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MANY OF THE TOP-PERFORMING CEOs in the world, as determined by Harvard Business Review, are names that aren’t exactly common fodder for dinner conversation. They know how to create long-term value for their companies, but many of them don’t focus on creating their own personal brands. Personal branding may not be essential for leadership within large corporations, but for small businesses, having a well-branded CEO/owner at the helm can make a difference. It can help differentiate your brand, creating a stronger connection with the marketplace. It can result in prospects specifically seeking you out, instead of just hunting for the lowest-priced option. As a CEO/owner, your decisions about your personal brand should hinge on your long-term intentions for your company. If your goal is ultimately to sell the company, then crafting a strong personal brand can make it challenging to sell without sounding alarms among customers about your absence. Think about Steve Jobs. Investors understand this, too. If you plan to step back from your leadership role soon, a strong personal brand can actually devalue your company. However, if you are planning to stay with your company for the long haul, then a personal brand that emphasizes your expertise makes sense. Your personal brand could allow the marketplace to relate more easily to you and your company. Customers might like to know what makes you tick, and they might even empathize with you more. However, once you’ve connected your personal brand to your business, personal or professional missteps can lead to public scrutiny. If you want to build a personal brand to support your business, begin by determining your mantra. Think of this as a short statement that you’ll use to communicate your brand. Richard Branson’s mantra can be found within his Twitter profile: “Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr. Yes at @virgin!” Creating your mantra can be challenging, but try using this formula: Description + Function + Emotion. Your description identifies your industry. Your function explains the service you offer, and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Your emotional appeal emphasizes how people benefit from working with you, how you make them feel, or how they describe you. Consider asking colleagues, employees and friends to describe you in 10 words or fewer to help find the key words you should use in your mantra. Next, tell the story behind that mantra in words and pictures consistently — through each social media post you make, the content you develop and promote, and each personal interaction. Grow your network by connecting with people who will find value in your content, and continuously evolve your content to increase its relevancy to the people in your network. Promoting your personal brand in the market can offer your company a strong competitive advantage, but make certain to manage your reputation carefully. Understand how the lines between your personal and professional brands can blur together.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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