CEO to Superstar: The Secrets To Crafting an Unforgettable Personal Brand in Professional Services
CEOs already hold prestigious roles in organizations, so why should they consider building a personal brand?
This article explores the vast benefits of having your own brand and three effective strategies to create one:
- Understand your authentic self.
- Craft a brand around your business’s shared values.
- Evolve to stay relevant.
It also explains how an expert fractional CMO for professional services helps you make a brand that best represents you, the beliefs you stand for, and the organization you are heading.
Read below to learn how to elevate yourself to superstar status and use it for the business's good. Let’s go!
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What Is a Personal Brand?
Personal branding is an individual’s intentional effort to create and influence public perception by positioning themselves as an industry leader or authority.
It differs from corporate branding in many ways. Personal branding revolves around an individual, especially their name. It is typically more flexible, adapting to the person’s growth and changes over time.
Take the example of Oprah Winfrey. The Queen of Talk has seamlessly transitioned from being an influential TV personality to a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Meanwhile, a corporate brand is tied to a company or organization. It focuses on the business’s reputation as a whole. It is also more static because it is rooted in the company’s mission, vision, and values. For example, Apple’s brand is synonymous with innovation, sleek design, and premium quality.
In other words, a CEO can have a separate reputation from their business. When they are outside, they can choose to speak for themselves or on behalf of the organization.
However, a wise fractional CMO for professional services often does not advise these leaders to build a persona entirely distinct from their business. You will learn more about this later.
Why Should CEOs Build a Personal Brand?
Building a personal brand takes time, with little room for mistakes. With their extensive job descriptions, why should it matter to CEOs?
According to the Harvard Business Review, one reason is legitimacy. The authority of corporate governance over chief executives can compel employees to follow. However, motivating them to go above and beyond the call of duty is usually insufficient.
A CEO who wants to lead a heterogeneous team through the good and bad should first remove any doubt as to why they hold such a role in the first place.
Personal branding helps CEOs become legitimate by
- Showcasing their competence, especially their intelligence and previous and present performance;
- Sharing personal values, experiences, and motivations that help humanize them;
- Effectively communicating their vision for the company and its future;
- Inspiring around a shared purpose; and
- Extending their influence beyond their organization to industry and society.
A business leader’s brand also significantly, if not directly, affects the bottom line. When investors learned that Elon Musk had been buying Twitter shares, the social media company’s stock price rose to almost $50.
When an executive has a positive and influential personal brand, it helps attract customers, investors, and partners. It then translates into increased customer loyalty and business opportunities, ultimately driving revenue growth.
Furthermore, clients who perceive the CEO as authentic, relatable, and aligned with their values are more likely to become repeat customers and brand advocates.
It is important to remember, however, that personal branding can be a handicap if the individual falls from popularity. Continuing the example given above, as Elon Musk’s popularity decreased due to his actions with Twitter (now known as X), that company’s stock also dwindled.
Overall, though, the personal branding of CEOs goes beyond individual recognition. It creates a ripple effect that improves customer perception, employee engagement, investor confidence, and overall business success.
Three Personal Branding Tips for CEOs
When effectively managed, personal branding becomes a strategic asset that contributes to revenue growth and long-term profitability. However, what does it take to transform into an authoritative, credible industry superstar?
A fractional CMO in professional services can help executives and business leaders build and sustain a meaningful personal brand with these ideas:
1. Understand Your Authentic Self
Authenticity sells. In a small 2023 study, the researchers found a direct correlation between internet celebrity self-brands and purchase intentions.
When the audience perceives authenticity and transparency in a person, they also view them as trustworthy and reliable. This value also reinforces your and, to a certain extent, the organization’s value proposition.
Aligning your actions with your core values and principles also substantiates your promises and strengthens the brand’s credibility.
Most of all, being authentic encourages community engagement. Sharing unique experiences and perspectives invites others to connect with the leader more deeply. From a business standpoint, executives can use the information from their relationship to design products and services that better fit the market’s needs.
Because defining one’s brand is challenging, a fractional CMO guides you in uncovering your unique traits, values, and strengths.
2. Craft a Brand Around Your Business’s Shared Values
The best CEO brand also embodies the organization’s vision and values. More specifically, it does the following:
- Communicate the business's mission to customers and partners.
- Establish the leader as a reliable source of information on the company’s goals and progress.
- Make the executive more accountable for their actions and decisions.
- Increase public trust in the organization as a whole.
- Help the organization weather brand crises more effectively.
With a fractional CMO, the business can identify the key values defining the organization's culture, mission, and vision. They might conduct workshops or meetings or develop a compelling brand story.
They can also do the following:
- Incorporate these values into decision-making processes, communication styles, and interactions.
- Publish articles, speak at conferences, or contribute to relevant industry publications.
- Support and promote partnerships that showcase the executive’s commitment to making a positive impact.
- Establish metrics to track the CEO’s personal brand’s influence on the organization’s values-driven initiatives.
3. Evolve to Stay Relevant
As the market and technologies change, so do consumer, employee, and investor needs and expectations.
For example, more people nowadays value sustainability and transparency. They also want businesses to be more accessible and feel that they truly contribute to the company’s success.
On the other hand, businesses respond to these changes, effectively modifying their values, missions, and objectives.
For these reasons, a CEO’s personal brand should also evolve if they want to stay relevant. They can achieve this by pursuing continuous learning, using technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to innovate, and approaching new market trends with more curiosity than fear.
A CEO’s personal brand is powerful in sculpting an organization’s image, meeting evolving market needs, and creating community trust.
Are you ready to build yours? Digital Authority Partners (DAP) is an award-winning agency where you can hire a fractional CMO for professional services. We help you build a comprehensive plan that elevates your status to superstar without sacrificing your company’s core values.
Contact us to learn more and get started.
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