When I began Elevato and Associates, in January 2017, I realized that the CEO’s personal brand is very important, as they are the brand ambassadors of the organisation. Many CEOs feel, when it comes to branding, the organisation is separate from theirs.
This is far from the reality as the CEO’s brand equity is closely tied to the corporate brand because it has the power to make or destroy an organisation’s brand.
At Elevato and Associates, we believe a CEO should have a strong personal brand, a good example in Nigeria is Dangote who also uses his name to brand his businesses. He has a strong brand equity in Nigeria, Africa and globally. We are all witnesses to the continued growth of his business empire.
He is trusted, has strong ethics, values and principles, making him attractive to investors, his employees and the government. He is known to deliver on his promises and is important to the Nigerian economy. These positive attributes tremendously drive up his personal brand equity.
At Elevato and Associates, we teach our clients the importance of protecting their CEO’s brand. All CEOs must make it mandatory to protect and upgrade their personal brands because they are the face of the organization, usually are the first point of contact and the giver of the organisations message to the outside world. Karen Tiber Leland, a branding expert says, “All CEOs have the daily opportunity and obligation to build their personal brand in service of their own and their corporation’s reputation”.
Their brands need to be impeccable and highly rated, otherwise, they can destroy the organization’s brand, which translates to reduced patronage and growth. People trust the person first before the organization – individuality and authenticity are key.
Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Aliko Dangote, are such well-known brands that I do not have to tell you the name of the organisations they represent. They:
- Demonstrate the values and principles of their organisations internally and externally
- Attract clients, customers and employees
- Have industry leadership or are experts which rubs off positively on their organisations
- Have the ability to negate reputational issues because they are trusted – trust is intrinsic to personal branding
- Have appropriate pedigree for their industry – technical knowledge, ability to relate, charismatic and polished
The above are key personal brand attributes of a CEO. My advice to CEOs is that they must protect and promote their brands to showcase their authenticity and individuality which drives up their brand equity. Doing so, should it be positive, will help their organisations grow exponentially.
Dear CEOs, do not be casual about your personal brand, it is extremely important!
– Marie-Therese Phido is the Chief Executive Officer of Elevato and Associates. She is a Sales & Market Strategist and Business Coach.