Am I the company or am I my own person? The answer to that question may seem ridiculously obvious to those in a corporate leadership role in which their company and its brand is obviously a separate entity from who they are, but when you built the company, well… that changes things. I’m Monica Wofford, creator of Monday Moments with Monica, CEO of training firm Contagious Companies, professional speaker, author, and coach and here is my personal leadership branding story and the questions it created.
Me: the Brand
My clients tell me I am an engaging speaker on leadership, confidence, and communication. They tell me my leadership training courses are dynamic and produce powerful personal and professional results. In fact, they call my enthusiasm contagious! It stuck and became the name of my company. But am I me, the contagious lady, or am I now the CEO of a training firm called Contagious Companies? It’s a question that over the years has been asked a dozen times by me, the team I lead, and even some customers. And for most, I am still the brand. While we have other trainers and other coaches who deliver the “Monica Wofford training programs” when I’m the professional speaker they see on stage, the brand is still, and the person they want is still… ME. It’s an incredible feeling and also creates a bit of confusion at times.
Contagious: The Brand and the Company
If Ms. Lauder who founded Estee Lauder, were still alive, I suspect she would still be struggling in some ways with this issue. Though the company has long since outgrown her impact, there was likely a point at which the delivery of services and creation of products very much required her special touch and her input. In a products industry, she was able to impart her style, impact, or beliefs about quality into items that took on a life of their own. In a services industry, this is not such an easy transition. Is “contagious” who I am, what the company is, what the company is called, or is there some overlap of all?
I guess the real answer here is that for all who create a business or build a department, there is a need for who you are to BE contagious and spread the parts of you that you wish to stick to that business product or service. Yes, I’m an engaging speaker on leadership. Yes, I’m the CEO of a company who provides leadership training courses and workshops. And yes, every day, I seek to infect those who work with us to impart the same kind of value, knowledge, quality of training and coaching, that I know to be valuable to our clients. I guess you could say that I really AM contagious… and while that may be MY brand, it has also rubbed off on the company and our team.
In your role, you, your personal leadership brand, the impact you have on what you build and how people see, experience and remember your efforts is contagious. It seems to boil down to how you address these questions that I’ve learned along the way.
- How are you branding yourself?
- Where does that overlap with what you do or what you’re creating and where are their differences?
- What of your unique quality, style, or philosophy do you want to infuse into what you’re building and how can you teach others to carry those on in a way that reflects your impact but lets them do it in their own unique style?