Your product or service isn’t the only thing you need to be promoting. As a CEO, one of the most powerful exposure and revenue-building tools your company has is, in fact, you.
CEO branding is the new corporate branding. People want an emotional connection to the brands they are invested in, so it’s important for those brands to have a face — and that’s where CEO branding comes into play.
CEO Branding — The New Corporate Branding
CEO branding is the process of aligning your face with your corporate brand. This process includes public relation activities, media interviews, philanthropy, articles, books, speaking engagements and company culture.
It requires integrating the CEO’s brand DNA into how the company is viewed publicly. In a competitive marketplace, it is a differentiating factor. Though it happens naturally, CEOs need to be forward-thinking when it comes developing their brand — or proactive in managing it.
Consider these survey results compiled by Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest PR firms, that illustrate the importance of a CEO’s reputation to the success of the company.
The results indicated that, based on a CEO’s reputation:
95% of those surveyed decided whether or not to invest in a company
93% would recommend a company as a good alliance or merger partner
88% recommend the company as a good place to work
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx and the world’s youngest female billionaire, is a walking example for the power of CEO branding. In her company’s early days, she had no money for advertising, so she hit the road with her new product. She was the heart, soul and face of Spanx. Blakely took her passion and propelled Spanx to phenomenal heights.
Blakely also stands firmly by her personal beliefs about how business should be done. In the recent CNBC Town Hall Event, “Getting Back to Business,” Blakely responded to venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary’s statement, “Business is war,” by saying, “I have only been focused on my own quality – what can I offer that’s the best and give value.”
It’s not just the words, but also the CEO behind them that the audience responded to so enthusiastically. Her authenticity is noticed by customers, investors, employees, and the general public, and it influences their readiness to connect to the Spanx brand. That’s the power of CEO branding.