When you think about a faceless corporation, it probably has negative connotations as compared to a small mom-and-pop corner store. One brings up notions of executives making decisions in boardrooms, while the other has a homey charm and a comfortable, familiar feel.
Whether you’re building a personal brand or trying to convey a sense of what your company is like, part of the challenge comes from the need to present an appearance of a down-to-earth business model with which individuals will connect. You can do that through your social media and through your blog, but another way is through your CEO’s personal branding.
The Value of A CEO’s Brand
It seems as though the biggest companies must almost come out with a branding effort for their CEOs by default. Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, and others have come into the public spotlight because of their companies and the vast resources that they control. But think about it: what is your opinion of each of these individuals? Is it positive or negative? Does your feeling about them make you want to engage with the company more, or less?
The fact is, there are plenty of people who won’t make their final decision about using a company’s products and services because of how they feel about a CEO’s brand. However, it would be inaccurate to say that it makes no difference at all. Building a personal brand can be helpful for a company’s CEO if they do it thoughtfully and carefully.
If you have a CEO who contributes to worthy charities, who hands out presents to the underprivileged around the holidays, goes on 5K runs with the other company employees, or who contributes to blood drives, then you’ve got a formula for building solid community relations. Since a CEO is the public face of a company, that company is viewed as an extension of them, which is why building a personal brand is so vital for anyone who’s in charge of a major conglomerate.
If, on the other hand, your CEO mocks those less fortunate, sends out messages on social media ridiculing their competitors, and seems boastful and arrogant, it’s not going to do any good for their company’s branding efforts. That’s something that all of the decision makers involved with the company should keep in mind.
Negative press is always to be avoided if a business is to do well, and the actions of a CEO do not take place in a vacuum. Brand building for a company head is something about which a clever CEO will be aware, and the most successful ones often keep careful track of their images.