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5 Strategies to Follow For Effective CEO Branding

If you want to take your business to the next level, promoting your services or product is not enough. Here’s where CEO branding can help elevate your business.

As a CEO, you can help create a human connection to your audience. Customers love a good story and a face to go with it. On the other hand, they will quickly lose interest in a faceless brand. It isn’t easy to connect to a brand with zero personality.

CEOs image
CEOs can be strong promoters for their brand.

However, carefully mapping out what strategies to apply is necessary for effective CEO branding. Otherwise, you could do more bad than good to your company.

Therefore it’s helpful to look at some of the best strategies to guide you in the right direction. It’s always a wise decision to invest time and energy into improving your brand!

What is CEO Branding?

This type of branding is considered to be the new corporate branding. Also, it’s the process that helps align your face with your brand. It includes PR activities, media interviews, philanthropy, articles, employee treatment, and so on.

Picture showing how CEO branding influences brand awareness.
CEO branding directly influences brand awareness.

According to Wolfgang Lonien from Insider, CEO branding is undoubtedly a differentiating factor in a competitive marketplace. Furthermore, he brings up some interesting points from a survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller. The results showed that based on a CEO’s reputation:

  • A total of 95% of those surveyed decided whether or not to invest in a company
  • 93% would recommend a company as a suitable alliance or merger partner
  • Of those surveyed, 88% recommended the company as an excellent place to work

These results demonstrate the importance of a CEO’s reputation to the success of the company. Undoubtedly, when you think about top brands, you naturally associate them with the people behind them.

Top 10 most famous CEOs list
CEO branding creates a positive impact on a brand when done right.
Building a CEO brand can help drive top-line revenue, develop a more portable brand to use in launching new divisions and build a legacy. - Raoul Davis, Forbes Councils Member

Indeed, as CEO, you have the power to create a bond with your audience and investors. Which means that they will, in turn, care about your brand.

CEO branding superhero
CEOs have the power to create a successful brand!

Helpful Strategies for CEOs

Without a doubt, with the rise of social media, people’s expectations of those in powerful positions have changed. People want to connect to leaders that are transparent, accessible, and driven.

Following are strategies to help you achieve effective CEO branding:

1. Define your thought leadership

Firstly, we define thought leadership as expressing ideas that demonstrate you have expertise in a particular field, area, or topic.

Karen Tiber Leland, President of the Sterling Marketing Group, suggests that you look at the three types of thought leadership and determine which one best suits your CEO brand.

  1. Celebrity. These CEOs are best known for their personality. Their character and style are the foundation of the brand. Examples include Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.
  2. Cerebral. These leaders are famous for their thinking and ideas. Examples include Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
  3. Consequential. This thought leadership is centered around results and accomplishments. Examples include Steve Jobs and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Image representing thought leadership
Which type of thought leadership best fits you?

2. Live your mission

In addition to defining your mission, you must also live it. This means that your personal mission must align with that of your brand. Make sure your audience clearly understands what you stand for.

Moreover, living your mission with authenticity will help you to create a stellar reputation. Without a doubt, a CEO’s reputation can help make or break a brand. Reputation is vital when it comes to CEO branding.

For example, consider Satya Nadella. He replaced Steve Ballmer as the CEO of Microsoft in 2014. Nadella changed the direction of Microsoft after becoming the CEO. He makes it a point to work with other companies in the technology industry. He transformed Microsoft’s culture into one that emphasizes inclusivity and helps employees continually learn.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO.

3. Connect with your target audience

Besides being a fantastic leader, it’s also equally important to reach your target audience. This means interacting with real people.

One way to do this is by attending events and speaking engagements aligned with your personal and corporate mission. Another suggestion is to write articles in publications that your target audience reads.

Also, it’s necessary to maintain an online presence. As CEO, you need to work with content marketing, PR, and social media.

People need to view you as the go-to person for any and all questions regarding your industry. - CEO Today

Some CEOs have taken this strategy a step further. For example, a customer didn’t receive a discount he thought he was eligible for, so he wrote a brief email to Steve Jobs. Jobs replied: “We’ll fix this.” The next day, the customer received a call from Jobs’ assistant, and his problem was solved.

There are multiple options to connect with your audience. Part of an effective CEO branding strategy is choosing the ones that work best for you and your brand.

Top 10 most connected leaders
Staying connected helps to create thriving brands.

4. Find a niche

Above all, you need to define what sets you apart from your biggest competitor and their CEO. It would be best if you considered why a customer would choose you over them.

Finding a niche helps your values and your personal brand stick in the minds of your perfect customers. Also, think about well-known brands and consider what makes them memorable.

Think about what you have to offer that is unique.

Overall, it’s essential to identify what makes you stand out and effectively show this to your desired audience. A person that was very successful at doing this was Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was renowned for her innate ability to empathize. She was able to translate this ability to a wildly popular talk show. She understood her audience and knew exactly what to offer them.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an expert at standing out and finding her niche.

5. Be consistent

Last but not least, to have effective CEO branding, you have to be consistent. Building a successful personal brand will take time and effort. Don’t expect magic results.

Personal brands fail for many reasons, but we guarantee that one of the most common is because people don’t keep it up. - CEO Today

Furthermore, you need to keep generating content and posting regularly. Your brand won’t benefit from some time of persistence and then complete silence. Additionally, you run the risk of your audience forgetting about you. Of course, that’s something that you should always avoid.

Brand visibility related to CEO branding
Keep your brand visible to your audience by connecting regularly.

Most importantly, remember that successful CEO branding helps to give you brand visibility. Don’t disregard your presence. Surely your audience will notice.

CEO Branding Gives Your Brand Soul

Finally, a key part to remember is that your audience wants to know your story. Share your passion for your industry, and let that show in everything you do! Sharing your vision and personality will help to create a bond with them.

Let’s talk.

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By
Laura Amarillas
On
October 1, 2021
8
min read