Welcome to the “CEO Series”. Here, we talk about how entrepreneurs learn to become great CEOs, as the greatest technology companies in history, most often than not, are led by people like them.
To fast-growing enterprises that are working to improve the rate of expansion, other than working on making the enterprise and product brand made known to the public, CEOs owning and sustaining a good personal brand is a strategy that has high leverage.
The greatest reward comes from being able to help you win over better suppliers, access, investors and other partners. When your subscribers and your business grow stronger, you will need to move to the upstream of the food chain in cooperative enterprises. An influential CEO brand in the industry will help in this situation. Other than the door-to-door sales method and increasing the other party’s inclination to cooperate with you, it could even attract high-quality partners who share the same values to approach you.
The other obvious reward is talents, especially high-level managers who have plenty of experience in the industry. These kinds of people often already have success, and they don’t lack opportunities to choose from. For them to give up many of the more stable possibilities and to work with you, it would take both the enterprise brand, and also the CEO’s personal brand, beliefs and values to be a decisive influence on the matter.
Of course, where there is action, there is reaction. The risk of CEOs managing their personal brand, other than saying something wrong, causing a PR crisis and making enemies in the industry for not sharing the same values with them, the worst thing is when the CEO brand becomes too successful as it would be very damaging if you have to leave the company in the future.
Brand Visibility Does Not Equal To Target Audience
In order to manage a CEO brand well, the first thing to do is to establish the specific audience – potential customers, communities in the industry, talents; these are all fine choices. Establishing the wrong audience, or relying too much on your reputation to optimize your brand, are some mistakes beginners tend to make.
Unless what you want is to become a star (note: as in performer), being known by everyone usually is not the best strategy as chances are you would lose depth while pursuing width. That way you wouldn’t be able to extend your influence to audiences that are more worthwhile.
Using Right Channels
Regarding the options for using the right channels, besides traditional media and public relations, your personal Facebook profile, books that you publish, and even YouTube, are some of the options that you could consider using. For those who like to write articles, they do not have to confine themselves to their weblogs, for there are now online media sites that are open for opinion leaders to express themselves. These too are platforms that could be used.
Establishing Brand Image
Now that we have dealt with using the right channels and targeting the right audience, what comes next is the impression that you want the CEO brand to leave them with. Be it smart, sincere, warm, witty, having good taste, having opinions, always a step ahead of the market, resourceful, making remarkable progress, or dealing with things in a matter-of-fact manner, caring for the society; these are all possible qualities, and the path should be chosen with much thought and prudence.
That “One Thing”
In addition to the qualities, if you have your “one thing”, which is a change you promote over a long time, then it surely would attract people with similar minds – for example, Bill Gates’ recent one thing has been to eradicate Polio, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent one thing has been to bring Internet access to everyone, and my one thing (of course, the influence of my brand is far weaker than theirs) is to promote Taiwan to become the world’s first class Internet settlement.
Of course, when you have placed yourself in that position, there will be people who will challenge your point of view. Humans are not perfect, and therefore the brand will not be either. In the face of criticism, apologize and correct yourself if the criticisms have credit. And if it doesn’t, thank the person for the suggestion as well as for his time. The point is, going through this would allow you to practice the important lesson of being kind to others.
Just like all other brands, personal brand too, needs iteration. It is very important too that you talk to your audience occasionally and make sure the impression you impart on them is what actually you wish to.
Lastly, in all sincerity, allow me to remind us, that in these many things to take note of and the many works to do, still the best strategy is to just be yourself. Playing the personality that is not who you really are in order to reach a short-term goal is difficult to maintain. Of course, if you discover your own shortcomings in the course of all this and it makes you a better you, then this investment would become even more worthwhile.
This article is originally written by Jamie Lin, a well-published author based in Taiwan. The article is translated from Chinese by Loh Sin Yee and is reproduced here with permission. Images were added into the article for visual purposes.