— December 13, 2017
Let the CMO and the marketing team figure out the story. Right?
Many CEOs don’t spend much time thinking about their brand story. As a CEO, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day fires that need fighting- it’s why we hire a marketing team.
We talk about the 6-Second brand story often at TopRight because storytelling is at the core of Transformational Marketing. Earlier this month, I shared a guest post for YPO, a global community of executives, about the importance of crafting a compelling brand story that can be communicated in just six seconds.
We have about a six-second window for making a connection and giving our customers and audience a reason to care, a reason to want to learn more, and a reason to engage further with your brand. If that connection is lost in those first few seconds, then it is really lost, and they are most likely not coming back. During those six seconds, your story will be judged from the perspective of your customer through the lens of simplicity, clarity and alignment.
Your story has 6 seconds to give someone a reason to care- or your audience, the people who could potentially be buying and advocating for your product or service, are moving on.
Your CMO should certainly be focused on your brand story—the “why” behind your business—as in why your customers should care about your story. But true Transformational Marketing runs deeper than just telling people what they want and need to hear.
As we mentioned above, your story will be judged from the perspective of your customer through the lens of simplicity, clarity and alignment. Your brand story has to make a simple and clear promise, but in order for that experience to be transformational- every possible customer touchpoint needs to be in alignment.
Alignment is what creates that authenticity that every marketer craves to create. As a CEO, you have to ask yourself, “How can my business achieve alignment across sales, marketing, product, and financial teams when the top executive isn’t on board?”
The smartest CEOs have their personal six-second brand story buttoned up in a way that aligns back to their company’s (or companies’- see Elon Musk) story. An effective CEO story reflects their leadership style, as well as the values and culture of the company they run. Ultimately, when your brand is aligned from the very top, it creates a more authentic experience for the customer and gives them a more powerful reason to care, a reason to buy, and a reason to stay.
Here are a few things to consider as you go about building your personal brand as a CEO:
Authenticity is Key
Disclaimer: This is the CEO’s story. In no way should this be an exercise for marketing to try to spin some narrative of who the CEO is. A personal brand is just that- personal.
As a CEO, this shouldn’t be a hard exercise. We covered exactly how to create a remarkable personal brand story in a prior blog, but the exercise should easily align back into the business you run today. It comes down to starting with your “why”, and through that “why”, what you do and how you do it should fall into line. Your company’s purpose should be aligned throughout this personal story.
Culture Starts at the Top
How is your brand story reflected in the way you do business? Not just from your client’s perspective, but from the corner office to the customer service desk?
Do your employees understand your story? What about your company’s brand story? Are they empowered to own that story at every level?
The authenticity of your company’s story lives behind your story- just like your employees. The people who represent your brand should be able to find alignment with not only your company story but your story too. Your employees are who make up the everyday feel of the culture, but your story is what guides this culture. The members of your organization should feel empowered to align, and a sense of attachment, to that story.
Brands live and die by the talent behind them, so when you look at your story you have to understand how that impacts your culture. Your culture is a large part of how you’re marketing your company to potential employees.
While you want to recruit and hire people who can align with your story, it’s important not to fall victim to a “me too” bias that can stunt your growth and learning. At TopRight, we live and breathe challenging the status quo- it’s what Transformational Marketing was born out of. If our culture stymied that mentality, it would run counter to our brand story.
At TopRight Partners, we take a transformational approach to marketing. We start with the stories that matter and develop the strategies and the systems required to tell those stories in captivating ways that transform transactional relationships into relationships that create advocates for your brand. This goes for marketing the brand to customers as well as marketing to prospective and current employees.
As a CEO, it’s my job to make sure the TopRight team is empowered through a transformative company culture to ask questions, take risks, and learn (and unlearn) from each other. That starts with the TopRight Story, but it also starts with me.