneurs, but as Mediana proves, it’s something that could skyrocket your business and increase your opportunities.
I sat down with John to discuss personal branding as it applies to an executive. You can see the full video below (along with the corresponding guide), but here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect:
- What is Executive Branding? An executive brand is a personal brand as it applies to C-suite execs. It’s how the world perceives you and how you position yourself within your industry.
- The Importance of Personal Branding: An executive brand can help you to grow your business by establishing a strong and well-connected network. It allows you to become an industry influencer, someone who is respected in their field and will always have high-paying opportunities available to them.
- Content Strategy Tips: Building an executive brand isn’t just about making a few social media posts and then expecting the world to take notice. You need a content strategy, and that can include everything from videos to written Q & As. It can sound pretty daunting, but it’s much easier than you might think.
Mediana is an expert in this field—the go-to man for executive branding. To learn about his strategies and methods, take a look at the following guide.
What Is Executive Branding?
According to John Mediana, executive branding can be defined as “reputation management”.
Everyone has a personal brand. In John Mediana’s words, “if you’re breathing, you have a brand”.
It’s how the world perceives you. It’s your reputation.
In the words of Bianca Bucaram, a previous guest on the show, it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Where executive branding differs is that it focuses on the executive space. You carry that brand with you everywhere that you go, and it impacts everything that you do.
For a real world example, take a look at Elon Musk.
His personal branding has turned him into one of the most instantly recognizable individuals in the United States.
With a single Twitter post, he can make or break cryptocurrencies and businesses. He is a businessman, an entrepreneur, but he is also an industry influencer who holds an immense amount of power in his hands.
Musk can say things and do things that Tesla can’t. He has more freedom and more control. Sure, he’s still part of Tesla and his words will impact its success, but even if Tesla disappeared tomorrow, he would still be Elon Musk and he would still hold incredible sway in the technology sector.
How To Separate A Personal Brand From A Business Brand
If you work hard to grow a business or help others with their businesses, how can you find the time to build an executive brand?
How does someone like Matt Higgins—who runs businesses and invests in countless others—find time in his day to conduct interviews, post videos, write blogs, and work on his personal brand?
If you’re so focused on the work that you do, is a personal brand really necessary?
It’s a question I posed to John Mediana and one that many business owners have queried.
The simple answer is “yes”.
You’re a leader in your space. You’re someone who is passionate about your work. You need to be online. You need to be putting yourself out there and showing people how great you are and how hard you work.
You can always find time. Matt Higgins can do it. Elon Musk can do it. It might seem impossible right now, but you’ll be able to do it as well.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I spend a lot of time helping other brands to grow and what little free time I have is devoted to meetings, negotiations, and traveling.
The idea of building an executive brand was very daunting to me, but I did it. I started small, I got into a rhythm, and these days I am producing blogs, videos, podcasts, and filling all of my social media pages with daily content.
You don’t need to go from 0 to 100. Take the first step, get settled into a rhythm, and when you’re ready, you can move to the next step.
As for statements like “I’m not comfortable with social media”, don’t worry, as the same is true for 90% of authors, artists, and poets, as well as millions of entrepreneurs, musicians, and business owners.
Not everyone is extroverted, not everyone is comfortable with posting pictures and blogs for the world to see, but once they start, they get comfortable.
It gets easier with time.
Just look at Habib Salo, the CEO of Young Nails. He admits to being very awkward and uncomfortable when he first started vlogging for his company. These days, however, he posts regularly and is incredibly charismatic and popular.
I also consider myself to be an introvert. I am more comfortable behind a computer than in front of a camera, but these days, I host my own podcast and I appear as a guest on many other shows.
Tips For Building An Executive Personal Brand
Your network is your net worth. The more connections you make, the stronger you will be.
As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
The right connections will make it easier for you to get a job, attract investors/buyers, and get the right people on board.
It’s all about connections in business and executives know that as well as anyone.
It doesn’t matter who you are or how introverted you are. You need that network and can benefit greatly from it.
I can think of several people who are extremely introverted and almost painfully shy, and yet they have built a personal brand and have benefited from doing so.
In one instance, an acquaintance of mine needed weeks of convincing before he even opened a LinkedIn account. He cringed at the idea of connecting with strangers and putting himself out there, and every time he made a connection, he questioned every message he sent.
Was that too forward?
Are they going to think I’m weird?
On the surface, you could be forgiven for thinking that some people just aren’t cut out for personal branding. But he fought through. He made it work. And today, he is reaping the benefits.
He’s still awkward as hell, but at least he doesn’t second guess everything.
Regardless of your industry or specialism—whether you’re an author, artist, musician, B2B brand, consultant, or e-commerce guru—you need to grow your network and that’s where personal branding comes in.
He provided all of the following tips during our discussion:
Make Your Details Clear
In the interview with John Mediana, I noted that many business LinkedIn profiles will say that someone has been with a company for X number of years, without listing any further details.
If your profile has the same limited information, you’re doing it wrong.
The point of that profile is to tell prospective employees, investors, and acquaintances about your career and your talents.
A single list that shows the name of the company and the years you worked just won’t do it.
What did you do when you were there? What was your role, what made you unique, why did they keep you there for so long, and why should anyone care?
Your LinkedIn page is your executive portfolio. It’s how the world perceives you.
It’s not just a quick list of basic achievements and qualifications. You’re not just checking boxes. It’s a CV, bio, and social page rolled into one—use it to your advantage!
Of course, that doesn’t mean your page should be filled with grandiose statements like, “I was the best there” and “I practically carried the company”.
You’re not trying to win brownie points with friends down the pub. You’re trying to attract like-minded execs and entrepreneurs and that requires a certain level of decorum and professionalism.
Execute Your Content
Building a personal brand extends to much more than a few 140-character social media posts. It includes a multi-faceted content strategy that spans videos, images, live streams, blogs, and anything else that can help you to get your message out there.
John Mediana recommends looking for the path of least resistance when it comes to creating content.
There are many different forms of content, and your goal is to find the one that suits you best, the one that you are most comfortable with.
Take videos as an example.
A single one-hour video can work wonders for your executive brand.
If we consider my interview with Mediana, it spans over 60-minutes of information on the subject of personal branding and executive branding. It is a video that is live-streamed on several different platforms and once those streams are finished, a blog is written that spans between 2,500 and 5,000 words.
After finishing this blog, I will chop that video into multiple segments of between 30 and 90 seconds each—anything that is valuable and quote-worthy will be cut and edited.
Using those segments and this guide, I will pay an editor to search for quotes, articles, paragraphs, and anything else that offers value within the video and guide.
Each quote can be added to a still image to create a picture post. Each paragraph or snippet can be turned into a written post or even a blog.
In the end, I have used one video as a foundation for hundreds of pieces of content.
If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, there are some easy alternatives.
You could just write blogs or supply the information and pay a copywriter to piece them together. Alternatively, you could conduct a live Q & A.
If that’s still not something you’re comfortable with, try sitting down with an acquaintance and talk about industry-relevant topics. You’ll be nervous to begin with, but as you’re talking to a friend, you’ll eventually settle down and the conversation will flow easily.
In the end, you can send the recorded conversation to an editor and ask them to chop it up, essentially turning your most eloquent moments and quotes into a series of videos.
Once you have created and published the content, be patient.
Content isn’t easy and success isn’t instant, so if you write one blog post and it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you should give up.
As Mediana says, “Do the work”. It’s all about the journey that gets you to the right answers.
Those initial posts might not attract millions or even thousands of viewers/readers, but they will help you to build a foundation. You’ll become better known within your industry and will also have a better grasp of how to create and post content.
Not sure what your content should cover? It’s actually quite straightforward
The purpose of personal branding is to position yourself as an expert, and that means you should answer questions that people in your industry are asking.
Imagine that you know nothing about cryptocurrency and you’re eager to learn.
You run a quick Google search to find some answers, and you stumble across a YouTube video where cryptocurrencies are outlined in a complete and digestible format.
By the end of the video, you have the answers you were looking for.
Whatever happens in your cryptocurrency journey, you will forever associate that YouTuber with being an industry expert. You will hold them in high esteem—and deservedly so.
That’s the impression that you need to leave upon people. Be the person who gives them the answers they seek.
Even if your content is Q & A, that’s enough—that can be your content strategy.
Google trends and searches will give you ideas when it comes to writing and filming content.
Just type your industry term preceded by “what”, “why”, “do”, or “who”. Google will give you some auto-fill search options. These are the questions that people are asking and the ones that you need to answer as an industry influencer.
Don’t Farm It Out
The foundation of the content has to come from you. You’re the expert. You have the skills, so you need to be the one who writes or films the content.
There is nothing wrong with hiring videographers, copywriters, editors, and even assistants. They can help you to polish the content and ensure that it’s professional enough to stand out.
But when it comes to personal brand content, it’s all about you and how you interact with the community. It’s your experience and your skill set, and you can’t transfer that to your 15-year-old nephew who’s working for $10 an hour on the weekend.
Don’t delay—start producing content today.
Forget about waiting until the time seems right or until you have the best equipment. As long as you have a phone or laptop, along with a few minutes to research, prepare, and create, then you’re ready to go.
You don’t need to be a superstar with your first posts. You don’t need to be the best or the most professional.
Just make a start and see where the road takes you.
You will be surprised at who is interested in your content, even in the early stages. And if no one is watching your videos or interacting with your live streams, it doesn’t matter—at least you’re getting some practice.
Those early stages are all about getting used to the process of creating and posting content. Over time, you will become sharper and more polished, and eventually, when you’re at the peak of your powers, you’ll have a big audience.
Don’t be too disappointed that no one is watching your videos or reading your content in the early stages.
Eventually, you’re going to look back at your early content and cringe at how amateurish it was. When that happens, you’ll be thankful that only a handful of acquaintances were consuming it and delighted that you had the time to master your craft.
The $100,000 Question
Do The Work.
That was John Mediana’s $100,000 advice for building an executive brand and becoming an industry influencer.
If you start doing the work and you commit to it, more questions, answers, and opportunities will follow. You will open new doors and create new chances to expand your executive brand.
Those words were printed across John’s cap and so they remained on screen throughout the interview. It’s only fitting that they serve as the final words on this guide to executive branding.
If you want to succeed, you must do the work.