7 Reasons Why CEOs Need to Develop a Personal Brand — and How to Build One. Here's why crafting a captivating personal brand and origin story is pivotal in today's landscape and how these seven tangible advantages can redefine your success as a business leader.
- 1. Broaden your impact
- 2. Stand out from the crowd
- 3. Others seek you out
- 4. Incredible networking opportunities
- 5. Grow your bottom line
- 6. Gain confidence
- 7. Attract better clients
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We all make purchasing decisions based on our connection to brands. One runner, for instance, may be dedicated to Asics running shoes, while another wouldn't dream of buying anything but Nike.
These days, thanks to social media, choosing our favorite brands or which companies we give our money to heavily relies on who is heading that company. We want to do business with people that inspire us, people we like and trust. It's for this very reason that CEOs must develop their own personal brand.
Over the years, I've had the honor of working with business leaders from around the world, enabling them to harness the power of compelling narratives to craft and communicate their brand's unique origin story. I am excited to share with you the profound importance of CEO branding in today's fiercely competitive business landscape and provide actionable insights on how you can effortlessly embark on your own CEO brand-building journey.
The importance of CEO branding
Your own personal brand is what reflects your priorities and values. Branding helps you, your colleagues and the customers you serve define who you are and what value you offer as a leader. Without a powerful and visible brand, CEOs may find it hard to grow their business, become an influencer or take their career to the next level.
But, when you grow your brand, doors open and opportunities present themselves to you. People are more likely to listen to what you have to say, connections are made and those connections are apt to turn into paying customers and lifelong advocates.
Let's dive in and take a look at some of the biggest benefits of CEO brand building.
1. Broaden your impact
Your personal brand not only reflects your work ethic but also how you interact with and relate to others. These "others" include the teams you manage, shareholders and consumers. Your brand is recognized in the real world in face-to-face interactions as well as in virtual interactions.
2. Stand out from the crowd
The entire world is online, and everyone is creating and sharing content. This creates a lot of noise.
Cut through that noise with your own unique vision. A personal brand helps you be an authentic voice in a sea of pandering. Always remember, people can smell phony from a mile away. When you develop your personal branding, every word you utter and the action you take is genuine to who you truly are.
3. Others seek you out
When your personal brand is authentic and attractive to others, opportunities come knocking. You'd be surprised at the number of new clients or customers that suddenly appear without any further effort on your part. Vendors may contact you, as well as the press, for interviews and event organizers about speaking engagements. Other companies may also get in touch with you, hoping to snag you for their operation.
Put the work in upfront to develop your brand and the opportunities almost effortlessly follow.
4. Incredible networking opportunities
Networking events are important for doing business and moving your career forward. But let's be honest — these things can be a nightmare to navigate. Who should you talk to? What should you say? Will others find you (dare I say it)... boring?
When you've taken the time to thoughtfully craft your own brand, you become one of the most interesting people in the room.
People walk up to you with hands outstretched. People ask you questions because they want to know even more. CEO branding turns a potentially awkward (but necessary) event into a simple and rewarding one.
5. Grow your bottom line
Do any of us really know what the economy will do from year to year? Heck, month to month? With so much economic uncertainty, it can be challenging, to say the least, to continue to grow your bottom line and meet shareholder expectations when consumers are tightening their wallets.
People are far more likely to give their hard-earned money to a company whose CEO is charismatic and vocal, no matter what the economy is doing. Case in point: Research by FTI Consulting found that those companies who had strong and vocal leaders during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic elicited stronger investor confidence. Numerically speaking, this translated into $260 billion in additional shareholder value during a time that was, for many, economically uncertain.
6. Gain confidence
In my experience, one of the biggest reasons leaders have confidence issues is because they don't know who they are as a leader. They may know who they are as a husband or wife, mother or father, or friend, but when it comes to leadership, they don't know their own beliefs, strengths, weaknesses or unique value proposition.
Developing your brand requires you to uncover your skills and values. The entire process allows you to see yourself in an entirely new way. And once you know who you really are as a leader, your confidence soars. And when this happens, those you have been leading recognize it and the entire dynamic in your organization shifts.
7. Attract better clients
Having a powerful personal brand means you inevitably attract better-quality clients. Why is this? Because people will always seek out an expert to work with. Your brand will cut out the competitive process entirely.
Tips to begin building your CEO brand
Now that you know the benefits of CEO brand building, here are some ideas to help get you started:
Self-evaluation plays a key role in developing an accurate and effective personal brand. So, spend a little time thinking and jotting down any ideas or insights. What is something you love about the work you do? What skills do you offer? What are you known for? How do you view your industry? What are compliments you often get from others? What do you know in your heart you could improve upon regarding your leadership style?
2. Ask for honest feedback
You need to know what others really think of you. Get feedback from friends and family, as well as colleagues and clients. Does this feedback align with how you want to be perceived by others? If not, what changes do you need to make to begin living your ideal brand?
3. Develop your elevator pitch
Now that you are starting to get a sense of what your brand is, it's time to be sure you can articulate that brand to others quickly and easily. And this is where the elevator pitch comes in.
You most likely know people use an elevator pitch to introduce their fledgling company to prospective investors or to introduce themselves when looking for employment. However, CEOs can use this same exercise to encapsulate their personal brand in a few sentences. In no more than three sentences, how would you describe your unique leadership values and contribution?
Once you've got your pitch ready, you can use this as a daily reminder of who you want to be, as well as use it on your personal social media pages.
4. Audit your social media accounts
For many people who are new to your company, your social media presence will be their first introduction. Now that you've taken some time to brainstorm and think about what you want to project, it's a good idea to audit your social media accounts to ensure someone's first impression of you jives with your intended brand.
If you need help with this, take a look at some other leaders in your industry to see whose profile best fits the brand you are building. Don't copy them, but feel free to emulate and take ideas from their profile.
5. Keep tweaking and adjusting
Building your CEO brand is a process. You won't necessarily discover your authentic leadership self and be able to communicate your value right away. That's okay. Just keep at it and tweak and adjust your brand and your content as you go.
I hope you now recognize the importance of CEO branding. Though it will take some time to build, your brand will ultimately help you connect with your audience in a deeper and more meaningful way. And, because people tend to align with brands that mimic their own values, your branding efforts will also help you to create loyal followers rather than customers.