Most companies fail to leverage one of their most compelling and distinguishable points — the CEO’s brand. CEO branding starts with determining how the CEO's brand relates to the corporate brand and how it can be used to generate access to the target market.
Business isn’t just business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) anymore. It is human-to-human (H2H) and is often influential in building trust. When a CEO acts as a thought leader, it provides value to an audience. When done well, CEOs can talk about their businesses during interviews in a more organic sounding and contextual way.
Rebrand yourself in creative ways.
You can rebrand yourself by developing a one-liner that captures who you are in the marketplace. Utilize that single saying - position it 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. Branding is about leaving an imprint, and if you can articulate what you do well - keeping it to three to seven words –and have it visible, you'll be more memorable.
Build a stellar reputation and leverage it to bolster your brand.
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.
Overcome brand skepticism.
When a 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.
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 future.
Building a CEO brand can help drive top-line revenue, develop a more portable brand to use in launching new divisions (or a new company) and build a legacy. While all this advice sounds good in theory, unless it’s carried out in the real world, it holds no value. Below are examples of how successful CEOs are effectively using CEO branding and tips for how you can leverage these strategies for your own brand.
Conquer your industry without traditional advertising.
Specific strategies can be applied to gain exposure that's more cost-effective than traditional advertising. One way to do this is to utilize thought leadership-based public relations. Realize your audience is looking for you to provide value, and offer useful data and considerations for those in and connected to your industry.