Given the ease of social media and other online channels, not using the CEO is a lost opportunity to cultivate the company's image in the minds of the media, prospects, and customers.
One of the greatest assets your company has for online marketing is the CEO. Nurturing her personal brand enhances the company's brand. Given the ease of social media and other online channels, not using the CEO is a lost opportunity to cultivate the company's image in the minds of the media, prospects, customers, and other decision-makers.
Do personal branding online right and the result is a big boost to the company's top-of-mind brand awareness, lead generation, and competitive edge, all of which lead to increased sales, market share, and revenue.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the social media initiative of Men's Wearhouse. George Zimmer, the CEO of Men's Wearhouse at the time, was an integral part of the efforts. His commercials were shared by his loyal followers and Men's Wearhouse customers on sites like YouTube, videos on Facebook, and media on the company's Twitter page.
In other words, his personal brand as a dapper, successful business executive supported the company's brand in a meaningful way. And the support was mutual: Zimmer's social media outreach on behalf of the company supported his own personal brand. He was utilized for consistency in the company's online marketing, represented the brand to consumers, and engaged daily with his community of followers.
Whether you're selling suits or widgets, that's what the senior executive needs to do. Some delight in tweeting and blogging themselves; but the tasks can be easily delegated to a staff member or agency team member in an authentic way that delivers the CEO's voice.
(In June, the board of directors terminated Zimmer, seeking to reorient the business to appeal to a younger crowd. But given his strong personal brand and success in engaging online with customers, I think he should have been retained as a spokesperson during the transition. Instead, the acrimony that is now playing out in the press doesn't help the company and its shareholders.)
Beyond the CEO…
Personal branding contributions are not just limited to the CEO. Any member of the executive team with something to say can contribute to industry websites, the blogosphere, Twitter, and all the other online channels.
There also may be staff in the ranks who can be part of your company's online personal branding initiative. Take an inventory and invite everyone to tell you what they're doing online that's relevant to the company and industry - blogs, tweets, Facebook pages, etc. You just may find that you have some terrific "personal branding squad" members who'd be thrilled to contribute to your master plan.
And that's where we begin: with a plan.
What Resources Do You Need?
If you're rolling your eyes, wondering who's going to do all this work: you're right. It does require a team. I work with a broad spectrum of corporations on online personal branding, and believe me, you don't have to be a Fortune 100 to get it done.
Among your current staff and your agencies, you may already have people who can:
As a ClickZ author, I look forward to your comments here.
Here's to your personal brand success.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
Jasmine Sandler is a veteran in online marketing and CEO and founder of Agent-cy Online Marketing, an online branding agency. She has more than 15 years' experience in helping companies use the Web to develop and grow business. Sandler has provided interactive solutions for such clients as Citibank, ISO, Diamonds International, Doublerock Corporation, Loews Hotels, and CityLights Cruises.
Sandler has expertise in the areas of using LinkedIn to grow business, B2B social media marketing strategy, search marketing strategies for sustainable online visibility, website effectiveness for user engagement, and digital strategies for small businesses. She is a published author of Branding & Sales: The LinkedIn Way.
She is a frequent speaker for The Association of Strategic Marketing, The Association of Ghostwriters, ClickZ Live, Small Business Technology, and New York Business Expo and is a contributing writer for ClickZ.com, The New York Enterprise Report, and LinkedIn Original Content.
Sandler holds a dual MBA in Marketing and Technology from the University of Miami and is a very active supporter of LinkedIn and runs several business owner groups on the site. She was previously director of managed data networking sales at IBM Global Services for seven years.
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