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Companies are more influential when their leaders have a personal brand, and Americans say they’re more likely to trust leaders who have made the effort to establish a personal brand.
Leaders, especially in the biopharmaceutical industry, often haven’t established their personal brands or even agreed that they need them.
“An executive brand values and magnifies their unique personalities, perspectives and commitments. It is (the act of) establishing oneself as an expert or opinion leader in the public sphere,” Karen Tiber Leland, author of The brand mapping strategy: design, build and accelerate your brandTold BioSpace.
“Their brand is represented by what they post on social media, their LinkedIn profile, and the content they create, whether it’s podcasts, books, blogs, whitepapers, or presentations.”
Essentially, an executive brand should parallel the corporate brand, enhance it and, therefore, increase the value of the business.
The Benefits of a Strong Personal Brand
The benefits of establishing an executive brand accrue to the business as well as the executive. Research over the years shows that when CEOs maintain a personal brand, their organizations are better able to attract and retain employees and build trust between existing and potential investors and customers, even in the workplace. biopharmaceutical industry.
The ability to expand your influence is another benefit. As an example, Leland mentioned Joshua Peck, founder of TrueCode Capital, a family wealth portfolio manager who developed a cryptocurrency index strategy.
“His LinkedIn profile is up to date and he creates white papers and regular social media content.” When crypto valuations fell recently and crypto exchange FTX Trading’s woes began, Peck was ready, she said.
“His branding was in place. As a result, he was interviewed by Forbes, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, The Guardian and Reuters.” These talks further cemented his position as a thought leader in his industry, but were only possible because he had established a presence before the crisis erupted.
In biopharma, there is always news coming out. “If executives want to talk about this news, they need to have a platform designed for their brand so they can be prepared to be a source for the media,” Leland emphasized.
She advised people to start building their brands immediately after leaving school so that their content is available to potential employers. Later, as they form businesses, “one of the strongest things they can do is create a side brand initially,” she said.
Most people will work for several companies during their career.
Therefore, as Vicki O’Neil, Executive Creative Director, LifeSci Communications said BioSpace, “That means leaders have to come to each of these companies with a set of core values, a personality and a perspective.” These perspectives and values may grow and evolve over time, but “their core brand must remain consistent.”
Many biopharmaceutical executives come from research labs where they focused on science more than personal branding. Nonetheless, “It’s never too late to start,” O’Neil said. “Start by identifying topics that truly embody their brand as well as their company’s brand.”
Deciding what should be in that brand requires strategic thinking. “Understand where you stand on an area of expertise,” Leland advised. For example, “Is your position to start a business in some entrepreneurial way?” Is this some cutting edge science or technology you’re trying to create? »
Other executive brands talk about the concept behind a technology or breakthrough. Bill Gates is a good example. For others, like Elon Musk, personal brand is driven by personality.
No particular type of personal brand is superior, Leland said, as long as your brand is authentic to who you are.
Once you’ve determined your executive brand strategy, find opportunities to speak at conferences, be interviewed in the media, write articles and attend networking events. “Social media is a great tool for inspiring others and engaging large audiences,” O’Neil said, “so plan a regular cadence of posts with a consistent tone of voice and message, and add visual aesthetics to help to build personal brand equity.”
Highlight your individuality
There is a place for personal touches in an executive brand when they can be tied to a business issue. For example, Leland said, “An executive loves sports and often posts about it, with an analogy linking sports to a business vision. This infuses his personality into his brand.
Another is passionate about food, so their reflections sometimes discuss a particular food or restaurant, going deeper into what they learned about that food or place and why it matters, in the context of their brand executive.
“It doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a more personal message over the holidays to remind your audience that you’re human,” O’Neil said, and that you have the same kind of concerns as your audience.
Most importantly, personal and corporate brands are mutually reinforcing. So, “content should be relevant to the company’s goals and mission, and highlight the company in some way,” O’Neil reiterated.
Leland advised treading lightly on controversial topics unless they help your organization in some way and you are truly committed. “No matter which side of an issue you’re on, you’ll alienate someone,” she warned, so bringing your personal, political and social views into your brand can have consequences.
Personally, she said she’s been keeping controversy away from her own personal brand, “but there’s no right answer to that.” The right balance, strategy, and tactics will vary depending on your audience, goals, and markets.
“On social media, you want positive two-way dialogue that really engages your followers,” O’Neil said. Therefore, if people comment, respond to them as if you were in person and dropped by to chat. The frequency of posting depends on the topic and what you have to say. “You don’t want to overwhelm your viewers. I would say one article a week is good.”
“The most important thing, though, is to be consistent and authentic,” O’Neil said. “Don’t try to be someone else, because it’s your unique personality that sets you apart.”
The business environment has changed over the past few years and people care more than ever about what the CEOs and senior executives of companies think.
Still, “executive marks tend to be undervalued, so CEOs and other leaders tend to see it as optional,” Leland said. “The truth is, it’s no longer optional. If you don’t build a personal CEO or leadership brand, you do so at your peril – for your career and your business.