3 Essential Pillars of CEO Personal Branding: Storytelling, Referrals & Trust

Nov 2, 2022 | Referral Network, Storytelling, Trust

Why should CEOs — who already carry the burden of a company’s success in operations, finances, and personnel — care about “personal” branding? Isn’t it enough to establish a credible brand for the company?

No. In fact, a hard “no” — a company brand is not enough anymore.

Not if you want to stand out from or stay ahead of the competition. In an era of at-your-fingertips data and all-access media, people want more than information about a company and an org chart — they want to know about the person who leads it.

Today’s successful CEOs, especially tech CEOs, have found that building a strong personal brand is crucial to achieving their goals — and getting there faster. They know that the more visible they are, the more opportunities will come to them.

These leaders have discovered that developing an authentic personal presence is worthy of their investment. They focus on three foundational pillars:

Pillar #1: Storytelling

Humans are hard-wired to respond to stories, and sharing your personal and professional one is a great way to educate people about who you are and what you’ve accomplished. A well-crafted story gives your audience a multidimensional perspective of your motivation, mission, and methods.

You draw the people who are a good fit to you – customers, partners, investors, and employees — educate them and maintain mindshare. You also waste less time with people who aren’t a fit.

If you aren’t sure how to tell your story, check out How to Fascinate with Stories, which features three foundational elements to think through to tell great stories from master storyteller Stephen Steers. 

Pillar #2: Referrals

Think about your business: How many of your customers, partners, employees, and investors came through referrals? If you’re like most CEOs, the answer is a pretty high percentage.

People like doing business with people they can trust — it reduces risk. And trust takes a giant leap forward when you are referred by someone they already know, like, and trust.

Take time to intentionally build and nurture relationships that can bring you the people, resources, and opportunities you need to grow your business. You’ll make faster progress on your goals with less effort.

As you consider your network, reach beyond your current contacts to interact with industry leaders, prospective clients, and potential investors or board members.

The #1 platform for doing business and 875+ million members strong, LinkedIn is the best place to strategically expand your network and tell your story.

In fact, our clients say that 70%-80% of their opportunities touch their LinkedIn presence.

If getting more referrals sounds good to you, check out How Savvy Leaders Use LinkedIn to Build a Powerful Referral Network.

Pillar #3: Trust

Rarely granted without merit and usually earned over time, trust is an absolutely crucial element of personal branding. People need to see that you are reliable and consistent in order to trust you. Fortunately, engaging on LinkedIn helps you demonstrate those characteristics — and build trust faster.

Endorsements on your profile are an obvious plus, but you can demonstrate your competence and character through thoughtful engagement with your community — by responding and commenting on their posts.

And when you share your opinions on relevant topics in posts or blogs, you build credibility as a thought leader and go-to resource for potential customers, other shareholders, and even the media.

You’ll find more insights on building trust in my post, Three Powerful Ways to Use LinkedIn to Build Trust

The Most Important Work a CEO Does Is Build Trust.

Social media has changed the way people do business. No one takes a meeting or engages with you without looking at your company website or searching online for information about you. Well, at least no one worth meeting with.

What are they finding? An authentic, compelling, and strategic presence? A person who knows what they’re doing, has already achieved milestones, and inspires them to join the journey? Or a definitive lack of information that speaks volumes?


Need Help Building Your Personal Brand?

At ProResource, we help tech CEOs get to their next milestone faster by building a rich, meaningful, and powerful personal brand, centered on LinkedIn. The work is done by experts who know both LinkedIn and the tech industry.

It takes very little of your time — usually 2 hours per month compared to 12-20 hours if you were to try to do it yourself.

It is never too early — or too late — to start building your personal brand. If you’d like to talk specifics, reach out to me on LinkedIn, at jschramm@proresource.com, or book a quick call.

Who else should read this? Please share!

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