Branding the Boss

Is NASCAR a sport? Some might say so – some might not. Bear with me for a moment if you are the latter and let’s think about the cars in the Daytona 500 for a moment. Every individual car has it’s own engine makeup, sponsors providing funds and a skilled pit crew. Much like a marketing team. However, there is one big difference between the different cars – the drive. In biz, the CEO is the driver.

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Whether you’re the boss or not, CEO branding can be leveraged as one of the most compelling points of your biz. Think about it – who to better aspire to be like, or to relate to than the boss! When you get the message right and it’s directed to your audience, you have a huge opportunity to win. You’re going to have to use a strategic blend of thought leadership demonstrated through social media accounts, speaking engagements, publishing and great PR. All you have to do is figure out how the CEO brand maps to the company brand and how you can get in front of the target market. Better yet, accessing the target audience at a fraction of the cost of the rest of your marketing budget.

Remember that whole thing about human-to-human connections? Oh yeah, that’s right! People connect to people. It’s not enough to just offer business-to-consumer, or business-to-business anymore. Human connection is influential in building trust and this will make your brand unstoppable. Seeing your CEO as a thought leader provides value to your audience and when done correctly, CEOs can still be organic and sincere while still being on-brand.

What are the other benefits to branding the boss? Driving top-line revenue, developing a new branch or new company and building a legacy. Let’s examine a couple of real-world examples.

Did Elon Musk come to mind when reading this? If you are anywhere on Instagram or interested in tech, you’re bound to see Mr. Musk and his content. His name is associated with innovation and his company, Tesla Motors. Tesla hardly had any advertising budget when starting out and other car makers do the exact opposite. However, Tesla has an incredibly successful brand. Musk was a big factor in this – he’s leverage social media, product unveilings and even sent a car into space. The trust and awareness that he built was done in so little time that it didn’t even matter that he introduced a disruptive idea (the electric car). Because of his successful branding, Tesla was met with less market resistance than they normally would have been and had fewer upfront expenses along with greater earnings.

Lori Greiner was just an occasional guest on Shark Tank. Pretty soon, her hard negotiations and business savvy decisions let her to earn the respect of her fellow sharks and be a regular on the show. She’s now known as the Queen of QVC and the warm-blooded shark. Her brand was built up to the point that entrepreneurs want to work with her, distributors want to sell her products and consumers want to invest in and trust in her. Obviously, this all led to better equity on deals, increased distribution and a jump in sales.

Some ideas for branding your boss… You can rebrand an individual with the use of a simple one-liner that captures who they are. That single saying should be everywhere on your social platforms – LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, etc. Try typing the boss’ name into Google and see what pops up – if the boss owns any of those webpages, make sure that they are on-brand and shouting the headline you’ve chosen. Three to seven words is plenty.

Reputations aren’t built overnight – they come from consistent and memorable impressions. You should always try to provide value to others instead of just pitching a sale. Make referrals that help people grow their biz, or offer them advice just to help them out. Not everything in biz needs to be tit for tat.

Are you a CEO trying to build your brand? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear your insight.

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