7 ways CEOs (and only CEOs) can supercharge their company’s brand
As CEO, you’re not an expert in branding, but you are an essential part — perhaps the essential part — of your company’s brand strategy.
Here’s why it’s important, and here’s how to build your brand.
1. Learn the value of brand. Brand is not about logos and colors: It is the instantaneous gut feel people have when they think of you. It is the most valuable real estate in the world: the territory inside your customer’s head and heart. Brand is effective: With a strong brand, sales are faster and easier, you can charge more, and your customers become your champions.
2. Participate in brand development and ask the tough questions. Too often, marketers and product developers focus on what the product is and how it works — specs and features. But customers are only interested in benefits: What’s in it for me?
As CEO, you can ignite the conversation by asking the most important question, again and again: What is the customer’s problem? That’s how you drive your teams to think and talk about benefits and value.
3. Become expert in your company’s brand. You don’t have to be expert in branding theory to be expert in your brand. People will look to you to define the brand.
4. Really work on your elevator pitch. Everyone in the company needs to be able to talk about the company’s unique value proposition with power and clarity. That starts with you: If you have a meandering, varying, muddled elevator pitch, everyone else will, too.
This is not something that happens in a day, or even a month. It takes real work. But once it’s right, it will return value for decades.
5. Evangelize your top leaders. All your executives should be brand ambassadors. Insist that your top people become as articulate a brand owner as you are.
6. Take it on the road. I worked with a CEO who said, “I don’t network much. I know I should.”
He understood that his reluctance was hurting his company. We worked on his message to build confidence and helped him get past the fears and limiting beliefs that kept him from spreading his brand.
7. Make it human. This may be the hardest of all. We may think our companies are about things and profits and performance but you, your employees, your partners, and your customers are people. People relate well when we focus on human values.
That CEO who was reluctant to network? Turns out that he had heartfelt, people-focused core values that were reflected by everyone at the company. Their brand was genuine and clear! When we got to why his company exists, he went out into the world with a message that mattered and that touched people.
You can do that, too, CEO. In fact, you may be the only one who can.