Brand-specific Leadership

Building leadership through your brand

Be Specific

Your brand differentiates you from the competition. But what about your leaders?

A brand-specific approach to leadership development:

  • Creates a distinct leadership culture that’s aligned to your brand and business strategy1
  • Defines and builds the leadership competencies that deliver results1
  • Drives employee engagement through brand connection, building ambassadors for the brand2-4

YourBrand™ also extends the traditional approach of Values Based Leadership and values alignment, to enable the connection of employees’ personal leadership brands and the corporate brand, to drive employee-brand engagement.5,6

Build Your Leadership Brand

Leadership branding is about building your reputation as a business for developing exceptional leaders. Leaders with a distinct set of talents, uniquely geared to deliver your brand promise – to both customers and stakeholders.

It differentiates what YOUR leaders do from what your competitors’ leaders do, translating your customers’ expectations – your brand promise – into the leadership competencies you wish to build.1,2

In turn, customer-focussed leadership drives customer-focussed employee behaviour, building brand ambassadors and creating a customer-centric culture.2-5

And, by focusing on leadership as an organisational capability, rather than just the development of individual leaders, it builds your leadership pipeline: your next generation of leaders. Your leadership bench.

What are the brand-specific competencies of your leadership brand?


Your brand is much more than your corporate identity. It’s what your customers think, feel and understand it to be. What they experience it to be.

Your brand experience is delivered through your people.

Whether it’s the goods or services they produce, their interaction with customers face‐to‐face, on the phone, via email, on social media… even around the dinner table with friends, your people create the experience of your brand.

However, research from Gallup3,7 shows that only a fraction of employees are actually effective ambassadors for their company’s brand:

  • Only 42% know what their organisation stands for and what makes it different from its competition
  • Only a third of encourage family members and friends to purchase or use their company’s products and services
  • Only 27% think their company always delivers on the promise it makes to customers

Companies struggle to communicate the core of their brand down to the front line. And, if your employees don’t know your brand promise, they certainly won’t be able to deliver to it!


We all have our own personal brand, whether we consciously manage and shape it… or allow others to do it for us.

In fact research suggests that less than 15% of us have clearly defined our personal brand, with less than 5% of us living it consistently at work – each and every day.8

Your personal leadership brand is your identity and distinctiveness as a leader. By understanding – and clearly defining – your purpose, vision, mission, strengths, opportunities etc., it brings great focus to WHO you are and HOW you are.

Lead self – or self-leadership – is knowing who you are, what you can do, where you are going and why, combined with the ability to self-manage your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there.9 It’s is the essential foundation to any leadership development or executive coaching programme.10

YourBrand™ is designed to connect people and brand – enabling everyone to understand how their unique talents and competencies deliver results. It’s about connecting the personal with the corporate.

The most successful companies help employees understand their personal brands, capitalizing on the integration of these individual traits with the broader corporate objectives.

William Arruda4

Engaged Employees Build Strong Brands

Regardless of which industry you’re in, building a strong brand requires that all employees feel connected to the corporate brand and understand their role in turning brand aspirations into reality.

And for your leaders, it’s essential to connect employee expectations to create a successful customer-centric, employer brand proposition.

That’s why we’ve designed YourBrand™ to:

  • Inspire everyone in your organisation to be ambassadors for the brand
  • Build the leadership competencies that deliver results
  • Create a distinct leadership culture that’s aligned to your brand and business strategy
Download The YourBrand™ brochure


  1. Intagliata, J., Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2000). Leveraging leadership competencies to produce leadership brand: Creating distinctiveness by focusing on strategy and results. Human Resources Planning, 23(4).
  2. Morhart, F.M., Herzog, W., Tomczak, T. (2009). Brand-specific leadership: Turning employees into brand champions. Journal of Marketing, 73.
  3. O’Boyle, E., Adkins, A. (2015). Super Bowl ads don’t make a brand. Gallup Business Journal. (
  4. Arruda, W. (2013). Three steps for transforming employees into brand ambassadors. Forbes Leadership. (
  5. Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2007). Leadership brand: Developing customer-focused leaders to drive performance and build lasting value. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  6. Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2008). Aligning firm, leadership, and personal brand. Leader to Leader, 2008(47).
  7. Gallup (2013). State of the global workplace: Employee engagement insights for business leaders worldwide. (
  8. Llopis, G (2013). Personal branding is a leadership requirement, not a self-promotion campaign. Forbes Leadership. (
  9. Smallwood, N. (2010) Define your personal leadership brand in five steps. Harvard Business Review: Leadership Development. (
  10. Bryant, B., Kazan, A.L. (2012). Self-leadership: How to become a more successful, efficient, and effective leader from the inside out. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Steve AndrewsBrand-Specific Leadership