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A brand that captures your mind gains behavior.
A brand that captures your heart gains commitment.

Scott Talgo


Leadership Brand

Leadership brand affects individual leaders. It is impossible to sustain an organization’s leadership brand unless and until individual leaders align their behaviors with it. As leaders at all levels of the company learn how to master the essence or core of leadership and demonstrate the requisite differentiators of leadership brand, they add value to their organizations

Creating value

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Recently, thinking about brand has shifted from how external customers perceive either the product or firm to how firms create internal brand identity.  When a firm's internal brand, the culture and experience of employees, reflects the external brand that attracts consumers, the brand becomes even more valuable

Thinking about a firm's brand as its culture and set of management practices, however, does not fully explain the power of brand.  The brand should also be imbued in each leader throughout the firm; then they communicate that brand to employees, who then sustain it with customers.  Leadership brand lies at the heart of a firm's identity.  Leadership branding occurs when many leaders exhibit distinct leadership practices over a number of years.  The organization creates leaders who are branded, or distinct from leaders in other firms.

For leadership to be a brand, leaders must exhibit more than generic competencies.  Generic brands don’t receive a premium price, they don’t attract customers, and they don’t commit employees.  Likewise, generic leaders who demonstrate universal competencies may not deliver the results they are expected to deliver.   Turning generic into branded leadership is both simple and complex. 

At a simple level, branded leadership requires a new definition of leadership: 


Leader = The core elements of leadership that all leaders must demonstrate to be effective (leadership code) + The elements of leadership that are uniquely aligned to an organization’s customers and investors (leadership differentiator)


Adding the "+ differentiators" changes the focus from generic leaders with common and desired behaviors to branded leaders with clear results.  Our redefining leadership as the outcome of both code and differentiators explains some of the causes of ineffective leadership and the challenges faced by effective leaders.


Leaders need both code and differentiators to be effective.  Leaders with code may win popularity contests, but not deliver value to employees, customers, or shareholders.   Leaders with differentiators but no code may have short-term successes, but lack the support necessary to lead in difficult or changing circumstances.

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Leaders who demonstrate both code and differentiators become what we call branded leaders. 

Firms with branded leadership win with customers because the customers have confidence that their needs will be addressed in a consistent and appropriate way.

Firms with branded leadership win with employees. A consistent and effective leadership brand applies with employees just as with the outside world. It means that employees know what to expect, eliminating productivity- and engagement-draining dissonance between their public and private worlds.

If a firm makes a customer brand promise, the same brand should be reflected in employee relations, internal processes of the organization and leadership.


Our Approach


We have applying an effective and unique approach in order to develop a leadership brand in organizations, based on the research conducted by D.Ulrich on Leadership Brand.


Step 1: Create a statement of leadership brand—A statement of leadership brand articulates the leadership reputation in terms of attributes the leader must have and results the leader must deliver. An individual leader statement focuses on personal requirements to effectively lead; the leadership brand statement connects the firm’s external reputation with the day-to-day actions of its internal leadership.


Step 2: Assess leadership—Once the leadership brand is delineated, leaders can be assessed by how well they have set up the basics and “behave the brand” as they deliver results, and by how well they grow the requisite skills and perspective as they progress through the leadership pipeline. HR practices must also be assessed and aligned to sustain the brand. At each leadership development stage, the brand assessment may differ. The assessment includes both the core elements of leadership and the brand differentiators. This assessment may be done by one person or through organization practices such as 360-degree feedback.


Step 3: Invest in leadership—These investments include training, coaching, mentoring, development experiences, and life experiences.


Step 4: Measure leadership investment—Measuring leadership results has two parts. First, it is important to know which leadership investments work best in which organization setting. This means tracking both the leadership investment (such as coaching) and the outcome of the investment (behavior change, financial results, intangible value). Second, the leadership investment should respond to the business need identified


Step 5: Build leadership awareness to stakeholders—Leadership brand shows up in the reputation of the firm as seen by multiple stake- holders. We coach the  CEO to become the brand manager of leadership and should take the initiative to communicate the efficacy of the leadership brand to interested stakeholders.




Starting Point


As a starting point, we discuss with the organization’s top management of their leadership case, how leadership is linked with business success and how leadership brand can create the difference in delivering the strategy and representing the corporate brand. This is usually done with a  complimentary half-day working session conducted the CEO and selected executives.

Based on this approach, we discuss with the Top Management (CEO, Human Resources) and agree on the scope of the leadership brand program.

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