The power of leadership branding for corporate Australia

How many members of your executive team are leveraging their personal brands to share the great work your organisation is doing?

As we peer behind the scenes inside our clients’ companies, we see fascinating things happening every day – project successes, team wins, milestones, transformations, and lots and lots of learnings. 

Sharing these stories with the market has many benefits. 

It helps solidify your brand, humanise the organisation, it demonstrates culture, positions the brand away from competitors, showcases innovation, and does its part to attract the best talent into your organisation.

Yet, most of these corporate stories never see the light of day or get buried within stats of annual reports without any storytelling. And in most cases, they’re not being shared directly from the people involved, which could potentially be doing your brand a disservice.

Over the last 8+ years in business, we’ve seen first-hand the success that comes from identifying a handful of executives to build up their personal leadership brands, leveraging their personal audiences to share compelling corporate stories and thought leadership pieces to start conversations for clients. 

It is one of the most impactful ways to position a corporate brand and executive team in a positive light, amplify brand awareness, build trust and affinity, and achieve your marketing objectives. 

The power of personal leadership brands

If you aren’t already investing in executive profiling for your leadership team – you may be contemplating whether it’s worth your while. Any marketing campaign requires time and a financial investment. So, what are the ROIs?

Studies show when brand messages are shared by employees on social media, they get 561 per cent more reach than if the same messages were shared by the organisation’s social media channels. 

In our opinion, the reach metric alone makes this a worthwhile investment, but however runs a lot deeper, also taking into account brand trust.  

There has been a seismic shift in how trust is measured; a shift in how people trust organisations, peers and government. As a general rule, people are more inclined to trust individuals over large organisations. 

CEO Hangout shared some interesting stats in 2017 which support this view.

82% of people are more likely to trust a company when their senior executives are active on social media and 77% of consumers are more likely to buy when the CEO is actively posting on social media.

In addition, only 33% of buyers trust messages from a company while almost 90% of customers trust recommendations from someone they know, and 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over companies.

It is clear consumers are wanting brands and CEOs to use their voice to advocate on important issues and share their personal views while working within an organisation. Leaders need to be more than just a figurehead.  

However, there seems to be a gap between how businesses perceive their level of trust in the market to what it actually is.

According to PwC’s 2022 Trust in US Business Survey, businesses “believe they are much more trusted than they actually are”.

When it comes to trust, the C-suite may be patting themselves on the back for a job not yet done,” PwC states.

“Almost nine in 10 (87%) executives think consumers have a high level of trust in their businesses. But only 30% of consumers say they do.

“In our current survey, 47% of executives say trust is more bottom-up than top-down, built from customers, employees and other stakeholders rather than senior leadership. Only 27% of customers and 35% of employees say the same, indicating that they are looking to the C-suite to lead more on trust.”

What this tells us a marketing agency, is brands need to think about the big picture in their content marketing – looking beyond the brand account and assessing who in their organisation can be built up to have a powerful personal brand, using their voice to share stories from the inside to build brand trust. Authenticity and presence are everything. 

What is Strategic Leadership Profiling?

The purpose of Strategic Leadership Profiling is to handpick members of your C-suite, management and sales teams to build their personal brands and leverage their established social networks to share valuable, high-quality content related to your business. 

By cultivating a personal brand, we position leaders as experts in areas and issues they care about, sharing their voice and stories from inside the organisation. 

There is an undeniable power in corporate storytelling through the lens of your leadership team. These stories can be shared via social media posts, blogs and articles written from their perspective and voice, videos, speeches, and media engagements.

What you do today will define your tomorrow

Societal leadership is now a core function of business to attract new clients, nurture existing stakeholders, and foster a deep level of trust that’s difficult to achieve from business branding alone.

It also a consideration for recruitment. According to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, when considering a job, 69% of employees want their CEO to speak out on controversial issues they care about.

If we dive deeper, results show the public expects CEOs to use their voice to speak up about treatment of employees (89%), climate change (82%), discrimination (80%), wealth gap (77%) and immigration (72%). 

If a brand isn’t already taking stock of how active their key members of their team are on social media – it isn’t too late to get started and use corporate storytelling to define your tomorrow. 

Risk mitigation in 2023

Investing in quality content for your executive team can also play into corporate risk mitigation, building a positive brand image and trust at scale, so if something does go wrong down the line, your brand is in positive credit. 

According to one of our long-time clients Deloitte, reputational capital stands as one of an organisation’s most valuable assets. 

In Deloitte’s 2022 Global Resilience Report, it says only 32 per cent of organisations have specific activities underway to address reputation, 29 per cent have specific roles encompassing this responsibility, which leaves most organisations not making a commitment. 

“As many leadership teams have found, reputation can change on very short notice, particularly given our media (including social media) environment. Therefore, reputational resilience should be considered integral to organisational resilience,” Deloitte states.

“Ongoing reputation management and consistent communications enable an organisation to build reputational capital, which tends to retain stakeholders’ support at times when they might otherwise seek alternatives. Reputation reinforces resilience.”

We couldn’t agree more! By being proactive with your communications from a business and personal brand perspective, you’re mitigating any reputational risk in the event of a crisis. 

Being memorable in the minds of consumers

In conclusion, investing in the leadership brands of your executive team is one of the most impactful ways to make your brand memorable.

It is well documented, consumers want to hear from humans, not faceless corporate organisations or AI-generated content. 

At Made Great, we offer Strategic Leadership Profiling partnerships for senior leaders and executives, helping your team share compelling corporate stories leveraging the currency and trust factor which comes from personal branding. 

Consistency is key here. It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand, which is why we work with you to define your message for each audience you’re trying to reach and carve out a clear image of what key members of your team are known for.

If you’d like some further information on our Strategic Leadership Profiling partnerships, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at [email protected].

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