Many of my clients ask me: “Why is branding so important?” Regardless of the kind of business you’re in, CEO branding benefits the overall success of the business.
Even before owning my own company and helping thousands of CEOs learn the value of branding, I knew effective CEO branding centered on three specific characteristics: trust, authenticity and sharing the “why” behind the product.
What people think of you has a direct impact on what they think of your business. If you leave the power to others, it can have a detrimental impact on your company, growth, and revenue. However, the good news is, you can powerfully influence the way people see you and your company by consistently incorporating the above three effective strategies into your business.
1. Trust - Earn the trust of the company by humanizing your business. As mentioned earlier, people don’t trust faceless organizations. The public can easily brand these types of companies with negative perception over companies whose CEOs continually engage positively with the community within which they operate.
According to an article on Fox17 News, the late Bill Wright, Kalamazoo car dealer and philanthropist, was known for two things. The first was his slogan, “Yes We Can!” on which he built his business and used to end every commercial. But more importantly, “he established a foundation to help needy kids in the Kalamazoo area” a passion which stemmed from the impact his own difficult childhood had on his life. When people hear his name, they fondly remember a man who gave back to his community through investment in future generations first which carried over to his integrity when selling them a car.
2. Authenticity - A personal brand represents the image that comes to the minds of others when they think of you or what you do. It’s based on what they know or what they find out when they search for your name online. As a CEO, authenticity goes a long way when creating a personal brand and a reputable impression.
Look no further than the founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy for a wonderful example of this characteristic. Before opening his first restaurant in 1946, he made the decision to be closed on Sundays. “Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they chose.” Now, more than 70 years later, in a society that views Sundays as ‘just another day of the week,’ the legacy of Chick-fil-A’s founder continues. His authentic faith and values were important to him and he showed that as the CEO of a restaurant chain, making a decision to close on what could have been one of their busiest days of the week. And that decision has garnered loyal customers for generations.
3. Sharing the “why” behind the product - Consumers want to help others and want to buy products from companies who help people with their well-being. When CEOs share the why behind their company with their personal story, it draws people in and they become loyal consumers.
From Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, who gives one pair of shoes away for every pair bought, to Jake Tetreault, founder of God’s Glory Box who gives away five meals through FeedingAmerica.org for every box sold, or Vivienne Westwood, owner of Cool Earth Coffee, who works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and climate change, these CEOs knew from early on what problem they wanted to help solve, and then used their business skills and creativity to come up with a plan to make it happen. Sharing the need, or the “why” behind their well-crafted products gives consumers a reason beyond pure materialism to buy what is being offered because it makes the purchase about more than just themselves.
By using these three strategies on a regular basis, in the CEOs genuine voice, it can help increase the value of their companies and gain loyal customers for life.