27 March 2017
This Time, it’s Personal
Last month we mentioned that the top trend for 2017 in B2B Marketing is about the customer experience. Continuing the theme, the second trend for 2017 is: Executive Branding. The relationship between individuals, the purchaser and the seller, is increasingly important and the more the two can relate to one another, the greater the chance of success. It’s the old know, like and trust maxim....
Although it may seems at first glance that this approach is in conflict with the top trend of customer experience, it can actually be hugely complimentary, as we will see.
Let’s look at what executive branding is first. Essentially this is all about the position of the company executive (in some cases spokesperson), as the representative of the company. We all know leading global executives like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Elon Musk, and these figureheads represent their companies value through and through, strengthening the brand values of their respective companies.
Leaders are experts, experts are leaders
Now we don’t all have to rise to the level of mega-fame that the aforementioned foursome have achieved (thank goodness), but the principle still applies regardless of the level one operates at. More often than not either the company founder, or a current executive, is a leading expert in their chosen field, it is often the reason why they are in the position they are in, and this expertise may well be a deciding driver in the decision making process for a lot of people.
A recent example that we utilised recently, was putting Jim Morris, the founder and Managing Director of Lifeline Fire & Safety Systems, forward for an interview on driver safety in motorsport. Jim has been involved in motorsport for his entire career, and with fire suppression his passionate chosen field, driver safety has been a driving motivator for Jim for the last 25 years. Clearly, with his amount of experience and expertise, his views on driver safety are hugely relevant and respected, and in his interview, Jim lived and breathed all the company values that Lifeline has been built on.
Grant Wickes, an executive branding specialist, has been quoted as saying “Senior executives must create and develop their personal brand. Buyers want to know the ‘why’ and trust the leaders behind the companies they do business with.” So by having a company executive in a visual role, he or she can create a halo-effect that reflects back positively on the company. If you respect someone, like the way they do things and recognise their expertise, you are more included to do business with them, and therefore their company.
With social media (especially, in this context, LinkedIn and Twitter), video and more traditional PR approaches of interviews and public speaking the opportunity for executives to build their personal brands has never been greater, and your company executives should be engaging with this strategy, if they aren’t already.
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