CEOs tend to believe that the branding and reputation of their business is what must come first.
However, in the majority of cases being in such a senior position within a company means you are essentially the face of the business and with this comes scrutiny and criticism from the public.
Having a strong personal brand is vital to effectively represent your business and increasing engagement with consumers, partners and other businesses.
A classic example of a CEO who has built and maintained a personal brand is Richard Branson. Over the past 50 years of working in business, Branson has achieved what very few businessmen have and has successfully remained the face of Virgin to the point where his name is synonymous with the brand.
So how can a CEO begin to build their personal brand that is both separate but supportive of their business?
Understand your personal brand
To be able to begin developing your personal brand, you first need to understand what that brand is and try to keep it separate from your company to differentiate it. What strengths do you possess? What motivates you? Why do these qualities make you unique and authentic?
To show a truly genuine brand you need to show your passion and drive for your business. You need to focus on what stimulates your passion, how can that drive your brand? What excites you? What do you want everyone to know?
Show your value, passion and authenticity
There are many ways to prove your value and worth as a CEO. Many people try to downplay their previous achievements but as a leader of industry, chances are you have a lot of success to shout about.
You should be showing off your expertise by spreading your knowledge over social media to everyone who is willing to listen and learn.
If you gain the trust of your customers and the general public, they will have more faith in the knowledge you have and are more likely to follow your personal social channels.
To drive a personal brand you need to drive content that represents your passion, authenticity and value together as one.
Consistency is key
As with the branding of your business, keeping things consistent is key. You have to make sure all your Social accounts are consistent in name, tone of voice and style. Just like any brand they should have the same design and layout, so as not to cause confusion. This can also help improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on Google!
Even if you don’t plan on starting to develop your personal brand straight away, it’s a good idea to claim your name on all platforms you might consider using in the future, you will regret it when you get stuck being called ‘Richard8Tucker123’…
Show your personality
A key to driving your personal brand and making it separate to that of your company is to show your personality. This can be done by creating the right tone of voice. Once you have figured out the right tone of voice that reflects your personality, it is time to create content that incorporates this voice to make sure your brand is recognised as personal to you.
Creating a brand is similar to writing a story. A boring story won’t attract and retain readers, but stories brimming with personality can. Therefore when forming a personal brand, the ability to convey a professional, yet personal feel is key.
Personal detail that can be included can range from certain achievements, extra curricular activities to charity fundraising you do.
Test driving your brand
Once you feel you have finished creating a presentable and unique personal brand, the next step is to have your trusted colleagues, friends and family to provide feedback and input. When they provide feedback on your brand, it is crucial to ask them if the tone is reflective of yourself?
It is paramount to receive honest opinions and true feedback on your brand as this will only help in the long run and strengthen your brand in areas you didn’t think needed it.
Maintaining your brand
Once you’ve spent a few weeks developing your personal brand, thinking of ways that you can stand out and have received valuable feedback from those around you. What’s next? One of the keys to having your own brand is to maintain it so it doesn’t become stale or out of date.
Keeping a flow of fresh content is fundamental in keeping your brand alive and engaging. The last thing you want to do is fall into the trap of trying to rehash the same old information or, even worse, completely ignoring the brand you’ve worked so hard to develop.
Just because you have “launched” your brand to the public, doesn’t mean you can’t refine and polish as you go along. You may think of new ways you stand out or what makes you different. It’s important your brand continues growing and evolving with you and your business.
Safwan Hak is the founder of 9Sharp.