In 2012, Twinkie fans taught us an important lesson about marketing: When it comes to company valuation, customer loyalty is king.
How CEOs, Owners, and Executives can Develop a Personal Brand: Part 2
In Part I of this series, we discussed how personal branding can help build your company.
The truth is, personal brands of you, your leadership, and even your team, communicate essential information about your business to prospects, referrers, investors, potential candidates, and your staff.
It’s essential for your leaders to establish a positive, knowledgeable personal brand that develops their reputation as a trustworthy expert in your field. Positioned as an expert, you are that much closer to closing a sale, your company becomes easier to refer, and you start to attract top talent to build your team.
Sounds great. But how do you get there?
Becoming a Thought Leader through Personal Branding
One of the best ways to establish authority is to publish content that provides valuable information to your customers and prospects.
But how can you share this valuable content with your target audience? Today’s online world makes it easy to get your expertise out there. You can:
- Write articles on your blog and share the content via social media channels.
- Tweet and build your Twitter following.
- Post videos on your blog, website, and YouTube channel.
- Record and share podcasts.
- Share photos of projects you’ve worked on.
- Write guest blog posts on sites that influence your target audience.
- Nominate your people and your company for awards and then share it online when you win.
I won’t lie to you, implementing a strategic thought leadership initiative requires a lot of time and a lot of effort. But the ROI is high and the leaders in your business don’t have to bear this burden alone. In fact, it’s more strategic to leverage strengths of unique team members.
Tapping Your Internal Resources
If you have business leaders that are charismatic speakers and/or writers, then by all means be like Richard Branson and go build your empire.
For others, your leaders may be more introverted, so it’s not as obvious how you can build your personal brands. (Here’s great article on Harvard Business Review on Personal Branding for Introverts).
At Kinesis, we’re always asking our clients to look to their leadership and then their team to build thought leadership. By identifying your internal strengths, and elevating your visibility appropriately, you can spread your company’s influence rapidly and exponentially. This is also a powerful opportunity to build leadership skills in more individuals than your CEO, which means heightened employee engagement and multiple brand ambassadors.
Need some examples?
One of our clients specializes in software, and their team is made up by a lot of technically-brilliant people who, unsurprisingly, aren’t running out the door to give a TED talk.
But we noticed that one member of their team - let’s call him Bob - gives amazing online demos. His enthusiasm and passion for the business excites and engages audiences online, where he also reaches prospects by contributing to specific tech forums.
We saw an opportunity for our client to gain notoriety and authority with their highly technical audience – by building Bob’s personal brand. We’re working with them to implement a thought leadership strategy that leverages his strengths, engages and excites their target audience, and establishes their team as experts.
Another of our clients has a manager – let’s call him Joe – who is a fantastic speaker and writer. He inspires and motivates people to take action - but isn’t an owner of the company.
We’ve helped our client build Joe’s personal brand, finding ways to put him in front of their target audience. When Joe speaks, people are impressed by his knowledge and, as a result, the company and its principals gain fame with their niche. The company brand is elevated by Joe’s personal branding strategy.
What these two examples show is that there’s nothing holding you back from building the personal brand of your key people - you may just need to get creative.
Personal Brands Build Your Business Brand
A thought leadership strategy that leverages content to share your personal brand is a powerful way to build your company’s visibility, credibility, and sellability. Be sure to build the brands of multiple influencers in your company in case a key individual leaves.
It takes time and effort, but the ROI is amazing. Remember, it’s critical that your published content is both consistent and relevant. Your prospects are looking for reliable experts they can trust.
Share what you know, help people, and build your authority. The more you share your expertise, the more you elevate your personal brand. People will get to know, like, and trust your team before they’ve ever met any of you – that’s the power of personal branding. And, of course, the more your personal brands get noticed, the more recognition your company gains.