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No Executive Assistant Can Ignore the Importance of Building Their Own Brand



Executive assistants, like the CEOs they support, have diverse styles and strengths. Some are meticulous organisers who ensure every detail is perfect, while others excel at strategic planning and big-picture thinking. Regardless of their style, Executive Assistants play a pivotal role in shaping the public and internal perception of themselves and their executives. An Executive Assistant's brand effectiveness can significantly influence the CEO’s personal brand and, by extension, the company's overall image whilst greatly enhancing both their career and the success of the executive they support.

 

The Essence of an Executive Assistant’s Brand


In the context of an executive assistant, "brand" refers to the distinctive image and reputation that you cultivate through your actions, skills, and professional interactions. It encompasses how you are perceived by your executive, colleagues, clients, and the broader professional community. Your brand reflects your reliability, expertise, and alignment with the vision, mission and goals of your executive and organisation. It is shaped by your communication style, problem-solving approach, and ability to anticipate and meet needs proactively. A strong personal brand differentiates you from others in your field, highlighting the unique value you bring to your role and fostering trust and recognition in your professional capabilities.


A well-developed personal brand for an Executive Assistant extends beyond job performance. It embodies your approach to problem-solving, communication style, and ability to anticipate needs and resolve issues proactively. This brand should project reliability, adaptability, and a deep understanding of your executive’s goals and challenges.


For example, an Executive Assistant supporting a CEO in the tech industry should brand themselves as tech-savvy, innovative, and proactive. This might involve staying current with the latest technological advancements, suggesting new tools to enhance productivity, and demonstrating a thorough understanding of the tech landscape. Your personal brand should resonate with your executive’s vision and the company’s culture, ensuring a cohesive and effective partnership.


Take the example of my friend Bonnie Low-Kramen, who served as the personal assistant to Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis.


Bonnie didn't just manage schedules and logistics; she built a reputation for exceptional service, discretion, and loyalty. By aligning her personal brand with the high standards and public persona of Olympia, Bonnie became an indispensable asset. Her dedication and professionalism eventually led her to become a leading figure in the assistant community, authoring two books, speaking for TEDx, and conducting workshops to elevate the profession.


Bonnie’s journey underscores the importance of deliberate and consistent brand-building.

 

Understanding Your Stakeholders and Medium of Communication

 

Knowing your Stakeholders is essential in building your brand as an Executive Assistant. Your stakeholders include not only your executive but also colleagues, clients, and industry peers. Each group requires a different approach to how you present yourself and your skills.


Consider the distinction between managing internal communications and handling external engagements. Internally, you might be the go-to person for streamlining processes and facilitating effective communication between departments. Externally, you might manage your executive’s public engagements, ensuring their message is consistent and impactful.


Choosing the right medium to communicate your brand is equally important. Whether it’s through professional networking sites like LinkedIn, industry conferences, or internal corporate communications, you need to consistently showcase your expertise and value. By curating a professional online presence and actively participating in industry discussions, you can build a reputation as a knowledgeable and indispensable EA.

 

Crafting Your Message

 

Once you’ve identified your stakeholder and mediums, the next step is to articulate your message. This involves highlighting what sets you apart as an EA and how you contribute to the success of your executive and the organisation.

 

Key questions to consider include:

 

  • What unique skills and insights do you bring to the role?

  • How do you enhance your executive’s effectiveness and productivity?

  • What industry trends or innovations are you passionate about?

  • How do you handle challenges and unexpected situations?

  • What success stories can you share that highlight your impact?


Your personal brand message should be clear, concise, and aligned with your professional values and the needs of your executive. This involves not just crafting a single narrative but developing a comprehensive strategy that includes multiple touchpoints and consistent messaging across various platforms.

 

Showcasing Your Best Attributes

 

The advantage for Executive Assistants is that they already possess the fundamental skills needed to build a strong personal brand. By understanding the intricacies of your role, knowing what makes your contributions unique, and identifying the key audiences that benefit from your work, you can strategically enhance your professional image.

 

Approach your brand-building efforts with the same diligence and strategic thinking you apply to your executive’s tasks. Define what you offer, why your perspective is unique, and who will benefit from your expertise. Then, proactively seek opportunities to showcase your skills and insights, ensuring your message resonates and builds a strong, positive image for both you and your executive.

 


Summary


In summary, the role of an executive assistant is dynamic and influential. By strategically managing and cultivating your personal brand, you can drive your own career success while enhancing the effectiveness and public perception of the executive you support. Embrace this responsibility, and you’ll not only elevate your professional standing but also contribute significantly to the success of your executive and organisation.



About the Author: Richard Arnott, BA, FInatAM, FIToL, is a Director of BMTG (UK) Ltd, and the author and lead presenter of the groundbreaking, globally recognised Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA® program. Richard also sits on the editorial board of Lucy Brazier OBE’s Executive Support Magazine.


Please connect with Richard on Linkedin and please also join our LinkedIn group, "The Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA®," to connect with a community of forward-thinking executive assistants committed to career growth and development

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