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Leadership and Branding – Development Principles For CEOs

Leadership and branding are hot topics. Leadership development programs are quite popular. There are many conferences and seminars on the subject of branding. Leadership development and brand development consume a lot of resources of businesses.

Leadership means different things to different people. It means the ability to inspire. Leadership is charisma, courage, and even sacrifice. Leadership requires vision. Leadership is talked about in a rarefied atmosphere of CEO conferences, business schools, HR meets, and strategy meets.

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There seems to be an unstated and unanimous agreement that leadership is too important, too-sweeping-in-its-scope, too-good-to-be-described, and therefore too-complex-to-be-systematically-deployed concept. Everyone is convinced that such indescribable leadership must be good for any organization.

Branding too captures the imagination of people. For some CEO s it is a reverential bowing item to be ticked off the agenda. For CFO s it is a black hole of cash. Salespeople think it is a watering hole for unsuccessful ex-salesmen. For M & A specialists, it is a valuation game. It is a playground of creativity for advertising agencies. It is PR first for PR agencies. For many, branding means eye-catching, entertaining, beautiful visual and audio communications or smart copy. Everyone knows branding and everyone has definite opinions about it.

Is there then any connection between leadership and branding? Leaders are responsible for branding. But they are also responsible for many other things. Are there any fundamental linkages?

The connection between leadership and branding

The answer might be found in people since leadership and brands exist in minds of people. Brands provide neat and crisp symbols denoting product performance levels, shared experiences, dreams, aspirations, and expectations of actual and potential users.

Who will deny that leadership deals with shared dreams, aspirations, and expectations of all stakeholders -customers, employees, vendors, and others? Like brands, leaders are seen as icons. Similarly, leadership without its own constituency is unthinkable. Leaders build constituencies through a shared understanding of goals and ways to achieve them.