The CMO is the Lennon, Bowie, Dylan, Prince or Dr. Dre of a business, writing the lyrics of the brand story to the music of the organization’s objectives and values. Yet despite growing pressure and shorter tenures, CMOs are neglecting to sing their own song – their personal brand. Marketing coach Jane Scandurra shares her advice..


CMOs know that brand is about the DNA of a business.  No branding, no differentiation. No differentiation, no long-term profitability.

If you’re experienced and talented enough to earn the responsibility and title of CMO, then your work life is maniacally focused on doing whatever you can to strengthen, promote, and protect your company’s brand. 

What about YOURS? How focused are you on strengthening, promoting and protecting your own personal / professional brand? Hmm?

<< Queue the “deer in the headlights” look in response >>

If you, as CMO, interpret brand as a strategic asset, you should be examining the same components that define the brand experience for how YOU deliver yourself to the world as an individual:

  • What are your values?
  • What is your purpose?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What problem do you solve?
  • What is your unique value proposition?
  • What’s your brand message, voice and tone?
  • Why would someone care if you went away for a week?

Since you naturally understand the essence of what constitutes brand and how vitally important it is to success, it should be something you invest in for yourself.  In other words, it’s time to practice what you’ve been preaching in your professional marketing career.

Cultivating a strong personal brand as an executive takes time, energy and patience, but the benefits are vast and worth it:

  • It connects you with your values, strengths, and passions
  • It empowers you to gain clarity and focus
  • It boosts your confidence, credibility and reach
  • It moves you towards work you love
  • It helps you understand your ROI value to companies that might hire you
  • It helps you stand out above your competition in your career
  • It generates chemistry for who you are, what you’re like to work with, how you make things happen, and what you have to offer that no one else does.
  • It keeps you top-of-mind and establishes you as a “go-to” person for your area of expertise
  • More people and more good-fit opportunities will be naturally drawn to you

It’s time to get social or get left behind.

Likewise, CMOs have embraced social media as a brand-building tool for their companies but can be resistant when it comes to themselves.

In today’s digital-obsessed and constantly-connected society, much of your personal brand exists online in the form of your social media profiles, your personal website (if you have one), and any other online content that exists about you. How much of it are you actively monitoring and controlling?

I’m continually surprised at how many marketing leaders have little to no social presence to showcase their personal/professional brand. In too many cases, what I find is incomplete and unimpressive LinkedIn profiles and abandoned Twitter accounts. In my opinion, as a personal branding and social media consultant, it’s better to have NO social profiles than to have poor ones that can reflect negatively on your personal brand. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so remember two things:

  1. You are what Google says you are
  2. People decide first and think later

​If someone is looking to recruit a CMO, what’s the very first thing they’ll do?  They’ll Google you and they’ll look at your LinkedIn profile. What they find is up to you.

To some non-digital natives, social media can feel time-consuming, overly self-promotional, and risky. To that, I have to simply say: Get over it… and get social.

Make no mistake: In today’s executive job search landscape, branding is required, not optional.

By establishing a strong brand for yourself as an executive, you enforce your value as an organizational leader and you open new opportunities for professional growth. Whether you are looking to advance your career or turn around a negative reputation, a cultivated executive brand is essential to meeting your career goals.

According to prominent executive recruiting firm, Korn Ferry, the average tenure of a CMO is the lowest of all C-suite titles, at an average of just 4.1 years  (see infographic below).

That means you’ll be looking for a new job sooner than later. And again just a few years later. There will be lots of competition…which is yet another critical reason why you need to develop and consistently deliver a strong, authentic personal brand. In a noisy, attention-deficit world, let your personal brand speak for you to attract and earn the admiration you desire and deserve as a standout CMO.

Source: Korn Ferry | Image: Infographic

“Today’s customer-centric CMO role is exceptionally complex and requires the right balance of left as well as right brain skills, and very importantly, a differentiated set of leadership competencies,” said Caren Fleit, senior partner and leader of Korn Ferry’s Marketing Center of Expertise. CMOs with this unique profile are in high demand and are often recruited to lead the next transformation.

If you have these and other critical qualifications that are required to stay in the CMO game, are they reflected anywhere they can be found by recruiters or hiring managers, particularly in your social media profiles? How about if you’re not yet a CMO, but want to be? The same applies to you.

The bottom line: As a CMO (or a CMO wannabe), you know branding is the bomb. You live it in your day-to-day work life. Practice what you preach in the boardroom. Maximize your personal / professional brand so you can stand out, sink the competition and savor lasting success.

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