Top down isn’t just a leadership strategy it’s also a branding strategy. Though we typically refer to the top tier of the c-suite as a CEO, the acronym could easily be exchanged for CBA (Chief Branding Ambassador).
So much of a company’s overall reputation is attributed to the personal brand of its chief. Talent and client acquisition depend on it. Investors take notice of it. It even helps brands distinguish from the competition and solidifies their company values.
Whether as part of an overall brand rediscovery or an effort to drive sales, we recommend implementing these CEO branding tactics as part of your marketing plan.
Employer Branding in the Age of Transparency
There’s a reason why sites like Glassdoor and Yelp exist. Our industry is a review-driven culture. Potential employees, clients, or investors know this and can turn up a staggering amount of info with just a few clicks.
But this forced transparency doesn’t have to negatively impact your business. Your client-facing communications can encourage conversation and steer the dialog in your favor. What you may not realize is how ‘loud’ the social media profiles of your executive brand truly are.
While your marketing team focuses on your brand’s external messaging, it needs to be supported by the CEO’s online presence. If that’s been neglected or nonexistent thus far, time to start nurturing it.
Social Media and Company Reputation
Social media is making it harder and harder to divest a CEO’s reputation from the company’s reputation. Your executive leadership’s words have weight. People are always watching and listening, or at the very least, researching.
Here’s where social CEOs can make a big difference.
Through personal branding, your executive leadership can show how the company brand is reflective of their values. Take Tom’s give a pair, get a pair model as an example. With this 1/1 approach, Chief Shoe Giver, Joan Blake, has solidified his brand with generosity and philanthropy. Their company upholds a reputation of giving back to communities in need.
Similarly, Globe Runner CEO, Eric McGehearty, an MFA holding, award-winning artist, runs a digital marketing agency that doubles as an art gallery. He also uses his unique point of view as a dyslexic artist, entrepreneur and consultant to national non-profits to serve as an advocate for people with learning disabilities. These have helped shape the GR brand and bring their value-based marketing to the forefront.
Steps for Online Reputation Management
Now that we’ve established CEO reputation management as mandatory, here are some tangible next steps for how to manage your company reputation online.
- Register a website with your name. If you don’t get to it first, someone else might. And less scrupulous types could use it to tarnish your image.
- Get personal URLs on social media. Repeat after us, “vanity URLs aren’t vain.” Key social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will allow you to personalize their domains with your name embedded in the web address. It’s an important step in solidifying your personal brand.
- Pay attention to search engine results. Set up a Google Alert that sends an email to yourself or someone on your team anytime your name is mentioned online. Monitor who’s saying what and insert yourself into the conversation when you don’t like where it’s headed. Don’t be shy about posting replies on reviews and comments. The more proactive and solution-oriented you appear, the better. Use your full, real name and double check that grammar before you post!
- Create positive content to counter negative comments. Of course, you want positive content about your CEO to turn up in search results. Plus, when undesirable or inaccurate articles come out, positive content is the best way to take away their power and push them off their first-page ranking. Publishing updated blog posts and company news is a good start. Remember that social media profiles will also populate first, so utilize those to their full extent. Don’t forget to update your CEO headshots and photo uploads, too!
Truth is, with one simple post, a poor customer experience or begrudging comment can reverberate across any number of social media platforms, taking your brand down with it. As the lines between company and CEO reputations begin to blur, CEOs have an ever-increasing impact on brand experiences.
Need a little help shaping your Executive Brand? Let us do the sculpting