During the recent CMO Club EMEA Innovation and Inspiration Summit, Leor Franks, now CMO at London law firm Kingsley Napley, described how he applied his marketing skills to build a personal brand – and how it helped him land his ideal job.

All of these tactics are very familiar, there is nothing particularly unusual or sexy or innovative about them, but the key for me was I started using my 20 years of marketing expertise on myself for a change. – Leor Franks

Start with a goal

Redefining your career means knowing what you do – and don’t – want. Leor explained how he was spending up to 10 hours of his free time some weeks preparing and researching. ‘I was looking at the profiles of a number of individuals in my space that have top CMO jobs in leading brands, and thinking about what they are doing that I’m not, what skills are they evidencing that I’m not, and how can I learn and develop from that?

Having identified trends and opportunities, Leor built a plan for building recognition and reputation in the market. Leor noted that he did receive some offers early on, but they were a poor fit for his goals.

It then became a question of what can I helpfully contribute to my space – and where? 

Use your skills on yourself

Marketers are adept at defining strategies and tactics for their stakeholders – so why not for themselves? Leor explained how he had carefully analysed his skills, identifying content creation and marketing strategy as some of his strengths. ‘Then I looked at whether the various channels in the industry were interested in contributions on thought leadership, or content around strategic frameworks. And I started talking to trade organisations, magazines, and journalists, saying, ‘Look, this is what I know about, can I help you?’

There’s nothing worse than someone offering to make contributions on a particular topic and evidently not knowing what they’re talking about. So, I’ve stayed very much in my comfort zone, which to some degree has limited the volume of opportunities I’ve been able to engage with, but I’d rather have fewer that are relevant and be sure my contributions are adding value. – Leor Franks

Don’t be afraid to get (a little) pushy

With years of experience in marketing, Leor had developed a healthy network of journalists and event organisers – and he began to pitch to them as part of the plan to grow his personal brand. 

I started to utilise my skills by talking to some of the journalists I’d worked with before and saying, ‘Hey, look, I’ve got a point of view. If it’s of use to you at any time, I’d love to contribute. – Leor Franks

Initially, uptake was slow, particularly when Leor offered himself as a speaker or contributor to various online events. ‘Don’t be afraid to be tenacious,’ he counseled, detailing how ‘pushing regularly and delicately’ opened doors. He is now a frequent panelist as his personal brand has become more widely known and respected.

The hard work has been worth it for Leor, “I started using my 20 years of marketing expertise on myself for a change, rather than just on the brands I worked for – and now I have a new great role with a seat on the board at a top law firm.

Replicate Leor’s strategy:

  • Read around your sector to identify opportunities to contribute expertise
  • Actively offer articles to industry publications sharing your knowledge
  • Talk to journalists and trade organisations, positioning yourself as an expert in your specialisms
  • Volunteer for speaking engagements – don’t be afraid to push gently
  • Build and nurture your professional network as you meet new people.