“The following article was published on April 25, 2011 by Dan Schawbel and is included The Personal Branding Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 4: The CEO Brand – What it Takes to be a Leader.”
Build it with Authenticity and Transparency
Throughout my career, I have discovered first-hand that CEOs, business leaders, managers, job hunters, teachers, students and everyone in between should understand that every word they speak, blog or tweet about can help or hurt their brand. Researching CEOs who blog turned out to be tougher than I thought. CEOs are either constrained, can’t write or are afraid of exposing themselves. (Thanks to Debbie Weil, noted author and speaker on corporate blogging, for that insight.) Through Debbie, I discovered Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and current Chairman of Case Foundation and Revolution. Steve tells his story in an authentic, transparent way that is interesting, insightful and inspiring. You can get to know Steve and learn about his cool Zipcars while on Twitter. Not bad for 140 characters or less.
Business Storytelling and Storytelling – There’s a Difference!
If you are like me, you’ve been following Gary Vaynerchuk since before the saying “Crush it!” became mainstream. You might also have similar goals of attending a real TED conference. Most likely, you also know the real back-story behind Steve Jobs’ rise to success. You might even know that Richard Branson wasn’t an accounting genius. And, you probably know that Johnny Cupcakes’ real last name isn’t Cupcakes.
We want to hear great stories. We want to know that the people around us are real. And we want to experience a meaningful life with others. Websites like Facebook and Facebook’s smarter brother, Linkedin give us a chance to hear and tell those stories. Steve Denning, the father of business storytelling, sums it up in two simple phrases: “Tell the Right Story” and “Tell the Story Right.” When you are building your brand as a CEO or even as a job hunter, you have to learn which story to tell and you better learn how to tell it right.
I’ve helped CEOs tell their stories by drafting points for big speeches and conferences, and writing quotes for press releases. But times have progressed, and we’ve grown to expect leader stories on websites, in videos and even on Twitter. There is a burning need for these stories to be authentic and transparent. Here is my strategy for CEOs who want to craft their stories to help build their brand:
- Create a solid vision
- Build a strong culture
- Tell your own story
- Promote, promote, promote
Build Your Brand through Business Storytelling
As a teacher and a marketing consultant, I help people tell their own story – through crafting words, creative visioning, helping to develop a strong corporate culture, and promoting the story over and over. The lesson is simple: Don’t wait until you are a CEO to have a CEO story. Start today. Tell your story anywhere you can. Develop a Twitter strategy that incorporates your brand differentiator. Blog about who inspires you. Deliver an awesome elevator pitch at your next networking event. Are you ready to build your brand through business storytelling?