This multipart series is designed to show you how to become a leader whose personal authority and reputation can shift an entire industry. For this type of leader, we have coined the term Executive Influencer.
Born in the 1980s to middle-class parents in England, Neil Patel showed drive early on to be more than average. Selling came naturally to him and, although he was surrounded by the analog world of the 80s, he used his sales skills to build an internet marketing company in the early days of the world wide web. This visionary accomplishment was monumental, as most at the time didn’t comprehend the possibilities that the internet would hold for business.
Today, Neil has been named a top marketing influencer by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, and his personal blog has hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. His proven track record is just one of the reasons he’s worthy of the title “executive influencer.”
Neil’s case is an extreme example that was decades in the making. What about the rest of us?
There’s a model to fast-track this for C-suite executives, leaders, and the like — it’s not too late to begin crafting one’s personal brand as an executive influencer.
Let’s quickly break down what it means to be one. In general, an influencer is an opinion-leader whose advice and guidance can sway opinions. An executive influencer is a proven industry leader who has authority over a particular topic — whether it be industry-specific niche topics or high-level authoritative topics. Either way, they are marked as a leader in their field and can offer a proven track record of producing excellent results.
They are innovative. Business leaders aren’t just going around looking for good ideas to piggyback off of; they can come up with those on their own. Executive influencers are different because years of experience support their advice and mentorship. They’ve proven that their ideas are something to take seriously.
And they’ve built a reputation around that.
Executive influencers are also aware of the power their words have. When “investment influencer” Warren Buffett makes a recommendation, it’s a given that he believes in what he’s saying. His audience knows that. And Warren Buffett knows they know that — because his carefully curated reputation as a leading business persona is on the line. This symbiotic relationship between the influencer and their followers is built on a high level of trust, proven by the leader’s expertise. When an executive influencer speaks, their audience listens. That’s the goal.
Building a strong executive brand is the first step toward becoming an influencer — not in the sense we often think of today, but as one who can change the direction of an entire industry.
If you are an expert within your niche, the simple fact is that you can become one.
Stay tuned for Part 2: What Is an Executive Influencer? where I expand on actionable steps to become one.