Personal branding is nothing new, and while executives saw the importance of building a personal brand a few years ago, it has now become an obligation in this digital age. CEOs with a strong personal brand not only benefit their business but are able to leverage that brand in the next step of their career, whether they decide to sit on boards, take advisory roles, or move into public office. Branding becomes a networking tool, a marketing tool for the companies they serve, and a way to demonstrate their competence. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why personal branding is so essential for CEOs.
Building trust with the public is now more difficult than ever. But, if you think of companies that are highly trusted or distrusted, you can often point directly at their leaders. Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Elon Musk’s Tesla are perfect examples. While one is transparent almost to a fault, the other is ominously secretive and highly distrusted.
CEOs are tightly associated with their corporate brand and are sometimes precursors to it. CEOs who have the trust of the public can bring this trust with them wherever they go and revitalize brands that have fallen out of the public’s favor. This is a power only CEOs who are able to understand the importance of personal branding and build it can take advantage of.
CEOs can also build trust by becoming resources and authority. CEO Chad Brownstein is a perfect example. His expertise in geopolitics and fossil fuels has allowed him to become a recurrent figure on Bloomberg and other outlets. This lets him showcase and build his brand, not only as a CEO but as an authority on financial markets in general. This then allows any corporate brand he’s associated with to benefit from the trust capital he’s gained.
Brand differentiation is essential in business, and CEOs with strong personal brands are constantly able to help their companies punch above their weight. While a strong brand without real talent to back it up won’t necessarily be a benefit, good CEOs are often able to garner much more attention and interest to their brand than others and give them an extra push during rallies. This small investment in their personal brand could translate into billions more at valuation or launch. At the end of the day, people buy from people, and executives who are able to connect personally with customers and investors will always have an edge.
Another reason why executives need a strong brand is that it fosters strong and effective leadership in an organization. CEOs with strong brands have less trouble getting their employees to buy in, which can be crucial when companies go through tough times. This also becomes invaluable in times of change, either within the organization or the industry.
No matter how talented you are as a CEO, without a personal brand, you are voluntarily setting yourself back. This is why you should work as strongly on building a personal brand as well as a corporate one, as one will ultimately end up affecting the other.