Tag Archive: forbes


Forbes: Branding the Pope

pope

 

I’m writing this just after the conclave of cardinals announced the successor toPope Benedict XVI, who last month became the first modern-day pontiff to abdicate the throne. They charted some new ground, choosing 76-year-old Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first non-European to fill the role in more than 1,200 years and the first ever from the Jesuit order. But in other ways, it was a vote to preserve the status quo, as Bergoglio, who has chosen to be called Francis, is a theological conservative.

But in addition to that, Pope Francis will need some rock-solid branding skills. He’ll have to have a strong personal brand, a vision for the church’s brand in the 2010s and beyond, and an understanding of how outside forces might conspire to brand him.

My fellow Forbes contributor George Bradt, a leadership-development expert and the co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan,recently offered some interesting insights in his column about what the new pope can learn from past leaders: “Now the church is at a turning point and the new Pope must do his part to complete its cultural change,” he explained in his introduction. The last time this was so was in 1958, when Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became Pope John XXIII. One of his first acts was, says Bradt, “to call the Second Vatican Council ‘to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air.’”

That’s a good start but a little vague. The new pope’s personal brand needs to assert that he’s someone suited to fostering changes in environment, values, attitudes, relationships and behaviors. “Given the new environment,” Bradt wrote, “the re-commitment to core values and the new attitude, strengthening relationships by strengthening communication, encouraging more in-depth debate and tackling conflict is critical to making Vatican II’s intended changes real and sustainable.”

Although Bradt concluded by stating that achieving meaningful culture change is a marathon not a sprint, Romy Ribitzky at Upstart Business Journal argued an opposite point, that Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation “jolt[ed] the Church into Catholic 2.0” and “forced the Church to confront his departure in an entrepreneurial fashion.”

His stepping down, she continued, “forced the ancient institution to do what every startup has been doing for generations: adapt or fade.” It also reinforced his own personal brand with some “‘steel’ in his spine, humility, humanity and making the unconventional decision,’” as Ribitzky quoted career consultant Michael D. Brown. “‘You can’t give 100 percent of something you are not passionate about—it’s best to move on a connect back to your passion.’”

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A couple of weeks ago I laid out 13 tips for wrapping up 2012 and preparing for the new year at work. My expert sources suggested that you complete outstanding projects; establish new goals; reflect on accomplishments; get organized; and tie up loose ends–among other things.

Now, as you return to the office in 2013, there are a few things you can do to ensure you start the year off right.

forbes“A new year is a brand new beginning,” says Anna Sidana, VP of marketing at Simply Hired. “If we take the time to step back from our day-to-day and hit reset, it is a chance to look ahead with a new perspective and make every day count.”

She suggests you take a moment to reflect on your life–both professional and personal–and kick off the new year with renewed energy and a fresh focus. “Close out any small, nagging projects and focus on the big ones that can accelerate your career. Reach out to colleagues and strengthen those dusty relationships. A new year offers this unique opportunity to step up the game and become laser focused.”

Michael D. Brown, a career consultant, author, and motivational speaker, adds: “In this continuing economic tsunami of 2013, you must be clearly purposed and focused on success with a well-defined and proven game plan to transition yourself from a generic to a fresh and powerful personal brand,” he says. Companies and organizations can no longer afford to invest in generic employees with anemic or non-existent ROIs; and they’re not able to be competitive if they don’t have a fresh, branded and competitive workforce.

“The best success navigation plan you can have is to turn yourself into a clear, compelling, and competitive personal brand,” Brown says. “You can’t wait to do this in August; you must do this now. As such, you will be seen as someone who can add and deliver value in these turbulent times.”

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