Thank you to all those who joined the book launch of Mastering Communications event at betahaus last night. The event gave room to an insightful discussion on what it takes to build a great reputation in the digital age, led by Mali Baum, CEO and founder of WLOUNGE, and myself. Three key takeaways struck me as important:
1. Reputation and business performance go hand-in-hand. Only 20 years ago, CEOs were expected to focus on performance and end-of-year results; reputation was secondary. With the visibility of CEOs on the rise, a company’s market value is now in large part based on the reputation of its executives. Curating a reputation has therefore become life insurance for CEOs. What a CEO does and says – both online and offline – will contribute to the overall performance of a business. But what about employees? Employees can and should also spend time building their own reputation, as it can play a huge part in the overall company brand. A company is unique because of its people, not its numbers.
2. Building a personal brand is not a vanity project. Everyone has a reputation, but only those who curate and invest in their reputation build a brand. A personal brand is not self-promotional, by virtue of the fact that it is based on your values. Think of your personal brand as an opportunity to share what you believe in. Fortunately, there are a plethora of tools available to build personal brands – from social media, to public speaking opportunities, and person-to-person communication with employees. A personal brand will open many doors as you create authentic and lasting relationships with your audience.
3. Communicate with purpose. Milton Friedman argued in 1970 that the social responsibility of a company was to make profit. This hypothesis holds less sway today because stakeholders react differently to the running of businesses. Organisations, and the CEO in particular, are successful if they commit to a purpose. By and large, future success belongs to conscious CEOs who understand that people, planet and profit depend on one another.
Building a reputation takes time and effort but it is about the long game. Act now, create value and think of the lasting relationships and business opportunities you will build along the way.