Why a CEO’s Personal Brand Matters
Pause, and ask yourself these questions: How can you know your company, without knowing yourself? How can you ask your employees to know the company, if they themselves are unsure of who is leading it? An average CEO would find these questions inconsequential. A great CEO knows the true importance of them and how personal branding is the solution to these dilemmas.
A CEO must be a great leader in both his industry and in his company. But more importantly, he must also exhibit a coherent personal identity that embodies what he stands for. A good personal brand demonstrates who the CEO is and what he/she can accomplish. In the long run, it will create an even greater company brand. Each will enhance the other. Looking closer, the advantages of personal branding proliferates:
- Separates you from the competition: You are creating a persona for your company that the competition cannot match. While you, the CEO, are still as much of the company as the company is you, your personal brand will personify the company.
- Creates a strong base for the company: These days many CEO’s are focused on the company brand, allowing their personal brand to fall short. Without this element, you may ultimately lose company direction and valuable brand architecture.
- Attracts clients and employees: People relate to other people. By creating a believable, authentic personal brand, not only will clients be increasingly drawn to you, but your employees will be more inclined to follow you.
- Covers personal and company failings: With a credible personal brand, incidents from personal ‘stumbles’ to company-wide missteps are more likely to be resolved smoothly. By promoting yourself correctly, it will be much easier in future scenarios to side step negative results.
- Generates confidence that creates direct revenue: “Understanding what is authentically you, your value, and what you’re capable of delivering leads you to embrace business opportunities that positively impact your company’s profitability, growth, and reputation.” (Chritton)
Well how do I do it?
Now ask yourself: What do I do? What are my passions? What do I do well? What do I bring to the table?
Then create a brand statement based on your answers. Many individuals simply use one word to describe their personal brand statement. This statement must not only embody who you are, but it must be created with the intention of helping others benefit from a relationship with you, and your company.
→ Promote your brand statement effectively and persistently. Back it up with consistent behavior and objective proof. Deliver the promise your brand statement makes. If you are not already what your brand statement embodies, then become it. To make the meaning behind your brand statement last, have patience. Long-lived perceptions and associations don’t happen overnight.
→ Have a multi-channel approach to the promotion of your personal brand. Implement not only face-to-face interactions, but also blogging, social media, volunteer work, and public speaking.
→ Aside from your day to day interactions, promote your personal brand in a big way. An ideal example of this is Chobani’s CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya. To add to his home-grown personal brand, Ulukaya recently gave 10% of his company to his employers. It was an empathetic move that inspired loyalty in his 2,000 employees. It also sparked positive associations of his personal brand, which led to even greater impressions of Chobani as a whole. Actions as bold as this aren’t always necessary, but they are a great way of verifying one’s personal brand.
A solid personal brand can eliminate confusion and distortion within a company. Even better, it also build’s the CEO’s confidence, in turn making him/her a better leader. “There’s an overwhelming relief in having an authentic personal brand. Unlike clothes that hang ignored in the closet, the authentic brand is like the classic outfit you can’t wait to grab again and again because it aligns perfectly with who you are, how you feel, and where you’d like to go next.” (Erskine)