By elevating their personal brand, CEOs and other senior business leaders can become powerful brand advocates and make a valuable impact on the organization they work for. In this article, we’ll cover what businesses need to think about to effectively leverage personal branding at the executive level and further build trust with their target audiences by ‘humanizing‘ the brand.
Engage in Conversations to Drive Results
While social media can enable you to take control of your narrative, the digital landscape is full of noise, with millions of brands — and even more individuals — competing for attention. Some of the keys to successfully connect to your audiences and outpace those who compete for their attention are relevance, timing (right content at the right moment), message clarity, and ease of message absorption. However, none of these keys will open any doors without the most important one needed to captivate people and drive results: trust. Simply having a company profile and posting quotes or other content won’t effectively build trust. Instead, it’s important to differentiate your brand and build relationships with stakeholders in the market. One effective way companies can do so is by leveraging people to humanize their brands. Especially when these people have extensive reach and relevance, their impact can be very significant.
People connect with people, not logos.
Social media isn’t just about making noise yourself, but also engaging in conversations and dialogues with your audience. You have to be in the weeds to build trust and connect to people. People are craving authentic and real content as well as advice and even guidance in multiple areas, and look for people and brands they believe in to provide this. Cultivate genuine relationships and build trust so that if your audience is ever in need of a solution, you’ll be top of mind. Once you have the trusting ear of your peers, partners, clients, and people in general, it becomes so much easier to get any message across, making your communication much more effective, achieving your goals more easily.
Making A Brand Human
It’s easy to get blinded by vanity metrics such as big numbers of views and followers. It’s not about the number of followers you have. What matters is the quality of the connections you make. At the same time, know yourself, your values, and your purpose. Define clear goals and ensure that your communication strategy feeds into those objectives. Once you’ve defined your position in the market and optimized the relevant profiles accordingly, you can start to distribute content across social media and build stronger connections with more engaged followers.
The 4 Content Pillars
Marvin outlined his proprietary “Content Archetype” framework which Kingfluencers applies when working with personal branding clients. He categorizes content as follows:
- Tactical: Actionable, implementable advice, relevant to your target audience
- Aspirational: Results, case studies showcasing the transformations your customers went through with your company // Stories of growth and hyper-specific outcomes.
- Insightful: Analyzing industry trends and extracting insights from your expert perspective
- Personal: Discussing personal anecdotes and stories
When building executive profiles, the human element is very important. It’s up to each person or company to decide how personal they want to make their brand and find the right mix. Additional best practices for CEO profiles include:
- Engage with other employees
- Don’t just repost links — give your two cents and contextualize what you’re sharing
- Communicate company purpose — what’s your purpose?
- Share behind-the-scenes content
- Collaborate with other professionals
Before posting content, define brand guidelines and dos and don’ts, for example, you might decide that emojis are a no go. Once guidelines have been defined, it’s important to make sure people move within those guidelines. Marvin recommends, “If you have a slip-up, be fully transparent. Communicate proactively and own your mistakes.”
Growth of Personal Branding Services
Yoeri Callebaut, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Kingfluencers, stated, “Kingfluencers has partnered with specialist Marvin Sangines as part of our efforts to bring personal branding services here to Switzerland. Switzerland is also home to many regional and international organizations and senior business decision makers who have a lot to gain from developing their personal brand following our program. We’ve seen how personal branding can make a significant difference, particularly as part of coordinated branding, positioning, and social selling efforts. As the leading social influence marketing firm, we aim to be the absolute point of reference for personal branding services in the region.”
Impersonating the CEO?
It’s often difficult for CEOs to find time to engage on social media every day, but you need to avoid a sporadic and inconsistent approach. Marvin explains, “People will realize if you make a half-assed effort. You should have quality standards and be strategic about what you post.
“When working with ghost-writers, it’s important to first consider how to capture the executive’s authentic voice. Our process involves interviewing clients to get to know them and how they speak, as well as their answers on relevant subjects and trends. We use this insight to fuel the content engine, while making sure we capture their tone.
It’s normal for traditional communications, such as press releases and conference presentations, to go through a dozen hands for approval, and it’s still the CEO’s view. This also applies to social media. Think of social media posts as a short form of press releases on behalf of the CEO or senior executives.
So What’s in it for the Brand?
“Investing in one’s personal brand creates all the obvious benefits, from increased visibility to growing one‘s network and boosting perceived expertise and relevance. But the benefits for the company should not be underestimated, when done properly,” says Yoeri. “A first example is clearly the additional attention the company will receive thanks to the initiatives of its senior staff investing in personal branding and proactive public communications. Moreover, as it makes the brand more human and emphasizes the organization’s purpose and values, it is an effective way to get people to connect more to the organization and improve the perception of the brand. Think of the classic example of Apple and Steve Jobs!”
Targeting Prospective Employees and Building Trust
Personal branding can also help organizations in the battle to recruit top talent. Gen Z, in particular isn’t consuming traditional news, but rather using social media to engage with companies.
“Forward-thinking companies are gradually adopting this human-centric approach to marketing. They leverage employees and executives as important distribution channels to attract top talent. When employees share content on their personal profiles, it reveals company culture, enabling the audience to see behind the scenes of large corporations. This human touch can give prospective employees an idea what it’s like to work for the company and what the company stands for in a real way, which is what younger generations are really interested in,” stated Marvin.
Interested in finding out how personal branding can help elevate your brand?
Get in touch!
Yoeri Callebaut, Chief Growth and Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers