The goal of Content+ 2019 was to reenergize marketing leaders and storytellers, and it was a huge success—I am still pumped a full week later. I learned so much throughout the day, with Dorie Clark’s presentation on “Building Your Brand as a Marketing Leader” really standing out. She taught us that success isn’t just about having an idea—it’s about making that idea happen and the people you meet who will help you to do so.
Her three key takeaways were the strongest reminders of what it takes to successfully build your brand as a marketing leader.
Leadership is often something we look for on a résuméas part of a past management position. Dorie told us a great story about a woman who was an Apache helicopter pilot in the US Army. When she left the Army, she struggled to find a career in civilian life. She went in and out of interviews and got rejection letters thanking her for her service but not hiring her for the job. She had to dig deep and realign her thinking. She had to take control of her narrative. She had people’s lives in her hands when she was flying the helicopter. She was a leader. She saved lives. She went into enemy fire. She learned to use these experiences to tell people why they needed her on their team, and it worked. She was able to rework her resume and her interview answers and present herself as a leader to her potential employers. By taking control of our narrative, we take control of our future.
Building your brand is difficult to do on your own, so Dorie advised us to find a wingman. Find someone who you trust, someone who is looking to also build their brand and partner with them to build each other’s network. When you are at networking events or even in general conversation, mention your wingman (but don’t call them your wingman) and tell people why they should be interested in that person. Talk about their strengths, their goals and who they are. By having someone on your side who is talking about you (and you’re doing the same for them), your name (and theirs) starts to buzz and people start to listen.
Luck? This isn’t the lottery—this is our career. This last headline threw me off a little, until I heard what Dorie had to say. She said to be “Heart-Driven, Smarts-Driven, Guts-Driven and Luck-Driven leaders.” It’s important to remember in the journey to be curious about things. When you lose that sense of curiosity, you become stagnant as a leader. Be humble and remember that nobody gets to where they are alone. Everyone has people who help them along the way. It is important to never lose sight of where you came from and always keep your eye on where you want to be.
The presentation closed with the most impactful question of all: “What will you do differently?”
And I had quite a few answers.
I plan to take control of my narrative—I might be new to the marketing agency life, but I am not new to marketing. I realized that I have been marketing myself in jobs for years, from waiting tables, where I had to sell the product and my personality, to writing Facebook and digital ads for companies to sell their products.
I must learn to recognize how important the network that I have built over my career is to my future. This network consists of people who I have met along the way, who I have connected with and who believe in me. These are the people who can help me grow to reach my full potential. This includes my wingwoman, who is someone I trust, who wants to advance her own career, who knows what my career goals are and wants to see me succeed—someone who I enjoy talking about and I too believe in her.
I will continue to embrace my luck. I strive to never lose my sense of curiosity and always stay humble. I know that every stepping stone has brought me to where I am today and that every failure has made me a better employee and person.
So, what will you do differently to become a successful marketing leader?