Branding has been a buzzword of the advertising industry and corporate America for decades. However, the recent explosion of social media marketing and pioneers like Kim Kardashian (yep, I just called her a pioneer) have elevated the concept of personal branding and created a new phenomenon— the “Celebrity CEO”. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a CEO, this trend is not something you should ignore. In fact, crafting a brand strategy for yourself as the face of your company is arguably as important as developing your company’s brand image.
Less than two years ago I didn’t have a single social media account. In fact, I was so loathsome and fearful of social media that I decided to make a documentary about it, entitled Why I’m Not On Facebook.
The success of the film made me instantly recognizable and elevated my status to (what I jokingly call) “micro-celebrity.” Ironically, it also prompted my precipitous plunge into all things social media and awakened me to the power of being a celebrity CEO. The learning curve has been steep and sometimes painful, but ultimately it’s provided me with valuable insights into my business and personal growth strategies going forward.
Today the very concept of “celebrity” has completely changed. Every entrepreneur is one search term away from being in nearly every household in the world. Nowadays, a celebrity is defined not solely by their name recognition, but by the quantity, perception, and accessibility of their online content. In other words, if you aren’t branding yourself in the digital realm, you are missing a colossal strategic opportunity.
I recently spoke with Grant Cardone, a wildly successful entrepreneur who has embraced and capitalized on becoming a celebrity CEO. Cardone posts online content every day covering all aspects of his life, business, and finances. He’s amassed a massive following and is relentless in his self-promotion.
“The old saying goes, ‘People do business with people they trust,’” Cardone reflects. “But now with social media the saying should be, ‘People do business with people they know.’ People know me, and right now that’s more important than whether they like me. If they don’t like me, they can still choose to do business with me. If they don’t know me, I have no chance.”
Cardone is adamant about the tremendous opportunity a celebrity CEO brand can unleash. He believes the old-school method of building a company brand and trading on that brand is nearly impossible in today’s crowded marketplace. “At the end of the day, a company can only be so interesting. Look at John Legere, (CEO of T-Mobile) he’s got more followers than T-Mobile does.”
But does his personal celebrity help the company? Without hesitation, Cardone replies, “Absolutely!”