Executive leaders, including chief financial officers, CMOs, and CEOs are now expected to actively and personally align with the mission and vision of their organizations.
Their core values, as well as the factors behind the decisions and activities they take part in, are now part of their personal brand and influence.
Because of the public nature of their roles, many executives are also key opinion leaders, also known as KOLs. This means their views are often interwoven with the corporate brand.
To shareholders and key stakeholders, KOLs often represent corporate stability. A key opinion leader can make or break a deal, influence stock prices, and either create positive or negative opportunities for media coverage.
When leaders build a strong personal brand, it can generate:
• Brand trust
• Authenticity of message
• Strengthen the corporate brand
• Attract partnerships
These intangible factors are essential elements for a successful organization.
Are you looking to refine or define your personal brand, but aren’t sure where to start? Below are five ways you can begin building your personal brand right now!
Step 1 – Build Your Personal Brand Story
Your backstory and why you do what you do are two critical pieces in building your personal brand. Consider the following questions to create a compelling story that customers or clients will want to connect with.
• How often do I reflect on what I do and the impact I’m able to make for others?
• How do I do those things in a way that is different from others in my industry or brand category?
• What makes these activities successful?
Next, think about the values that matter most to you, by asking:
• What are my key values and what do I refuse to negotiate on from a personal or business perspective?
• Am I willing to stick to these values, even when I am under pressure?
• As an owner, what would I be willing to turn down business over?
The answers to these questions will reveal your values. Values, when articulated, will become the core attributes of your personal brand, also known as your non-negotiables.
Step 2 – Use Media to Position as An Authority
One of the most effective ways for C-suite leaders to strengthen their personal brand and build authority is by becoming a go-to source for media.
This can set an executive apart from others in their industry like competitors, and position them as a thought leader and expert.
It’s important for leaders to both write and speak well, so practice in both areas is critical.
Media mentions are also valuable from a sales and brand awareness perspective. As a leader is interviewed or asked for comments, many media outlets may include both a mention of the company and a link back to the corporate website.
This builds brand ranking on search engines like Google, and may lead customers to discover your organization!
Step 3 – Show Thought Leadership Through Content
Building thought leadership as a personal brand authority also comes from content positioning. This is not done in a self-promotional way, but rather with an eye on how you can best serve your ideal customers.
Leaders can do this through virtual and in-person interactions, starting with their own unique content.
A personal blog or active LinkedIn profile can be a great place to share thought leadership and ideas. You can also offer to guest post on relevant blogs, deliver keynote speeches, or offer free webinars on your topic of expertise.
The key here is regular, consistent communications with the public.
Step 4 – Track and Celebrate Wins
Thought leaders need to track their wins, not only to qualify their current role but also to justify greater roles within the company.
That means making time to analyze your skills, your results, and the organizational impact you’re making in the business.
A strong personal brand leader will also celebrate team and company successes, publically acknowledging the work of others. This can be done through social media, as well as on corporate blogs and internal networks.
Step 5 – Ensure Your Online Presence Reflects Personal Brand Leadership
Thought leaders need to stay top of mind with their circle of influence, as well as clients and customers. One way to do this is by using business networks like LinkedIn.
Linkedin is a free or low-cost way to keep personal brands top-of-mind with other thought leaders and key opinion persons around the world.
If a CFO or financial officer wants a CEO role, for example, she/he needs to surround themselves with other thought leaders, so that they will appear to be a worthwhile candidate.
NOTE: Personal profiles should also be completely filled out and optimized, as media and podcast hosts use LinkedIn to vet guests as sources and for topic interviews.
An active, engaged profile will position you as an ideal source, and help you grow as a thought leader and personal brand.
Would you like professional help to craft the right message and strategy for your personal brand? Contact our team at VIP@fkint.com to schedule a discovery call today!