How to Create a Leadership Brand

Want to create a leadership brand?

That’s what all marketers strive for…but how do you achieve such a status?By focusing on those elements that will really make a difference.The following are key ingredients that leadership brands have:


Leadership brands see the future before everyone else; they know where they want to go. That doesn’t mean that they don’t build off of what already exists. It just means that they look to innovate, to push the limits, to go where no one has gone before. Do you have a vision for your brand? What do you want it to be? It’s a lot easier to map out a path to reach your destination when you know where you want to go. Even if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to get there, set some goals for what you’d like your brand to be, then share that vision with others in your department or company. Others will build off of your ideas, adding their own and making that vision richer, clearer, more real.

Having vision means having goals, purposefully setting out to achieve something, and then putting a plan in place to reach that goal. Steve Jobs was a master at setting outrageous goals for his teams to achieve. Where he wanted to grow did not exist at the time, but he put forth a vision and inspired, cajoled, and wrangled his teams to help reach new heights and innovate repeatedly. Do you know your objectives? Do others on your team share those goals? Inspire your team to create something bigger than what you have now and your brand will grow.


While we all must conduct our business to certain industry standards, everyone who competes in your category is slightly different. Being unique is more than just offering different features of your product or service; it’s an attitude. Do you have a one-of-a-kind mentality? Leadership brands do. They are confident that they provide an experience unattainable in any other way. LEGO fans can wax eloquent about why LEGO bricks are different than any other competitor products, and those who wear Asics running shoes can tell you exactly why they bought those shoes over the 47 other brands lining the walls of the shoe store. To build your leadership brand, look for ways to be unique, to deliver for your customers in ways not currently available from any of your competitors.

Best-of-the-Best Mindset:

Quality drives leadership brands to do what they do. Think “supreme” “premiere” “the best” in everything you do, from the specifications of your product or service delivery to the way you communicate your offering to the manner in which you process invoices. What can you bring to the marketplace in a world-class way?

Don’t be daunted by this concept. Best-of-the-Best Mindset is not just reserved for the Gucci’s of the world. Wal*Mart has a best-of-the-best mindset in inventory management, and that allows them to provide shoppers with the best pricing on the everyday essentials of life.

Quality should be infused into everything you do. I know a sales executive who printed copies of a sales presentation on regular copy paper and was told by his CEO never to do that again. “That is not the kind of impression we want to leave,” he explained. That’s having a best-of-the-best mindset. If you are making a presentation and need to make a good impression, check out Southworth’s premium papers for all your business needs.

If you want to build your brand into a strong leadership position, be unique, share your vision, and have a best-of-the-best mindset in everything you do. Your customers will rave about you, your competitors will scramble to copy you and your brand will become a leader in your field.

Rahna Barthelmess is a branding strategist and author of the soon-to-be released personal branding bible Turbo-Charge Your Career. You can find out more about branding and personal branding at

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One Comment

  1. smartin
    Posted December 30, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Great advice for any business planning for 2012.

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