true entrepreneur
Clarity + Positioning + Connection = Remembered & Referred


The goal of Authority Branding is for others to do the hard work of marketing on your behalf.

You’ll become the “go to” person that your business friends and acquaintances find it easy to REFER.  Nail that “referral moment” and your friends can match you to a request.   You will get hot leads unsolicited.

In writing the Complete Authority Branding Strategy, I researched 16 qualities that niche Authorities display to earn our trust and respect.  How do you rate?


A question I ask in the self rating section of BRAND360 is “imagine you are in the bathroom stall after you’ve spoken on stage at a conference.  2 attendees are discussing you, what would you most like to overhear being said about yourself?”    (With apologies for putting you in a bathroom stall) …

I’m not sure about you, but for me a great compliment is hearing I’m the “real deal” – a genuine person, with proven, specialised know how and experience.

It’s apparent if you’re the real deal because you’re ready to help others and know your stuff backwards, forwards and sideways – and all off the top of your head.  Plus, you are gracious and inspire confidence in others.


We discussed earlier in positioning that it is vital for a Rising Authority to specialise and get clarity around your “HOOK”, which I call your Sweet Spot.  (Your unique combination of Who, Why and What you do and the outcomes your clients get)

Work on this:

  • CLARITY & SPECIFICITY – no confusion, no wavering, no hedging your bets.
  • Own your role as the GO-TO person for X condition  –  That way I know precisely who to recommend to you.  A question I ask when people join my list or group is “who can I send your way?”.  (Meaning what am I looking out for so I know who to refer).


You can speak about your topic clearly and at any level, from summary thoughts to providing background and depth (if needed).  You can handle objections calmly, using them to demonstrate your knowledge.  You have opinions that you can back up.


Essentially a business philosophy, mindset and values piece, pre eminence was formulated by the great business thinker Jay Abraham.   The strategy of pre eminence is to assume the high ground as a trusted advisor in your market.  A trusted advisor provides guidance that is always in the best interest of the client, even if it conflicts with the interest of the advisor.

This strategy shows empathy for your client.  Jay suggests you “fall in love” with your client so all your actions and messages are created to enrich and enhance their lives.  He advocates selfless generosity in your area of expertise seek to assist people even before you are paid to do so.

Here is a Jay Abraham quote I love:

“If you want to be the most interesting, be the most INTERESTED.  If you want to be the most respected, be the most RESPECTFUL.   If you want to be the most passionate, have passion for others and this energy will be mirrored back to you”.

A great book on generosity and giving as a way of business is “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg.


Advice that spreads is distilled, bite size and memorable.  Don’t overwhelm us with complicated material.  Know your topic so well that you’re able to communicate key information in a memorable way.  Present advice that can move a reader or listener to take action.

Think of the famous TED talk by Simon Sinek “Start With Why”, he has simplified an important concept so it begged to be used and shared.

Simplifying, without oversimplifying and sounding trite, demonstrates how much knowledge is there below the surface.


When it comes to your topic you are across the emerging ideas, the leading thinkers and are willing to experiment and challenge your positions, based on new stimulus.


You never believe your own hype or that you “know it all”, you remain curious about your topic, constantly learning and open to new information, new approaches and the ideas of new people.


You can support your assertions with tests, be those actual executions or studies. You understand various models and systems and find it easy to compare and contrast the approaches.  You can point to the development path for your ideas.


You’ve created and tested your own intellectual property, such as a model or system (often synthesized, adapted or based on a proven theory).   You could write (or even better – HAVE written) a book on your topic or developed a major teaching course which has delivered results for clients.


You are fairly, balanced and constructively critical if something is not up to par.  You are not the demoralizing “Russian judge” (unless that is your schtick) but you can’t be an indiscriminate cheerleader either.  It’s never personal, your comments are about the thinking, logic or execution and framed in a constructive way.


You are agnostic with respect to tool and business models.   You don’t advocate a “one size fits all” approach. – you first talk to the strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of approaches or solutions before recommending a way forward.

You can link different needs and situations to alternative options and justify your recommendation, inspiring confidence.

Any opportunity for financial compensation (generally affiliate revenue) based on your recommendations is made very clear to the recipient of your advice.


This could just be me …. I think it is damaging for an authority to place themselves on a pedestal and talk down to others.  Any whiff of self importance will affect your ability to connect with your audience.

It’s a long game and people have long memories.  If you want unreserved recommendations, always be respectful, empathetic and meet your audience right where they are.

Behave equally toward everyone, yes, authority is a status game, but don’t fawn over those “above” or dismiss those below.  By treating everyone as a peer you appear confident and genuine.  Being helpful and useful to people who may be at an earlier stage of their journey will be noticed – and yes, that newbie could overtake you one day.

Some of the most impressive Entrepreneurs I’ve met in person were the most humble.  I recently had the privilege of getting to know Brian Clark of Rainmaker and he turned the table in our mastermind to ask us what we thought of some of his opportunities – it was brilliant.


You have developed a strong network and have created visibility in your niche.   You’ve invested, you’ve left your house, you know the players, you’ve attended the events.  You’ve been a mentor to some and a client of others.

You follow those you respect and you learn from them.  You’ve made true friends. (I certainly have)

Many of these people are authorities too, and they know your work, understand precisely what you do and can refer accordingly.


It takes courage to step up and claim your authority.  Its likely there will be huge benefits, but also some tough times.

Here is Dr Brene Brown’s favourite quote, she used this quote to frame her amazing book Daring Greatly.  If this is a struggle for you, her work is a “must read”.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


This is an idea I heard from the inspiring Lisa Nicholls, who teaches about being in service to your audience.

If you’re a servant leader, your entire motivation is to enrich and better the lives of your clients and serve their best interests ahead of your own.  Generosity is your mantra and you are driven by the desire to use your know how or life experience to better the lives of people who follow you. (or business, health, relationships, finances etc).

Servant leaders are humble (not fake humble) and feel honoured and privileged for the opportunity to impact the lives of their clients.  When working with clients on brand building, my process requires my clients to tap deeply into their desire to serve (be an enabler of transformation and change) – it is actually the first principle of Branding From the Inside Out.



This post is an excerpt from my  an E-book called “Your Complete Authority Branding Strategy”.  It is getting a lot of attention and feedback like this ….

Cate, this is an outstanding e-book – thank you. It is insightful, practical and thought provoking. I have struggled a little with considering myself an Authority but after reading this, I realised that I am well on the way. I was able to confidently tick off 11/16 attributes and the others I have actions for. Fantastic, looking forward to learning more.

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