Today, branding has become a fundamental part of company strategy and billions of dollar are invested worldwide to make stronger influence among the consumers. The era when brand was limited up to name, slogan and logo have ended. In this new era, brand is what people perceive about a company when they hear its name of thing related to it. There are different aspects of branding.
Companies are now focusing on key elements to build a strong brand where executive branding among them is now emerging thing in the market. What comes in our mind when we hear the names Sundar Pichai, Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella and Anil Keshary Shah? The brands they represent Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft and Nabil Bank respectively hits our mind. This is the result of executive branding. Companies nowadays invest in the branding of the top-level executive more than ever because consumer buys products of those companies when they follow a role model inside a company. This is one of the major points in the success of Indian FMCG giant Patanjali. Different research shows that executive branding boosts performance, reputation, and profitability of the company.
So what exactly is like executive branding? Executive branding is much more than focusing on a single person. It is about building profiles of leaders of the company along with their expertise, personality, and values by aligning them with value of the company. It is about building trust and credibility in the mind of consumers or buyers and to make them believe in the company leaders. It not only removes barriers but makes the company in the top priority for buying or referring someone. The brand of executive and company must be distinct should go parallel.
Today the B2B buyers don’t even agree to meet sales representative. They make their decision just like we do they google and upon reaching official website they will be searching the human faces(executives) they see on the website.
There are different ways to build a strong executive brand. It is all about establishing connections between buyers and company via company leaders brand. Following are the ways to build a strong executive brand:
Proper monitoring and analysis of company should be done. Online audit is must for brand strategy. We cannot find out what should be done until we find out what people think of our brand. The first and foremost thing required is to find out how people perceive the name, whether they take it positive, negative or neutral.
Establish a positive online presence
After the result of a brief online analysis, we will be able to find out the image of people towards the company name. We will be knowing about the things from what people have posted, their feedback and response. The next thing to do is to replace all old profile pictures and avatars. Remove all information that has no relevance to current position. The content remaining should be relevant to the image and vision of the company, professional enough, consistent everywhere.
Thought leadership through content
Thought leadership is not only about leading through content or building high level of trust in your audience or consumer but also taking the thinking of industry at higher level. There are different ways to do it so. There are ways of delivery of the content to the right audience. Since majority of consumers are on the internet, publishing content in social media is one the best ways to do it. Since people, today do not take Facebook seriously. LinkedIn becomes the best place to publish it. Going to networking events. Engaging with people is another way to do it. Another most influential and best way to do is to speak at events. Speaking at events not only align you with industry experts but also increases the visibility of the company.
Building a strong social media presence
Everyone today wants to be as social as possible in social media. Social media helps to find out the key influencer of the industry. It also helps to present different perspective about the company by sharing with people what usually they don’t see. It helps to interact with the other thought leaders. For this, executives need to share and comment on relative content posted by other thought leaders or influencers. Promoting own content all time should not be avoided. The executives should be authentic while sharing own passion, ideology, and hobbies.
These are best ways for executive branding. Executive branding is cost-effective with low-risk way of creating brand awareness and building strong company reputation. To make an effective brand strategy a strong team is indeed important.
By: Ajay Pandey