We all want to put our best foot forward when it comes to our professional lives. In our work, it’s easy to get trapped in the mindset that we have to be — or at least seem to be –– perfect. We think that missteps and errors, if they happen, should be hidden from view.
Perfection is admirable, and even aspirational for many of us. At the same time, it isn’t achievable. We all make mistakes often they be used to our advantage It may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually benefit your CEO brand image and the image of your company when you embrace imperfection.
Transparency creates honesty and accountability for your brand. By showing your imperfections, you build trust with clients and customers –– and that sense of trust is a lot more valuable than a superficial appearance of perfection. To get you started on the path to greater transparency, here are three ways you can polish your brand while embracing imperfection.
Make transparency a priority by playing offense
Transparency is a huge priority for your customers and clients. Studies have shown that 90% of customers say that the transparency of a brand is important to their purchasing decisions. Customers want to know that they can trust a brand more than they want a brand to be perfect. Transparency is a priority for your customers and clients. It should be your priority as well.
Millennials have always preferred to make purchases from brands that align with their values. Gen-Z is continuing this trend. 60% of Gen-Z buyers prefer the transparency of influencer based advertisers to traditional ads. This matters, when Gen-Z controls $44 Billion in purchasing power worldwide.
By taking accountability and being honest about the source of your mistakes, you make your brand more transparent, and create a greater sense of trust between your brand and customers. Accepting that mistakes happen and dealing with them in a transparent, honest way will humanize your brand, showing customers that while you do make mistakes (like we all do!), you know how to handle them responsibly.
Design your CEO branding strategy
Transparency is a key part of human-to-human business. Allowing your customers and clients to know the face behind the company gives them a real person to emotionally connect with. This kind of connection can be hard to win, but worthwhile. It creates a stronger and more lasting impression on the customers you do reach.
Business isn’t just B2B, or B2C. It is ultimately H2H (Human to Human), as Brand Designer Chris Collins puts it. Consider the fact that company logos have existed less than 200 years, while face-to-face interaction has existed since we first learned how to communicate as a species.
Designing a CEO brand that threads together media, social media, and visual appearance will help you shape an authentic persona that your customers can connect with. It isn’t about being egotistical. CEO branding is about presenting your authentic self to your customers in a honest, impactful way. Investing in quality CEO branding will help you bring greater transparency to your brand.
Ensure your CEO brand is reflected in company culture
Transparency is not just about being honest about what you do. You need authenticity to make transparency effective. Authenticity is the sense that what you’re communicating through your brand is really who you and your company are. This feeling is something that will build the human-to-human impact of your brand.
Authenticity is what will make your transparent branding connect with customers. The feeling of closeness authenticity brings can be valuable to your brand in many ways. In fact, studies have shown that 76% of customers are more likely to increase their spending with a brand they feel close to over a competing brand. Creating a sense of authenticity is what activates transparency and makes it effective. It’s important to find ways to prove to your customers that your brand is true to yourself.
Brand authenticity means putting your values into action. As you develop your CEO brand, make sure that your brand aligns with the branding of the company, and the company’s actual practices. Portraying yourself as a CEO who cares about the environment won’t mean much to customers if your company is a huge polluter. To show customers you really mean it, make sure that the same values, energies, and principles run throughout your CEO branding and company culture.
Metaverse and Web3 Companies Need to Build Strong CEO Brands
PR is new in the metaverse, and strategies are developing fast. PR trends will be coming and going in this space for a while. Because of this, going back to the basics can be the key to a strong PR strategy. Accountability and transparency are just as important, if not more, for metaverse, Web3, and crypto companies as they are for other kinds of companies.
Among young Americans, brand experiences and virtual stores are generating interest in the Metaverse. Transparency will give you a boost when your goal is to connect with these young consumers. In fact, in a virtual space, there is an even greater need for transparency, since it can be harder to build a human-to-human connection in the context of a purely virtual experience.
Don’t get lost in technical talk. Users want to understand the people behind the tech they enjoy just as much as they want to experience the tech itself. Find ways to share your personality with your users. Let them understand how you see the “why” behind your project. You’ll humanize yourself, while making your metaverse venture feel more meaningful to users.
The Age of Accountability
As human-to-human connection becomes more important to customers and clients, new demands have emerged for brands to be accountable and transparent. It can seem daunting to be called to be accountable for a mistake. Many leaders are fearful of ‘cancel culture’ impacting their businesses or positions of leadership.
Rather than approaching this age of accountability with fear, be open to the opportunity to connect with your customers. Be human, accept mistakes, and take responsibility for your actions. This will not only strengthen your brand as a CEO –– it will also create an opportunity for you to make real connections, drive stronger sales, and create positive impacts in the world.