Developing personal and institutional reputation

**Building Prestige: A Playbook for Engineering Leaders and Organizations**

**Engineering Brand vs. External Communication**

In the tech industry, many engineering leaders believe that their personal brand or their organization’s brand has a significant impact on their career opportunities. However, the value of brand building is often overemphasized. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between building prestige and building brand, and discuss whether it is valuable to invest in personal and engineering brands.

**Brand vs. Prestige**

Brand refers to a deliberately crafted, sustained narrative that is actively known about someone or an organization. It is often advised to build a brand to establish professional credibility. However, it is important to note that building a brand does not necessarily guarantee success. Many successful executives and engineering organizations are not well-known online or do not actively create content.

Prestige, on the other hand, is the passive-awareness counterpart to brand. It is what someone can easily discover about you if they look for it. Prestige can be built through attending respected institutions, working for well-known companies, or contributing to conferences. It opens doors to senior roles and attracts senior candidates.

**Is Building Prestige Worthwhile?**

When considering whether to invest time into building prestige, there are several questions to ask yourself:

1. Can you start the interview process for jobs you’re interested in?
2. Can an executive recruiter match you with interesting roles?
3. Can you hire senior candidates with more applicable experience?
4. Does your team seek your advice and guidance beyond their immediate work?
5. Is your network expanding, allowing you to reach out to more senior individuals?

If you answer “yes” to most of these questions, then you may not need to invest additional energy into building prestige. However, if you answered “no” to many of these questions, it may be worthwhile to learn how to manufacture prestige.

**Manufacturing Prestige with High-Quality Content**

Rather than following a systematic approach to building an engineering brand, it is more effective to focus on creating a small amount of high-quality content. This approach allows for ambient, positive familiarity and ensures that your work is discoverable. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Identify a timeless topic where you have a meaningful and atypical perspective.
2. Write or speak about this topic in a way that showcases your expertise and unique viewpoint.
3. Make sure your work is easily discoverable by optimizing search keywords and sharing it on relevant platforms.
4. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and questions.

By following this approach, you can manufacture prestige without the need for an organizational program or strict content calendar.

**Measuring Prestige and What to Measure Instead**

Measuring prestige can be challenging. Instead of focusing on metrics related to personal and organizational brand, it is more important to measure the impact your work has on your desired outcomes. For example, if your goal is to attract senior candidates, track the number of qualified applicants who apply after discovering your work. If your goal is to expand your network, measure the number of connections you make with more senior individuals.


Building prestige is a valuable endeavor for engineering leaders and organizations. It can open doors to new opportunities, attract top talent, and expand your professional network. By focusing on creating high-quality content and ensuring its discoverability, you can manufacture prestige without the need for extensive branding efforts. Remember to measure the impact your work has on your desired outcomes rather than solely focusing on brand metrics.

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