Every successful company has an asset that they fail to leverage - the CEO brand. Think of companies like Tesla. Elon Musk is a well-known personality and has a great influence on consumer behavior. People see him and instantly think of innovation. Through his platforms, he can explain why he creates his products, and why people need them, giving consumers a better understanding. Since people feel connected to him, they are more likely to purchase a Tesla over a competitive electric car. As an executive, you have this power as well. CEO branding is accomplished through the process of getting the right message directly in front of your target audience, using a strategic blend of thought leadership that's demonstrated through social media, speaking engagements, publishing and savvy public relations. It all starts with determining how the CEO's brand maps to the corporate brand and how it can be used to generate access to the target market at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Even when you’re selling B2B, you’re not selling to a business. You are selling to a person who works for that business. This is why CEOs and executives need to leverage their connections and establish trust with an overall audience. When a CEO acts as a thought leader, it provides value to an audience. When done correctly, CEOs can talk about their businesses during interviews while sounding organic instead of arrogant.
How Do I Rebrand?
Just as you would create a consistent and memorable brand for your business, every leader should create a brand for themselves in order to connect with their audience. This cannot and should not be the same for individuals within corporations, but tailored to your own unique image. When strategizing for a brand, it is important to consider the brand personality and tone of voice, all of this goes into creating consistent messaging and an efficient tagline.
You can rebrand yourself by developing a one-liner that captures who you are in the marketplace. Utilize that one saying in your LinkedIn header, on other social media profiles, and in your bio. If people hear it enough, they will begin to buy into it. Have unique values are offerings for the people that see your page, make them feel something. Branding is about making a connection, showing that you do your job well, and making sure people remember it.
Build a Reputation
Reputations aren't built overnight. They are built through consistent and memorable impressions. When networking, provide value to others instead of pitching your product. Make referrals to help people grow their business or offer valuable insights without charging for them. This makes you more endearing and trustworthy and builds relational equity -- all adding to your reputation. When you shift your focus and look for how you help other people, they will remember you and come back to you when needed. Your audience will see you as reliable and caring, and those you have helped will tell others about you.
Maintain Your Reputation
If your brand has taken a hit, rehabilitation can be difficult, but a likable and trusted face personalizes it. Instead of traditional reputation management practices, think about taking the offensive by showing key leaders participating in community service work or listening sessions with customers. Faceless organizations are easy to turn into piñatas. However, when you see leaders demonstrating care, these brands become more human. Overall, human to human (H2H) connection is the best way to sell a product and grow an audience. The investment of your time in strategizing and executing your CEO brand can have a great impact on your company and, from my perspective, it is one of the most beneficial things you can do for its overall growth.