When it comes to branding, storytelling is everything. The trick is to translate your CEO’s story into something more widely accessible.
We, as a society, love stories because they help us understand ourselves and the rest of the world. With company leaders constantly being scrutinized, CEOs have to step up to the challenge of embodying their company’s brand. But does CEO branding matter? We know that if the ideals of a company do not coincide with their representatives, it could lead to a PR disaster.
But on a grand scale of things, does it, though? If so, how would you effectively translate not only your CEO branding but your company’s brand to the rest of the world?
What’s the Difference Between an Entrepreneur and a CEO?
A lot of people confuse these roles. So let’s first look up the definition of Entrepreneur and CEO.
Investopedia defined entrepreneurs as innovators who take risks in creating businesses and enjoy reaping the rewards. Meanwhile, CEOs have the highest-ranking position within companies, oversee significant decisions, manage operations and resources, and communicate with the directors.
From Investopedia’s definition of entrepreneurs and CEOs, on the one hand, an entrepreneur has more freedom with how they handle the risks of their business. They can wait for long-term gains. On the other hand, a CEO must scrutinize the risks of the company and take conservative actions.
Another clear distinction between entrepreneurs and CEOs is that entrepreneurs either buy or find a company. They have total control over it. In contrast, sometimes CEOs are appointed by the board and must discuss any significant changes before implementing them.
Does CEO Branding Matter?
Personally, I think CEO branding is essential, as we can see with Elon Musk’s Twitter influence on the market. His excellent branding comes from his story of having a genuine concern for humanity. This shows up all the time, from deciding that Tesla would propel us towards sustainable energy and transport to Space X, which would revolutionize the aerospace industry.
Although not as influential as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg’s story for creating Facebook is something many can relate to. He made Facebook because he wanted to have more friends due to being “a social misfit.” Some would say misery was his drive to create the company rather than a passion.
If you’re planning to create a strong CEO brand, you have to go back to your origin story and examine what compelled you to start your own company.
How to Create a Global Marketing Strategy While Establishing Your Story and Branding
As for my story, I founded Tomedes, a translation company, in 2007, under a remote work model. At that time, 23% of U.S. internet users were still using dial-up.
I knew that many companies would eventually want to expand their businesses internationally. Due to this, I saw the benefit of a remote work model. I had broader access to linguists, marketers, and other highly-skilled individuals worldwide. We could provide businesses and private clients with language solutions through our global experts and advanced translation technology.
From my experience working with Tomedes for over a decade now, when creating a global marketing strategy, you will have to promote internationally and locally, tailoring your marketing strategy based on your target locale’s language, cultural preference, market demand, etc.
Now, you might wonder how the same principles of global marketing strategy would fit into your CEO branding? Well, I’ve written some tips on how you could start promoting your branding internationally.
Translating the CEO Brand
Did you know that not all countries address the highest-ranking position in their companies as CEOs? In France, their equivalent of CEO is PDG, which stands for Président-Directeur Général. While in Sweden, their version of CEO is VD, which stands for Verkställande Direktör.
Depending on the market you’re planning to enter, you could adapt your title as CEO and study your target locale’s business culture and practices to better interact with them.
Integrating Your Business Into Your Target Locale’s Market
Flexibility is essential if you’re planning to go global. So if your business is to enter a new market, you will have to conduct local market research.
This includes knowing your target audience, their demographics, language, culture, local competitors, laws and regulations, currency and paying methods, and more.
Building Your Image as a CEO for International Investors and Clients
Another consideration when building your CEO brand is to be fluent in several languages. Being monolingual shouldn’t hurt your status as CEO. However, it can’t be denied that there are benefits to being a multilingual CEO.
One of Bill Gates’ regrets is to be only an English speaker as he never had the opportunity to study another language. Even if it didn’t hurt Gate’s standing as one of the world’s most affluent men, he does bring up an excellent point.
The benefit of being a multilingual CEO is the ability to effectively communicate with native speakers. You can use their own words without relying on an interpreter to do it for you. You can translate your own documents. Some CEOs have even chosen, due to their ability, to speak in different languages.
Making Your Story Relatable for Your Target Locale
The six traits of a startup CEO can be the basis of your branding as a CEO because anyone can relate to a brave individual, willing to take risks because they have the motivation and vision.
I work as a CEO of a translation company. I firmly believe that despite how different our cultures are, there is a universal side to humanity. Regardless of language and distance, this universal side translates across borders and sometimes, even time itself. As I have noted with Musk’s branding, the authenticity of your brand as a CEO must work with your company’s goals and ideals.
Find the traits and characteristics about your company and yourself, then build your branding on them. Be open to learning about your target locale. Discover commonality but also be respectful of their cultural differences.