Successful personal brands generate opportunity and investment in sports and entertainment every day. However, we hear a lot of confusion in other industries about the value of brand-building for business leaders. Because of that, we see companies and their leaders default into five costly mistakes that limit the success of their business.
- Having No Brand Strategy
Two marketing realities underscore the peril of a CEO without a personal brand strategy.
First, just like nature, marketing hates a vacuum. If your CEO has no brand, someone or something else outside of your company will define it. Usually a nasty competitor, disgruntled employee or the media. Would your CEO prefer to be defined in a strategic and positive way or by the latest unpopular employee layoff?
Second, there’s no such thing as “organic” brand strategy. “I don’t need to define my brand. I’ll just let it grow organically.” If I had a dime for every time I hear this nonsense, I’d be retired. It’s like an athlete saying, “I don’t need to focus on physical fitness, skill and nutrition. I’ll be successful organically.” Great brands take work to define and position successfully.
- Defaulting to “Leadership”
By definition, every CEO is a leader. However, there are tens of thousands of CEOs and even more leaders with other titles in business. What makes your leader different? Your CEO is much more than a leader. Some are visionaries or promoters, others are cheerleaders or inventors. You get the picture. He/she has myriad personal interests and a compelling story about their rise to the top. CEO brands that lack distinctiveness lack brand distinction.
- Not Implementing a Plan of Action
Events happen daily within the company, within a competitive market and within society. CEO brands must be defined within the context of these events. CEOs who don’t actively express their brands through social media, public relations, appearances and through their actions lose the opportunity to define and project who they are and what they stand for.
- Thinking It’s the Same as the Company’s Brand
Almost every company engages in brand marketing around their corporate, product and service brands. Often, they ignore their CEO’s brand because they don’t see the connection. While they have different, but related brands, the CEO is the living embodiment of his/her company’s brand values. It’s a question of creative marketing and public relations to delineate how the CEO’s brand is a connected extension of corporate marketing. Ignoring the CEO’s brand leaves an enormous asset on the table unused.
- Believing It’s Not Worth the Investment
Speaking of unused assets, there are CEOs and companies that believe the CEO’s brand is simply not worth the time and energy to build. The biggest beneficiaries of this thinking are that company’s competitors for a few simple reasons. Strong CEO brands:
• Attract consumers and shareholders
• Increase reach and earn attention for the company
• Create an environment that attracts top talent
• Establish a culture generating a record of business success.
Is it worth investing in your CEO’s brand? Thought so.