4 Ways CEOs Can Effectively Build Their Personal Brands

As a CEO, you have a lot on your plate. All of the responsibilities in front of you make thinking about anything other than the company seem downright impossible. Furthermore, thinking about yourself and your own career can seem like a ludicrous proposition. But that’s exactly what forward thinking CEOs do – they think about themselves from time to time.

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4 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

Regardless of whether you anticipate staying in your current role until retirement, or feel weary about your future with the company, it’s imperative that you build your own personal brand. Not only does brand building open up future job opportunities, but it also exposes you to things like paid speaking engagements, book deals, and industry recognition.

Not sure where to start? Consider the following techniques and strategies for building a personal brand:

1. Be Yourself

When most people talk about personal branding, they inadvertently begin to mold themselves into someone they’re not. Usually, this is done to overcome some sort of perceived “shortcoming.” Unfortunately, this rarely works. You have to work with what you’ve got.

Shelly Lazarus, a branding expert at Ogilvy & Mather, hates this “plastic and packaged” aspect of personal branding. “What you do need to pay attention to, however, is style —not just what you say, but how you say it,” Lazarus explains. “People tell me I smile a lot —but I’m strong. I express very clear and forceful opinions, but I try to do it nicely. You don’t have to be mean to be powerful, and you can do anything with charm.

2. Adopt a Brash Personality

Others disagree with the advice that you “just need to be yourself.” One such person is penny-stock guru Tim Sykes, who Bloomberg says fully embraces the role of “Rich Douche Bag.” Fancy sports cars, penthouse suites, beautiful girlfriends…Sykes flaunt his success and people are captivated by it.

“All his marketing makes him look like a jerk,” his own mom told Bloomberg. One of his students reiterated the fact that he’s adopted an in-your-face approach to personal branding saying, “I’ve hung out with Tim when the cameras aren’t rolling, and he’s just a completely different person. When he’s not selling something he’s just a normal guy. The difference is incredible.”

3. Make Sure You’re Engaging

Be yourself and adopt a brash personality – those seem like conflicting tips. Well, they are. But the key is to choose one and stick with it. And whatever strategy you choose, you must engage your audience.

Building a personal brand isn’t about setting up 15 social media profiles, building a website, and writing an occasional blog post. The only way to make your brand thrive is to engage followers and peers in one-on-one situations. Sometimes this happens face-to-face at a conference, while other times it occurs in the form of a social media conversation. Regardless, you must be engaging.

4. Lead the Charge in Your Field

“The most powerful action I can take to define my personal CEO brand is to lead the conversation about the field my company is a part of,” says Ranan Lachman, CEO of Pley. In other words, you want your name to come up every single time a particular topic is discussed in your field – i.e. be seen as a thought leader.

Look Out for Number One

Overall, your business must be your first priority. As CEO, you must help guide your organization in the right direction. However, it would be foolish to ignore your own career. With a platform as powerful and influential as CEO, it’s important that you continue elevating yourself through personal brand building.


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