There is a widespread belief that personal branding is not encouraged in most companies, nor is the leader’s positioning strategy taken into account. However, enhancing the identity that characterises a CEO and differentiates him from other executives contributes to positioning the brand that they represent.
A company that knows how to capitalise on its CEO’s personal brand can increase the perceived value of its products and services, transform supply into demand and achieve a differential factor in the market and with its competitors.
Taking Steve Jobs as an example, he has a very particular leadership and management style. His brand of black T-shirts, jeans and trainers is almost as recognisable as the iconic “bitten apple” logo. Whether you are an Apple fan or not, it is interesting to see how this CEO managed his personal brand to support his company’s brand.
Leaders and branding managers work with personal brands and depend on them to achieve results. The positioning of these leaders and their brand is achieved by developing planned, structured and defined communication strategies and personal branding actions that are integrated and in harmony with the company’s image and goals.
CEO positioning as a corporate priority
Many companies position their leaders and other senior executives, but only a minority do this through sound management. The question is: what can communication, marketing and public relations experts do to position a CEO as the voice and visionary face of their company and not let them be invisible to different audiences?
A good starting point is undoubtedly a detailed understanding of the company’s strategy and its various internal and external stakeholders. Their different expectations and information needs must be thoroughly identified. Without this essential first step, it is impossible to align the CEO’s positioning with his company’s overall strategy and achieve compliance with the expectations of his stakeholders. Therefore, the second step is to analyse the CEO’s retrospective and current image and role. There will be certainty on how to start positioning if there is clarity on this aspect.
A systematic action plan needs to be put in place to help position the CEO in the media as an accessible, knowledgeable and communicative thought leader. In a perfect world, the CEO embodies the company’s values and personifies the brand. If the audience interprets their appearances as staged or fictitious, all efforts will be vain. There needs to be a measured media presence and a careful selection of topics, messages, appearances and interviews.
The best way to achieve this is a regular presence in the media, securing editorial space in specialised magazines and talks, and connecting with opinion leaders in their field, for example, through social networks and discussion forums. As a representative of the company, there are many functions that the CEO can have on social media. However, most of them respond to a communication and marketing tactic to be accessible to users, generate and increase the target’s trust, and connect with potential customers of the brand.
Senior executives are the voice of their company, and consumers want to know who they are, how they operate and what their business practices and strategy are. The CEO’s public positioning is essential, valuable and profitable for your company.