Remember when “Marketing” was only a department-level activity? Thanks to social/mobile, 24/7 news cycles, global competition and other pressure points, everyone is now in Marketing. Especially senior leaders. In addition to their own participation in social, senior leaders – regardless of title – have a role in corporate social activities, PR, events, influencer relations and more.
So what can these leaders be doing to make Marketing a little easier? Here are 5 places to start:
- Sell ideas, not products. The senior leaders of well-run companies are not pitch-people for their company’s products. They sell, promote and amplify the idea behind the company. They sell why the company is in business. They sell the vision. They sell the values of the company. By focusing on ideas, leaders are helping Marketing by creating an emotional attraction to a brand.
- Don’t be a jerk. How a leader treats others – especially employees – is amplified in the fishbowl of social business. A senior leader must remember that he/she is always on – at work, at home, in the community. This helps Marketing by a) not creating a PR crisis and b) if you are a genuine, kind leader, it creates a great living story that audiences can attach to. By being real, minimizing the use of corporate-speak and listening, senior leaders can greatly help reinforce the message and image that Marketing is promoting.
- Participate in the conversation. Audiences rarely connect to entities, logos, or slogans. Audiences connect to ideas and to the people behind an idea. Senior leaders can provide a big boost to Marketing by making themselves available – both literally and emotionally. By facilitating a focus group, actively participating in social media, giving presentations, etc., senior leaders are connecting the audiences to the people that lead the company. This creates a stronger emotional bond to the company and provides a “face” to the brand.
- Stay on message. This is an old maxim with a new twist. In well-branded companies, the message isn’t the slogan. The message is the company’s WHY. It is an invitation to audiences to believe what the company believes. Senior leaders have a specific responsibility to stay on message in this area. Rather than talk only about financials, product features and other tangibles, senior leaders can help Marketing by leading off every conversation with the company’s WHY – then attaching it to the WHAT.
- Be a Thought-Leader. If you are a leader in your company, it is likely you reached that role/status because you are good at something. That “something” is an area where you can be a thought-leader. Thought-leadership can include all areas of a company from operations, to HR, to logistics. In particular, senior leaders can be thought-leaders in any area involving human engagement. Thought-Leadership can be accomplished through blogging, videos, presenting, publishing a book, etc. This greatly helps Marketing by showing that your company understands people. It helps humanize a brand – showing a corporate version of emotional intelligence.
I rarely solicit comments or feedback, but I would love to hear from non-marketing leaders who are helping their company’s Marketing and Branding with their behaviors. Comment below or tweet at me @fosterthinking.