The executive population was the first to embrace personal branding. The people occupying the chief executive offices (CEOs) recognized early on that if branding worked for a company, it could work for them as individuals.
Today, forward-thinking executives know that in order to differentiate themselves, they need to work on their public image and guide that image instead of being wholly associated with the companies they work for.
Whether you’re selling suits or widgets, as a CEO or executive, you need to embrace your personal brand. Take some delight in tweeting and blogging about your brand.
Beyond the CEO…
Personal branding contributions are not just limited to the CEO. Any member of the executive team with something to say can contribute to industry websites, the blogosphere, Twitter, and all the other online channels.
There also may be staff in the ranks who can be part of your company’s online personal branding initiative. Take an inventory and invite everyone to tell you what they’re doing online that’s relevant to the company and industry – blogs, tweets, Facebook pages, etc. You just may find that you have some terrific “personal branding squad” members who’d be thrilled to contribute to your master plan.
Planning for the CEO’s Personal Branding
1.Objectives and strategy. What are the messages you need to communicate, and what are the best channels to reach your target market? Assuming there’s already a general PR plan in place, start with a focus on online media and industry conferences.
- Blogs. Get on a regular schedule to contribute to the company blog, or possibly create a CEO blog like Ask Kirubi. Identify important industry blogs, publications, and other websites where you can become a regular contributor.
- Conferences and other events. Create a strategy for speaking engagements at key industry events.
- LinkedIn. Enhance your LinkedIn profile and use it as a daily personal branding tool.
- The media. Identify primary and secondary media outlets. Create a plan to develop relationships with key media.
- Competitive research. What are the competition’s executives doing to brand themselves via blogs, articles, media interviews? How are your executives seen by peers, competitors, and target customers? How can you be branded to differentiates yourself from competitors? After the initial research, set up an ongoing monitoring plan to keep atop of competitive efforts.
- Create the content. Create a master content plan that helps you as a CEO become the go-to person for her expertise. Apart from blogging and tweeting, this is content that can be pitched to journalists (there’s nothing that delivers better results than media coverage). Develop stories that would interest the media (which of course, are also of interest to your target customers)
- Create the content: articles, imagery, videos. Start with an engaging photo or two – not the standard “executive behind the desk,” but something the customers can relate to – and a one-minute “talking head” video.
- Determine how to turn the content into podcasts, interviews, and webinars.
- Consider a book. If there’s no time to find a publisher and develop a full book, consider a self-published e-book or series of e-books that can be downloaded from the company site. The content can become the basis for a book contract.2. Execute.
- Build a Twitter feed and possibly a blog for the exec that are separate from the company’s general feed and blog. Remember, as the CEO, you are the spokesperson with whom people want to interact.
- Plan for podcasts, topic-focused videos, and interviews.
- Use social media to promote all placements, and to drive the buzz before, during, and after the events.
What Resources Do You Need?
If you’re rolling your eyes, wondering who’s going to do all this work: you’re right. It does require a team.
Among your current staff and your agencies, you may already have people who can:
- Locate and coordinate presentations at industry events.
- Create the presentations and online content.
- Manage the design, photography, and video production.
- Undertake social media and media (journalist) engagement.
If you don’t have such a team, don’t worry, we can help with your personal branding, you only need to contact us.
Here’s to your personal brand success 🙂