Help, I’m an obsessive brand assessor and ambassador!


I recently gave a webinar titled ‘Maximising your personal brand equity to accelerate your executive career’, for the executive career networking site GatedTalent.  Over the 40-minute webinar I covered the concepts of personal branding for C-suite executives, along with explaining how important personal branding is as a multiplier for business success, hiring A players, and consequently executive careers.  But why does the subject of branding matter so much to me as a recruiter, and what’s my personal interest and involvement in it?

Foremost, as a businessman I recognise that personal branding is key to my own business success, helping me to successfully engage with the companies and candidates that my team and I meet and speak with every day.  My studies on the subject have helped me to understand the benefits of branding for my company, and personal branding for myself and my consultants.  But it’s about more than that: branding is actually a core component of everything I do every day while conducting searches.  Perhaps you may not have considered this about us recruiters, but:


  • Assessing the brand of companies, considering how attractive they are to recruit for, and articulating their unique value to the candidates I’m engaging with on their behalf.

  • Assessing the personal brand of candidates as part of my selection processes. 

  • Assessing the personal brand of executives, the hiring managers whom candidates will need to ‘buy into’. 

With all three parties, I’m continually assessing, focusing on what they stand for, their points of differentiation, their relevance to each other, and their reputations.  This helps me to decide whether I want to do business with them, and work out whether other people will buy into their brands. 

This leads me to the other part of my role – I’m also an OBSESSIVE BRAND AMBASSADOR;

  • Representing and selling these company brands to candidates.

  • For candidates, helping them represent themselves to companies by ensuring they position their personal brand in the right way for what a company is looking for.

  • Acting as an ambassador for executives, the hiring managers, as I go to market to attract great candidates for their opportunities.

Interesting, eh?  As you can see, as a headhunter I’ve got that natural mindset that continually assesses and sells the brands of both companies and people – it’s an integral part of everything I do in order to achieve my search success. 

But what specifically does one need to look at when understanding the brands of companies and people?  Well, if we look at how consumer brands are measured and monitored, we can simply apply the same principles to both company and personal branding.  Young & Rubicam’s Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) is the world's largest and leading empirical study of consumer brands, measuring brand strength within four consumer perception dimensions.  Its four key aspects are:

DIFFERENTIATION: What makes a brand stand out as different, and its ability to capture attention.

RELEVANCE: How buyers feel the brand meets their needs, and how appropriate and meaningful it is.

ESTEEM: A measure of how highly regarded a brand is, and how well it delivers on its promises.

KNOWLEDGE: The depth of understanding people have of a brand, and how much buyers know about it (both good and bad).

Whether you’re a company, a candidate or a hiring manager, reflect on these four perception dimensions for a moment and consider how well you meet these criteria when it comes to hiring or job searching.  Even more importantly, assess how well you articulate your brand based on these four perception dimensions.  That’s the key point here.

If you’re a fintech company or executive looking to develop your brand as part of your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) in order to give yourself a distinct competitive advantage in securing top fintech talent, then book a free consultation call with me.  It’s just part of the range of free value added services my firm provides.


About the author: Shawn Rutter is the founder of Excelsior Search, a market-leading, niche search company specialising in international executive search and recruitment solutions for financial technology (fintech), data and research providers to the global capital markets and investment industry.  With experience delivering search assignments across the Americas, EMEA and APAC, he founded Excelsior Search in 1999, having previously worked as an Army Officer and for the international search firm MRI. Shawn invites you to connect on LinkedIn.