Discover Your CEO Brand: Secrets to Embracing and Maximizing Your Unique Value as a Leader

Discover Your CEO Brand: Secrets to Embracing and Maximizing Your Unique Value as a Leader

by Suzanne Bates


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Ride your personal brand to the highest level in your field!

”A combination of inspiration and utility. . . . A must-read for leaders, entrepreneurs, or anyone who wants to harness the power of their own personal brand.”
—DONNY DEUTSCH, television host and Chairman, Deutsch Inc.

Discover Your CEO Brand is an exploration into the art and science, heart and soul, and woof and warp of leadership. The examples are compelling, the reasoning impeccable, and the motivation irresistible.”
—ALAN WEISS, Ph.D., author of Million Dollar Consulting and The Consulting Bible

“I believe strongly that you cannot become a leader in an organization that operates in contrast to your personal values. With the advice provided in Suzanne’s book, I am confident readers will find the match that works best for them.”
—JONATHAN RECKFORD, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International

“Whether you are already a famous CEO with a well-established brand or just starting to craft that brand and its impact, this book is an excellent resource and guide. Suzanne Bates motivates all CEOs to develop their personal brand and clearly shows how to do it.”
—MARSHA FIRESTONE, Ph.D., founder and President, Women Presidents’ Organization

Discover Your CEO Brand is a terrific read that sets out a powerful and compelling roadmap for becoming an effective leader. Filled with engaging examples, it is the quintessential guide to building your personal brand.”
—ANDREW SOBEL, author of All for One and Clients for Life

About the Book

Steve Jobs did it at Apple. Indra Nooyi did it at Pepsi. Alan Mulally did it at Ford Motor Company.

What did these business leaders do exactly? They brought very real, positive change to their organizations by using their unique CEO brand. Now, executive coach Suzanne Bates explains how you can exert the same kind of influence at your company.

Discover Your CEO Brand provides the insight, knowledge, and tools you need to discover your own personal CEO style and then develop it into a powerful presence that extends beyond your typical spheres of influence. Bates walks you through the process step by step, teaching you ways to increase your visibility and influence by combining traditional self-branding vehicles like PR and face-to-face networking with new social-media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

No two sets of values, principles, vision, and skills—the foundation of every successful CEO brand—are alike. Whether you’re a CEO, team leader, or entrepreneur, you need to discover who you are as a leader, what you believe, and how that defines you. It’s not as apparent as you may think. Applying her years of expertise, Bates takes you deep below the surface to find the powerful leadership brand inside you, so you can:

  • Connect with key audiences
  • Elevate your leader profile
  • Attract and retain the best talent
  • Create business opportunities
  • Shape a high-performance culture
  • Drive long-term value within your company

It’s not about crafting a leadership style out of thin air in order to influence people and “get ahead.” It’s about discovering your own personal leadership style. It’s about connecting with others authentically. It’s about instituting change that benefits the company and the people in it.

You’re about to head down a road to dramatically improving your organization, your career, and your life. Take your first steps with Suzanne Bates and the proven methods she outlines in Discover Your CEO Brand.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071762861
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 08/26/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Suzanne Bates is an executive coach, speaker, entrepreneur, and former award-winning television news anchor. President and CEO of Bates Communications, she helps leaders get business results through better communication. Bates is the author of Speak Like a CEO and Motivate Like a CEO. Learn more about the author at

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The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2012Suzanne Bates
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-176286-1



Why You Need a Brand—and Why Your Brand Matters

Who you are, what your values are, what you stand for.... They are your anchor, your north star. You won't find them in a book. You'll find them in your soul.

—Anne Mulcahy, Former Chairman and CEO, Xerox

The core of your leadership brand is who you are and what you stand for. You find it in your heart and your soul. The brand begins with the story of you—the experiences that defined you, the lessons you learned, and the ways those lessons shaped your values and beliefs. Once you understand the essence of your brand, you will be able to communicate it to the world. It will become a powerful force, creating positive results. You will be able to leverage that brand of yours to drive tremendous value into your company.

A brand is an intangible asset; however, the impact is very real. Smart, successful leaders put their brands to work and infuse the values represented by their brand into the fabric of their organizations. Your brand is a valuable asset you can leverage to create real results.

The essence of your brand—your character—is already well formed. The questions are, how well do you understand it, and how well is it communicated? What kind of impact could you have on your company and industry if you truly harnessed the power of your brand? In this chapter we'll look at why your brand is important. You will see how other leaders have employed the power of their brands to create value, and how you can do that, too.

The interesting feature of a leader's brand is that while it stands alone, it is also part of something larger. As the CEO or leader, you have your own separate brand, which also is commingled with the organization's reputation. So it stands to reason that you need to fully understand your own brand and also appreciate the interplay between your brand and your company's brand, so you can harness the two to work in concert. As you'll see in numerous examples in this chapter, a clearly defined leader brand can be a driving factor in a company's success.

You are an essential part of the overall corporate brand equation, helping shape the DNA of the company and ultimately driving performance. The first step to discovering your brand is to embrace the idea that you have a brand, that it has power, and that you can harness it to do great things. As you read the examples in this chapter, you'll see how other leaders have done that.

Throughout history there are many examples of CEOs who have built powerful brands that have added real, tangible value to their companies. In the sidebar, you'll see short examples of well-known leaders whose individual brands have defined corporate brands. Their beliefs and values have shaped the vision, future, and legacy of the enterprises.

Let's examine two other examples, Jack Welch, who led General Electric to become one of the largest most influential companies at the end of the last century, and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, a company that is altering the way we communicate in the new millennium. Think of them as being like Classic Coke and Vanilla Coke: two leader brands that have defined the very DNA of their organizations.


The storied career of the man who would become the best-known CEO in America, Fortune's "Manager of the Century," is well documented. The son of a railroad engineer, Jack Welch was born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, went to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and became a chemical engineer. He joined General Electric (GE) in 1960 at a salary of $10,500 a year. Relatively early in his career, he contemplated leaving GE, but a manager persuaded him to stay. Welch had definite ideas about the kind of company he wanted to be part of. In vintage style, he told his then-boss, "Well you are on trial."

Welch became GE's youngest CEO and chairman in 1981, and by then his well-formed personality became a force of nature. He streamlined the company and demanded efficiency, productivity, and quality control through Six Sigma. He insisted that GE should be number one or number two in every industry, or leave it.

One of Jack Welch's most "celebrated" management techniques was to fire the bottom 10 percent of his managers every year and reward the top 20 percent with bonuses and stock options. He was candid and fearless, and he never wavered from his principles.

While this management style was controversial (he was known as "Neutron Jack"), it was a huge value driver. When Welch became CEO, revenues were about $27 billion. When he left they were nearly $130 billion.

Upon retirement, Welch's brand kept growing in strength and influence. He became a celebrity author and speaker, commanding fees for his appearances as large as a former president of the United States. You might say his already formidable leader brand went platinum. Everyone wanted to learn something from the man who made GE the largest company in the world.

Some of the defining aspects of the Welch brand are a focus on winning, ruthless decisiveness, and brazen candor. People admire these qualities. They want to understand them. They want to emulate him. They appreciate how powerful his brand is, and how these values shaped and determined GE's success.


Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has exploded onto the business scene. He's the new kid on the brand block. By his mid-twenties, Zuckerberg was already leading a blockbuster company. Facebook's technology platform, driven by an underlying philosophy we'll examine shortly, was profoundly influencing our culture.

What is the Zuckerberg brand, and how has it shaped Facebook? Like Jack Welch, Zuckerberg has a philosophy, shaped by experiences and values formed at a young age. As a Harvard student, with the help of a few friends, he launched a technology platform where students could share personal information with one another. The underpinning of it all was a game-changing concept: the rejection of the modern notion of privacy. He didn't embrace privacy the way past generations like baby boomers had. He believed in sharing personal information digitally. This was in sync with the philosophy of his generation, to open up and share. Transparency was his brand. It became the brand of Facebook.

The brand is authentic. Zuckerberg actually lives a transparent life. For example, in 2010, his Facebook friends still had access to his e-mail and his cell phone. They could check out his personal photos from backyard parties, even though he was a celebrity. His company was valued in the billions, and yet he still posted his whereabouts through Facebook's feature "Places." An article in New Yorker magazine in September 2010 documented that at 2:45 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, on August 29, he was at the Ace Hotel, in New York City's garment district. He was back at Facebook's headquarters, in Palo Alto, California, by 7:08 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. On August 31 at 10:38 p.m., he and his girlfriend were eating dinner at Taqueria La Bamba, in Mountain View, California.

In his Facebook bio, Zuckerberg explains, "I'm trying to make the world a more open place." This personal philosophy is the underlying brand driver that has catapulted Facebook from a dorm room start-up to the biggest social network in the world. His brand and the company brand are one. And it is worth billions.

Ironically, Zuckerberg seems uncomfortable in the limelight. The opposite of a Jack Welch, who embraced his celebrity, Zuckerberg approaches television appearances and print interviews awkwardly. It is in

Excerpted from DISCOVER YOUR CEO BRAND by SUZANNE BATES. Copyright © 2012 by Suzanne Bates. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Why You Need a Brand-and Why Your Brand Matters 1

2 How Exceptional Leader Brands Are Built 17

3 Your CEO Brand-The Story of You 31

4 Brand Recognition-What Do People Say about You? 53

5 Leveraging Your Brand to Drive Spectacular Results 73

6 Personal Choices That Burnish Your Reputation 89

7 Communicate Your Leadership Brand 109

8 Social Media and Brand-What Today's CEO Must Know 129

9 CEO Brand "Disaster Avoidance Kit"-Do No Harm 149

10 Your Personal Brand Team-People Who Make You Look Good 165

11 Ten Fast-Track Tips to Accelerate Brand Building 183

12 Your Leadership Legacy-Writing History Today 207

Index 219

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