As we crawl through this gradual economic recovery, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of personal brand repositioning and reinvention. They are now critical tools in the executive career management toolbox and will continue to be important personal strategic best practices for the future.
If we look at repositioned corporate brands such as GM and Chrysler, they have emerged from bankruptcy as smaller, restructured businesses and returned to profitability, hiring employees once again. Together with Ford (restructured outside of bankruptcy), they are leading a recovery in the important automotive sector.
EXECUTIVES, are you taking the cue?
At the executive level, we are seeing numerous examples of former CEOs reinventing their brands. Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Linda McMahon and Nikky Haley are all former CEOs who have entered the political sector and successfully passed their first primary election hurdles in races for governor and senate positions. Whether you admire them or not, you have to give them credit for how they repositioned their personal brand!
When we look at examples of damaged personal brands re-emerging in new senior level positions, Mark Hurd, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard is one. He left after allegations of inappropriate behavior surfaced and has re-emerged as co-President of Oracle. While a potentially risky cultural investment for Oracle, Hurd brings unquestionable knowledge and experience from having built one of the largest technology companies. Not surprisingly, HP sued Oracle (unsuccessfully) to attempt to restrict him from joining recently.
Another CEO who reinvented his personal brand is Martin Sullivan, former CEO of AIG, one of the central companies in the financial services crisis. After careful personal brand planning, Sullivan recently re-emerged as CEO of a new global brokerage unit within Willis Group. This is an outstanding move for the Willis brand, and in so doing, Sullivan returns to his roots of leading a large global P&C insurance brokering operation, working with one of the global brokers he partnered with when previously leading AIG’s International Underwriting (AIU) operations for many years.
Putting aside any personal, professional or political judgments you may have, consider what each of the above-mentioned former CEOs has done to reposition, recreate or reinvent their brands. What can you incorporate into your personal brand strategy to recreate or reposition your personal brand for maximum leverage in your career?