Who comprises your brand? I don’t mean the products or services you sell, I mean who are the people whose blood, sweat, and tears are driving your organization forward? Who are the people on the inside who would inspire admiration or even curiosity in those on the outside?

The truth is, much of your brand’s reputation is shaped by those stakeholders outside your corporate walls. But they need to see another side of your marketing. They need indications of how you think or why you act in order to fully shape their ideas about your organization’s brand.

It’s become especially important these days, when consumers and buyers want to align values with corporate brands. That focus makes the human factor more compelling than any feature or flash you can offer. Which is why I can’t stress enough the importance of focusing on the visibility of your founder or key executives in the early stages of building your organization’s brand.

The best and worst things about launching a startup are the many choices available. Yet executive branding should always live near the top of your list. Over the years I’ve known many executives who understand this, but have a crisis of confidence in the face of implementing thought leadership or media initiatives. Or, they feel pressured to ensure everything they do should be driving a clear line of sight to revenue.

Think about the leap you made to found your own business or to lead your organization through our current uncertainty. Then think about those record-breaking 5.4 million applicants for new businesses in 2021. Survival as a startup is not nearly the same as standing out in this growing competitive landscape.

So, what are your next steps? Find the right team to support you in finding your voice and expressing yourself in a way that fits you, while keeping you in step with your company brand. As for the ROI, it’s not really a matter of what it costs to invest in you as a representative of your organization’s brand. It’s a matter of what it costs to do nothing.

Think about it. Can you afford the:

  • Loss of potential funding. 87% of global executives feel a positive CEO reputation attracts investors, and investors agree.
  • Loss of potential revenue. 64% of buyers and decision makers find thought leadership content to be more trustworthy than marketing materials or product sheets.
  • Loss of trust. The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that the highest levels of trust are currently reserved for business leaders—not government, NGOs or media.

If you want to make a winning strategic investment in the future of your company, highlight the people who drive your organization’s brand. I share more thoughts and tips about this in my latest Fast Company article.

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