Claire Beale
Claire Beale
A view from Claire Beale

Claire Beale: Are you on track for CEO?

If you're still eking out all those good start-of-a-new-year intentions, you'll find plenty of inspiration and provocation in this month's Talent issue to keep your ambitions on track.

Check out our run-through of the 10 dimensions of a modern CEO and find out whether you’re on target to make the leap into the boardroom ("Kick-start your career"). Not enough marketers do, and that needs to change.

Let’s be honest, though. Training, experience and equipping yourself with the latest skills and tools are only part of the story of success. Getting to the top requires qualities that are less tangible, and certainly less easy to sign up for indoctrination in.

When you write these qualities down, they can sound a little frivolous, a little fluffy, a little too distinct from the serious job of building brands and driving growth. Qualities like bravery, confidence, networking skills, resilience. You won’t find them on many job specs, but they are the sorts of skills that mark out future industry leaders. Brand Learning’s Mhairi McEwan has a pretty good check-list for starters (Masterclass).

So perhaps it’s time to pay some attention to your own personal brand. In fact, if you’re already pretty well-trained and developed, this could be the year you focus on selling yourself, both within your organisation and externally. Unnatural as it might seem to some, building your career also means putting yourself out there on conference platforms, taking full advantage of networking events, writing articles on the issues facing your business, making yourself available to the press.

Sure, keeping your head down might be good for internal politics and help you to dodge some uncomfortable spotlights, but it’s rarely going to mark you out either within your own company or on the wider marketing stage, which is where you’ll need to be to land the big job. Find a bit of chutzpah and a bit of swagger, goddamit: you work in a fascinating, forward-thinking, sexy business that builds not just brands and companies but economies. Shout about it, and about yourself.

Too often marketers are reluctant to seek out the spotlight, and when they’re forced into it they seem uncomfortable, and rather dry. Talk to some marketers and you would never imagine they were part of an amazing industry at the sharp end of economic, social, cultural and technological change. And if marketers don’t exude excitement and passion for what they do – particularly at such a dynamic time for the industry – then why should we expect the people around them to feel enthusiastic about their contribution and promote them?