We use the word “brand” constantly, and not just in the context of advertising and marketing – we regularly apply it to individuals (your “personal brand”). Today’s entrepreneurs and CEOs are well-known brands: when we think of Amazon, we think of Jeff Bezos; Apple equates with Steve Jobs, and we rarely mention Microsoft without referring to Bill Gates.
The covers of Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune and the Wall Street Journal are occupied almost exclusively by CEO profiles. If you’re doing it right, your brand as a CEO is inseparable from that of your company.
Why is this so important? Because, in the modern marketplace, investors are looking to back the cowboy, not the horse. Your personal brand needs to underline that you’re always earning your spurs. Here are some simple, practical and feasible steps to build and burnish a brand that will inspire your customers, your investors and your team:
- Keep Up a Steady Stream of Personally Relevant Corporate Announcements
Main Street and Wall Street are often looking for the same thing in you and your personal brand: activity and transparency. People want news, whether it’s a press release announcing the beta test of your product or photos of your team’s local contribution to Earth Day – there’s almost always something to announce, always some positive way to demonstrate growth and engage with your audience:
# Load company-related photos and videos to Instagram.
# Issue press releases and blog posts, and share them via your personal Twitter account (and ask your employees and clients to retweet).
# Share articles on LinkedIn and Facebook, both native content and external – if someone else publishes an article you like, share it and explain why.
Build your personal brand by letting everyone know what you’re doing professionally. Use social media to demonstrate your industriousness; how you’re growing your company; how important the entire enterprise is to you; how much you value your team and its efforts. Set up a schedule for your activity, with Hootsuite or a similar platform, and rope ‘em in!
- Develop a Robust Blog Page and Make It a Powerful Brand Tool
As CEO, you are not just the face of your company; you’re also its voice. The best way for your customers, investors and vendors to hear your voice is through consistent blog posts (which, of course, are easily distributed via your personal and corporate social media channels).
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to post every day. Once every week or ten days is enough, particularly as you’ll share each blog post a few times. Use these posts to:
# Give color and further information after issuing press releases
# Position yourself as an industry expert by discussing new developments and trends in the marketplace and in the context of national and global economic activity|
# Describe your personal experience as a way to advise other entrepreneurs and CEOs
# Follow-up personal appearances and participation at trade shows and investor events
# Celebrate key accomplishments by individual team members
# Demonstrate how much you love what you do
- Make Public Appearances Whenever Possible
Never forget you’re not only a brand but also its ambassador. Trade shows are of course the best way to meet your adoring public and tell your story, but you should also consider your everyday ambassadorship. Remember that every interaction people have with you, from bankers to baristas, is also an interaction with your company. Take advantage of these incredible opportunities to tell your story and make your personal brand stand tall.
Then, when potential customers and investors see you riding into town, they’ll know this cowboy doesn’t just wear a big hat…he’s got the cattle to back it up.
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