Excerpts Quoted from India Today
Take a look at this: according to a study done in the US by Burson-Marsteller with 1,400 key corporate executives and their critical audiences, the CEO’s reputation represents 45 per cent of a company’s reputation; 95 per cent of analysts buy a stock based on the CEO’s reputation; 94 per cent of analysts would recommend a company’s stock based on the CEO’s reputation, 81 per cent of the respondents said they would believe a company under pressure based on the CEO’s reputation, and 80 per cent would recommend a company as a good place to work for based on the CEO’s reputation.
That a company’s most powerful brand may, in fact, be its CEO has been known to consummate marketers abroad for a long time now. Consider Bill Gates. His studied nerdy image, accentuated by unkempt hair and ordinary oval spectacles, has been perpetuated in meetings after meetings with media, analysts, shareholders, and customers. The message: our top-most man is a software whiz himself, and when you buy any of our products, it has his personal stamp. The pr machine at the world’s most valuable company, General Electric (GE), works tirelessly to let out carefully chosen bits of information to build CEO Jack Welch’s aura. How Welch, while pulling through the now unsuccessful Honeywell deal, works virtually through a weekend, checks in for a scratched cornea, but still makes it to the first game of the World Series baseball at New York’s Yankee stadium. GE’s point: our organisation, including the head honcho, delivers, but, hey, we also know how to have fun. Any surprise then that GE is the world’s most admired company?
How To Build Brand CEO
In an era of growing product brand clutter, companies are realising that the most potent way of integrating and drawing customer attention is by creating a ”short cut” via the CEO brand. Here’s how to go about it.
1 THE SELF: The first step in the process of building Brand CEO must begin with these questions: Who am I? What is my corporation? What is my competitive environment, including rival CEO brands? The kernel of Brand CEO must be true to the personality core. Else, the brand will implode.
2 THE IMAGE: Once the corporate and CEO brand ingredients have been blended, the positioning for Brand CEO must be determined. The positioning must not be at the cost of the corporate or product brands.
3 THE MESSAGE: To minimise dissonance in brand portfolio, the CEO brand must communicate in sync with the corporate mission. Besides, he must amplify core values that all the brands collectively wish to communicate to stakeholders.
4 THE PROMISE: A corporation is not just about its present. Its value is also a function of future expectations. Brand CEO must, then, work to keep his constituents-internal and external-engaged all the time. But he must not ”talk up” the value.
5 THE ETERNITY: In the end, the institutional brand must outlive every successive CEO brand. Therefore, while every new CEO brand must add to the core corporate brand, it must not endanger its perpetuity by becoming too powerful