Written by Milly Edgerley • Published 27th January 2017 • 4 minute read
The inauguration of Donald Trump reiterated the sheer power of a positive personal PR campaign. Whatever your views on “The Donald”, the success of his personal PR to his key audiences makes clear the inextricable link between a figurehead’s public persona and their brand’s reputation. He demonstrates how, with the right strategy, personal PR can be harnessed to improve the standing of an organisation or brand.
Personal PR should be an essential element of an organisation’s PR strategy, now more than ever before. From a President elect to social media stars, today’s public require personality. This extends to CEO’s of multi-nationals as much as it does budding entrepreneurs and thought leaders.
As the figurehead of your organisation, ensuring you have a positive public reputation, befitting of the organisation you lead, can greatly boost your brand in the public eye. Personal reputation is vital when seeking investment, looking to sell or move on, recruiting employees and especially in times of crisis.
A positive brand reputation which promotes the core values of an organisation is highly ‘sellable’ and stands a company apart from competitors. It is attractive for new business and makes a sounder investment. On the other hand, a figurehead with a negative public persona, think Phillip Green circa 2016, or no persona at all, is cause for concern.
When looking to sell a company, bidders will also be looking at every element that forms its reputation and, even though you may be selling and moving on, in the eyes of the buyer, they are still buying your public identity as part of the package.
Prospective employees, whilst researching into prospective companies, are now scoping out the backgrounds of the company’s board, it’s CEO, even their potential managers. Ensuring that your own SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) profile paints an attractive picture of you as an employer is key to attracting first class candidates.
Creating a positive personal PR identity can take time. It takes effort to build the right SEO footprint and this may seem a daunting task, requiring more time than you may think you can afford. It is crucial you invest in the right personal PR strategy, one that not only raises your own profile but compliments the brand to which you are affiliated. It may be an investment you had not thought about, but when executed strategically, the personal and professional rewards can be significant.
To ensure your personal PR strategy gives your company the opportunity, that it attracts a loyal customer base, worthwhile investment opportunities and the highest quality employees, here are the key rules to follow:
Rule 1: Know Your Audience
Whilst raising your profile it is crucial that you have a target audience in mind and tailor all content directly to this audience. This may seem obvious when being interviewed by a journalist or when writing an article for a newspaper or magazine, but many fail to audit and curate their social media profiles in much the same way. If you are in the public eye, even your private social media accounts are not private. You must approach them, and the content you put out in the same manner you would formal forms of public communication.
This is not to say you shouldn’t alter your tone of voice to fit with the platform you are writing on and it doesn’t mean you should forgo using social media but do ensure that what you write appropriately aligns with your organisation’s core values.
Rule 2: Beware of Skeletons
Even the most minor of skeletons in a closet can derail a personal PR campaign.
Whether writing an email, Tweeting, or commenting on a status, always bear in mind that what you say can be taken out of context and can also be dragged back up at any time.
Not only should you audit any social media accounts currently in existence, but if you have any concerns about something said or done in the past, however small, seek expert advice and guidance from your personal PR team. It is far better to raise this concern in advance and form a reputation management strategy than be caught off guard and unprepared.
Rule 3: Humanise your Brand
Best practice personal PR gives your organisation a personal touch. Its shows a face behind the name and humanises your brand. This can be a hugely lucrative strategy when trying to build a loyal customer base.
Rule 4: Seek Expert Advice
Your reputation as the leader of your company can have a huge impact on its long-term success. Specialists in reputation and profile management can help provide the framework to boost long term business growth, greater investment prospects and improved sales. Using their expertise not only relieves you of additional work and pressure but will ensure that you are forming the best public reputation for you and for your company.