A unique voice, a focus beyond products, and a strategic investment in executive profiling can have a transformative effect on business growth and help set forward-thinking organisations apart.
The best executives become synonymous with their brands and earn the status of respected industry thought leaders.
In the age of hyper-connectivity and social media, CEOs and executive leaders must embrace the idea they are no longer just the leaders of their respective organisations but also influential public figures.
By stepping into the limelight with a strong, distinct angle, they have the power to humanise their brand, build credibility and forge stronger connections with customers, stakeholders, and employees alike.
Capturing attention lies in cultivating a distinctive voice but also one that resonates with audiences and sounds authentic. The CEOs and executives who express their thoughts and visions with sincerity and transparency are also those who build the trust and respect of their workforce, investors, and clients.
Here are five tips for building your executives into thought leaders.
1. Defining a personal brand
The personalities of executives come in all shapes and sizes. Before stepping into the spotlight with a thought-leadership platform, it’s essential an executive understands and defines their personal brand and tone of voice.
A personal brand should be rooted in the executive’s own personality, strengths and vision, as well as how they are positioning their role within the organisation’s vision.
Identifying key aspects of the executive’s personal brand helps identify what topics, outlets and opportunities are appropriate for their thought-leadership platform and where their personal style and message delivery will be most effective.
2. Say something new — and execute your message
Executive profiling is much more effective when it’s consistent. Find the topics that are most important to your target audience. Then develop a solid message platform (with one to two key messages) to determine how those topics are discussed externally — from industry or customer challenges to competitive differentiators — and the unique perspective the executive adds to the discussion.
Key messages should always be clear and consistent with supporting talking points or soundbites to match. Whether it’s a keynote address, an op-ed or a media interview, any public remarks from an executive should reflect the central message of their platform, even as the delivery or examples may be tailored to the audience or venue.
3. Know how to share it
It’s now time to focus on delivery. Executives should go through media training with a communications team to refine their delivery skills. In addition to getting comfortable with the key messages, media training also helps executives get comfortable sharing their perspective with a variety of audiences and answering questions about it, resulting in better and more natural conversations.
4. Get out there
Next it’s time to develop a robust visibility campaign through proactive media pitches, bylines, rapid response, paid content, events and social media platforms. Leverage breaking news stories, data and other timely hooks to connect their insights to relevant trends and issues. Write op-eds that showcase new and divergent thinking. Pitch to journalists with a fresh perspective. Use keynotes and panels to start conversations and engage audiences in discussion and use the company’s owned channels to supplement media coverage with content such as blog posts and videos that feature executives talking on the subject.
5. Stay engaged
Executive profiling is a marathon, not a sprint — and building credibility and visibility takes time and effort. Ideally, if the campaign is successful, reporters will eventually come to an organisation’s executives directly seeking comment and perspective on an issue. In the meantime, stay engaged in finding strategic opportunities to showcase their perspective on important issues, whether that’s through writing an ongoing contributed column, weighing in on news stories or speaking at public events.
Executive profiling is an often-overlooked tool in the business growth box, but when done well its impact resonates far beyond the boardroom and the bottom line.
We have an entire team dedicated to positioning your executive leadership profile for maximum results, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.