Bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Daniel Priestley defines vitality as an ‘irreplaceable life force’. He believes that it’s a defining characteristic of the best and brightest in business, and an essential element of being a Key Person of Influence (KPI) — an idea that we sat down with Daniel to discuss.
Being a Key Person of Influence (KPI) essentially means having a strong personal brand. KPIs are known for being an expert in their field, and are attractors with a strong gravitational pull. They energise their entire organisation, and bring far more to the table than high productivity, a functionality increasingly replaced by AI and almost doomed to be absorbed by it entirely.
In other words, being a KPI is a massive strength in an environment where the way we organise ourselves is shifting away from proximity and towards prioritising shared values and mission. As businesses across the board seek to do more with less, they’re reducing the fixed nature of their talent pools to gain the flexibility to handle volatility in sales, meaning that KPIs will be a natural first hiring choice for the best opportunities.
And who wouldn’t want to be first in line for that?
So, how can you become a KPI? Fortunately, Daniel Priestley has the answer in the form of a handy five step guide. But first, you must understand why it works.
Why build a personal brand?
You might cringe at the notion of building a personal brand, with the phrase instantly evocative of LinkedIn gob-shites and contestants on The Apprentice. But becoming a KPI is less about online bragging and more about unlocking access to the things you need.
For example, talent acquisition is a crucial part of running a business. But how do you get the best and brightest interested in working for you, short of paying them way above the average market rate? Talented people want to work with KPIs, so if you’re a KPI, they’ll want to join your business regardless. For example, if you write a blog that they enjoy, they’ll be more keen to join the organisation because they know it’s a place where they’ll belong and be able to add significant value.
The same goes for accessing capital and increasing speed to market. Investors get excited about KPIs, who have a trusted brand and a reputation to uphold, thereby making them safer bets for investment. Meanwhile, mention of a KPI’s name alone can boost your speed to market unlike possibly anything else — just look at Tesla.
‘Elon Musk says “Hey, we’re going to make the Cybertruck. It’s three years away, but if you want to put down a $100 deposit, you can reserve one.” And everyone wets their pants and says “Okay, great, count me in!” What other company could sell a million cars that don’t exist?’ says Daniel.
‘The personal brand that is the glue that makes that happen. So the first thing is I want to make sure that anyone listening is enrolled in this idea, that this is not some waste of time. This is getting your most important objectives met in very real ways, at speed, with less hassle, less consultants, and less spend.’
The five steps to launching your KPI campaign
The first step is constructing a great pitch, and Daniel has a fantastic, simple goal for this. ‘It’s about getting someone who woke up this morning not thinking about this particular thing to go to bed at night thinking about it. Think back to when you might have seen Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone. You woke up that morning not knowing what an iPhone was, and you went to bed that night thinking, “I’ve got to have one.”’
To maximise the impact of the pitching phase, you want to do so efficiently. It’s not about what you’re saying to any one individual, but about changing people’s minds at scale, so focus on spreading the word through channels like podcast appearances and webinars rather than traditional pitches. By doing so, you can reach thousands of people for only a few hours of your time, with this practice then opening the door for smaller, more valuable in-person pitches to take place.
Naturally, as an author, Daniel is a big fan of campaigning via traditional publishing.
‘Authority, author; it's very much tied up,’ he says. ‘I'm a big believer that you don't necessarily try to sell books, you should just give them away. So when I work with executives, we get them to write a book, but then we give away a thousand copies a year. That does wonders. There's something that happens called Book Magic, where you give away a thousand copies of the book and hundreds of thousands of pounds come in just magically, which is great.’
However, not everyone has the time or inclination to squeeze out a bestseller, in which case blogs or social media posts are your best bet. And you don’t have to be a brilliant writer, either. The important thing is to take what you pitch, and turn it into a string of digital assets — so videos, charts, or almost anything else can be your version of that.
Remember: focus on what you bring to the table, not what you think people want to hear. This is about demonstrating your unique qualities and expertise, not trying to imitate the content that the industry is already publishing.
Daniel is a big believer in creating signature products, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, elevating a commodity beyond commodity status is the bare bones of what branding is.
The idea is to imbue your offering with the qualities that make you a KPI to create signature products, with Daniel citing the Porsche 911 and Fender Stratocaster as examples.
‘[Signature products] are the enduring, iconic products that people associate with your brand,’ he says. When consumers look at your signature product, they’ll know it’s something they can trust. This built-up reputation then allows you to inch into new niches further down the line, making it an important investment in your future.
What happens if you Google yourself? If the answer is ‘nothing’, Daniel recommends you raise your profile.
‘I'm a believer that you will probably encounter big opportunities that will go ahead if you Google well, and not go ahead if you don't Google well,’ he says. ‘When someone Googles your name, three things tend to happen. It could be negative, where you've got the same name as a serial killer in Florida, [...] or people are complaining and you’ve done nothing to address it. It could be nothing; it's tumbleweeds or it’s confusing. Or it could be really positive; that you look like a key person of influence, in which case the big deal goes ahead.’
When the information Google throws up about your name could make or break the opportunities available to you, it’s worth doing some work to ensure your presence online is positive. Handily, the publishing you did in step two should help with this.
Can’t do it all on your own? Not to worry — you shouldn’t be flying solo anyway.
‘I don’t think we’ve got time to do everything, so we need to partner with those who are good at what they do,’ says Daniel. ‘[We both] make more money because you’ve got a hot product going through an existing channel. So we both win.’
‘I love the saying that somebody woke up this morning with the thing you need, so go partner with them,’ he says. ‘You want money in the business, someone woke up with that. You want time, someone woke up with free time. You want fame, someone’s famous and they want to endorse something. Whatever it is you think you need, partner up.’
So, now you’re a KPI: it’s suddenly a lot easier to hire, acquire, and get what you need. You’re valuable — but can you say the same about your business itself?
Daniel has laid out 24 crucial assets that enable you to transform your business into something scalable, digital, and impactful. Join us next time to discover how to put them into action — you might be surprised to learn that you already have most of the ingredients in place.
As well as running her own boutique agency, Duckman Copy Ltd, Ornella is house writer for the Unicorny podcast which is sponsored by Selbey Anderson. She’s happy to turn her pen to all types if content from white papers to websites, from billboards to board game instructions and contributes regularly to Unicorny.co.uk, Selbeyanderson.com and Stateofdigital.com.