When you are a CEO, you are a brand. Gone are the days where the CEO hides behind the company’s image. It’s not just about your company telling its story in a compelling way, it’s about you also telling your own. Companies are more trusted when their audience feels they know the CEO. Building your personal public image builds your company. If you have a strong personal brand and you leave one company to start another, your audience will be more invested and supportive of what you are going to do next. This means building and maintaining a core audience base by openly relating to your audience and they to you. Let’s take a closer look at why brand building as a CEO or entrepreneur is more important than ever.
1. Build your brand, build your business. A case study of this would be Sophia Amoruso, a self-made entrepreneur who started her career by creating a fashion retailer called Nasty Gal. In tandem with Nasty Gal’s wild success, Sophia ensured her personal brand was front and center via her personal social media presence. Her first book Girlboss was a bestseller, and when Nasty Gal took a turn and went bankrupt, Sofia had her personal brand upon which to fall – even though her first company met its end, her audience still felt they knew her, they loved her and were excited to see what she’d do next. Because of this, when she founded Girlboss Media (a resource for Millenial women to slay in their personal and public lives), she already had a huge foundation audience from her previous ventures.
2. Believe in the goodness of your company and believe in the goodness of others. When you make your passion for your company visible, when you make your belief in others visible, others are more likely to invest in your projects. An early trailblazer for this approach was Dave Thomas , founder of Wendy’s. Being the public and recognizable face for Wendy’s and discussing his passion for his restaurant in his famously warm, charming and folksy style made him a household name. He was also a philanthropist who founded life-changing initiatives for families who adopt (Dave being an adopted child himself). He believed in the goodness of his company and the goodness of others, he let audiences know that and it only grew his company further.
3. Share your experience and knowledge. If you’ve experienced professional success, you’ve already reached a summit many only dream of. If your life wasn’t always a cakewalk, if your climb to the top was riddled with challenges, share that knowledge with the world. Get personal. Career memoirs are devoured by the general public and they have the potential to change an unprecedented number of lives. Many entrepreneurs, CEOs, politicians and entertainers may feel they don’t have the time or skill to write a book. That’s what ghostwriters are for. At least 60% of bestselling non-fiction is currently ghostwritten. The story is still completely your own, a talented ghostwriter will capture your voice, essence and message all while your precious time is devoted to what you do best: growing your business.
4. Publicly support other entrepreneurs and your audience. There’s a misconception about a lot of CEO’s that they’re just in it for themselves. Show that you are an inspired business person by virtue of being inspired. You can do this through your social media platforms: Write posts supporting other brands! Showcase inspiring people! Write posts about your mother, your family, friends or anyone who have helped make you who you are! A great way to do this is by hosting a podcast. A podcast is another way to let your audience know who you are as a personality, and what you care about and why. It’s a platform to use for good – ‘good’ meaning the growth of your own personal brand and as a way to publically shine the light on others all while inspiring your audience.
5. Be real! Part of building your personal brand in an authentic way, as discussed, is disclosing who you actually are as a human being first and a business owner second; disclose more of what you care about and how you got to where you are. An audience appreciates a personality that is human just like them. And it’s guaranteed you are! What do you struggle with? Procrastination? Anxiety? Be open about it. Being open about your specific setbacks will inspire others who suffer from the same things and it will bring a deeply human warmth to your overall brand. When people see you as someone impossibly perfect, it’s not relatable nor is it honest. Being a little more open and vulnerable publically builds authenticity and trust from your audience.
Building your brand as a CEO and entrepreneur can be daunting but it is a very wise decision to ensure your career longevity and success. We’re here to help.
At FFPR, we help CEOs build a compelling personal brand by managing their social media platforms, assisting in content creation (aesthetics, photoshoots and captions), ghostwriting career memoirs, podcast management or any combination of these things.
If you’ve made it as a CEO, you have a story to tell. We are here to honour your story, make it the best it can be and therefore grow your audience while you preserve your precious time for doing what you do best.