Executive branding involves developing a personal brand for CEOs and established executives or business owners. The goal for this type of branding is to get the CEO of a company to the forefront in order to leverage more revenue under the owner’s image and online presence.
This type of branding is a little bit more profound than your typical personal brand. When you’re just starting out with your business, you’ll want to define your brand messaging and aesthetic, but as a founder, your brand might already be established.
And that could be a problem.
A founder of a startup probably focused their marketing on the company product or service. Before, personal branding may have seemed tedious or unnecessary. But now that consumers are demanding the unfiltered presence of company CEOs, the concept of executive branding is more important now than ever before.
Why CEOs need to Consider Executive Branding
Ten years ago when I first help develop the branding for Online Profile Pros, we focused on the customer wants rather than the benefits our business had to offer. We thrived on client testimonials, social proof, and our product before and after images to help drive revenue back into our business.
Back then, this is all a company needed to do to see success. Nowadays, however, I’ve noticed a significant change in the value of the business’ brand and how our new customers are responding to it.
This is probably because “82% of customers trust a company when their senior management members are active on social media.”
This means that even with a decades’ worth of client reviews, it’s not enough for our new customers. They want reviews from real people that they know (influencers) or they want to know the CEO well enough to trust in their business.
Here’s How I Increased My Company’s Sales with Personal Branding
Thankfully, I had built up my social media presence as a lifestyle blogger and professional entrepreneur parallel to building OPP. That’s why now if you go look on Online Profile Pros’ website, you’ll see my image and my name.
Because I’m an established authoritative figure in personal branding, I can lead my followers to my business, or newcomers will be able to Google my name and see that when it comes to branding —well— I know what I’m talking about.
So now that business (along with my executive branding business, Stratus Branding) has a clear and personable CEO right up front and center. Someone who is continuously displaying their expertise on social media and through blogs and someone that new customers can grow to like, know, and trust without exclusive need to monitor influencer or client reviews.
As a CEO, my personal brand holds value. When CEOs are willing to put their own image on the line in the name of their company, consumers are also willing to fork out their hard-earned dollars.
So if you’re a CEO, an executive, or a startup founder—listen up. This is how you’re going to skyrocket your brand recognition.
5 Tips for Executive Branding
Suffice to say that it’s time to get your name and face on the front of your business. Neil Patel, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ali Brown are all great examples of entrepreneurs who have built multiple brands around their name and persona alone.
Executive branding can help increase the revenue of your current business, but it also gives you leverage to increase profits with multiple brands and businesses. Once you’re built up your personal brand, you can use that to sell pretty much anything and everything that see fit to endorse.
As I mentioned, I rejuvenated my existing 10-year brand by bringing my personal brand into marketing. It’s also how I market my bespoke branding business, Stratus Branding. In my recent rebrand blog, I divulged how doing this not only made landing clients easier but meant marketing takes less time. All of my businesses are centered on the same, unwavering values and beliefs— my own personal brand statement.
If I wanted to, I could start an additional 3 more companies and I am confident they’ll see the same level of success as my other two companies.
You don’t need to be a household name in order for this to happen. You just need to be present.
So, here’s how you can do that.
5. Analyze Your Existing Brand
Do you have any form of social media? If so, it’s time to put everything on private until you work with an executive branding strategist.
I offer brand analysis for my fast-track branding clients, but at Stratus Branding we go a little bit more in-depth for our executive clients.
On top of helping you decide whether or not you need to start your personal brand from scratch, we also provide personal & AI analysis of the best imagery to use for your personal brand.
From there, we’ll usually recommend a personal brand photoshoot. We’ll have a personalized wardrobe stylist at your disposal, and we offer full photoshoot coordination and strategy to make you feel comfortable.
If your current social media is filled with hundreds of grainy photos that don’t speak to your professional goals and mindset, then we’ll recommend that you start your marketing from scratch.
Your photos are an important part of maintaining that professional image, so we’ll make sure that we have regular photoshoots is (usually about once per quarter).
4. Know Your End Goal
When you’re the founder of a company, your initial goal is to see your company succeed. If your company progress has stalled or you’re looking to reach that next level of success, that’s where executive branding will need to be implemented.
That’s why you need to consider what your ultimate end goal is. Are you looking to get more investors for your current startup? An investor’s decision weighs heavily on their perception of the CEO. So if they can’t find you through a quick Google search, they’re immediately going to be less interested.
What if your goal is to start booking speaking engagements at industry conventions? If you expect to be invited to these,, then you need to be relatively well-known. And you won’t be if you’ve spent the last few years only marketing your business brand.
Paid speaking gigs are a whole other ball game. If you want the opportunity to step up to bat, you’re going to have to show up to practice. What I mean is— you need to show up online.
As an executive, you’re going to be expected to showcase your industry knowledge before someone will pay you to talk about it. Going Live on social media, producing free YouTube videos, and hosting webinars online is going to do a lot to get your foot in the door.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a million-dollar company— if your personal brand isn’t visible, nobody is going to pay you to come to their event.
What about book deals? If your end goal is to write your own autobiographical novel, publishers want to know it will sell. If you have an established presence, it will take a lot less work to sign with a literary agent and get that book deal.
3. Map Out a Content Marketing Strategy
Where can we go from here?
It’s time to optimize your social media profiles.
This is where I (and my two companies) really shine. We help you utilize platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to get your name out there. We’ll decide on the best platforms for you to use based on your niche and your industry and we’ll map out your content marketing strategy from there.
You’re a CEO— you don’t have time to be on social media. That’s why you need to hire someone to do it for you. You’ll need a company that can provide consistent social media posting, content creation, and consumer engagement.
Better still, you’ll want to be sure that the content that has your name attached to it aligns with your personal brand statement. In other words, you’ll want to know that the content that’s being implemented into your executive branding aligns with your beliefs and provides value for your audience.
The more free information you put on social media, the more followers you’ll get, and the easier it will be to build your authority and influence.
RELATED: What Is Social Media Branding?
2. Have a Website
Despite what online influencers may lead you to believe, you need more than just a social media presence.
You need your own website.
Your website will be able to strictly define your niche so that the press, investors, and customers can recognize you as the go-to expert.
Our client, Jonathan Hung, for example, has steadily climbed to be a recognizable Los Angeles angel investor.
In just 6 months!
With his own social media content, website, and SEO blogs, he’s now getting industry recognition with speaking and press opportunities.
Again, you’ll need to have monthly strategy calls with your executive branding strategist if you want to make sure your ideas are being presented in your website content. Your blogs should be a place where you can express your views as a thought leader.
With SEO blogs, Google can passively build your brand name and recognition. If you’re a business coach, for example, what words of phrases do you think people type into Google to get answers about entrepreneurship? And who’s website shows up when people type their inquiries about business building into Google?
Is it you— the expert business coach? Because it should be.
Honestly, there’s really no point in having a blog without keyword research. That’s why I always do a monthly SEO Audit with continued improvements to your website to fix errors. I also optimize your personal brand and SEO through strategic monthly keyword research.
1. Build Connections
If you’re an experienced executive, you probably know that it’s all about who you know.
But with executive branding, it becomes who knows you.
You may have built up your sphere of influence as a business owner, but you haven’t reached industry recognition quite yet.
And that’s because your connections are limited to your current circle.
You need to build connections outside of that circle.
The only way to really do that is through full executive branding. Let’s say you’re chatting with a reporter on Twitter in hopes that they’ll feature you in an upcoming article. If the conversation is going well, that reporter will probably look you up.
If that reporter can’t find a website that is all about you as a CEO or they only find one unimpressive Instagram account, they’re not going to put much stock into your conversation— no matter how well it may be going.
But, if they find something in their search and see all the of the insight you’ve already offered, they’re going to pitch you their feature idea immediately.
Besides having a PR strategy to get on journalists’ radar, you want to make sure the industry leaders, conference hosts, and even your customers know who you are. You can build connections with all of these people simply by engaging with them on social media. Then, you can point them to your videos and blog content to really cement your image as the go-to expert in your market.
Executive branding is meant to provide CEOs with opportunities beyond their startup or company. If this sounds like the next big move you want to make, great!