Your brand lives in the mind of your customers and general public. Their perception was developed from the touch points in which they come in contact with your brand. This starts from the moment they saw your website, exchanged an email or spoke with a company rep on the phone. Each experience shapes their view. Thus, branding for the CEO also extends to the organization.
Here are some ways to create credibility when you’re starting out.
Use an email that’s linked to your company, i.e. Jill@acme.com
Free e-mail service like Hotmail and Yahoo can be created under 5 minutes. When a customer sees these emails, it gives the impression that you not fully established as a company. Moreover, these free email services are often used in phishing campaigns to swindle people for credit card information or illegitimate donation. Hence using them for business could give the wrong impression about your brand or the legitimacy of your business.
Showcase your products, services, CEO and the team online
Having a Facebook page and LinkedIn profile for the CEO and company is great. Like the free email service, they can be created easily. To look more like an established brand, you’ll want to have a website. Get a vanity (and memorable) business phone number so customers can easily remember and get in touch with you. Include customer testimonials online and printed marketing material as this demonstrates that you deliver and have satisfied customers.
Set a process to receive customers
The receptionist or person who is assigned to answer the phone and general email box is often the first person the potential customer or general public comes into contact with. Create a communication process map for the front line person to greet and forward calls or emails internally. This also applies when contact is made via social media. If the inquiry wasn’t immediately addressed, set a protocol to let the person who emailed, call or posted know when their inquiry will answered.
Make it easy for the public or potential customers to contact you
In Asia, it seems everyone has a business or a calling card. With many people using smart phones, some cards now also have a QR code, making it easy to log the contact and synching it with your database system. A business card is like other marketing materials you have in the company. You want to have a consistent look and feel to your website, business cards and brochures. This also extends to the e-mail signature that includes your logo, slogan and all contact details. You may also want to include your skype contact and link to your LinkedIn profile. E-mails get forwarded, so make it easy for people to contact you.
If you’re just starting out and have a tight schedule, you should consider having a virtual assistant to help you with all these contacts and touch points.
Pitching yourself and your story
Some of the ways to get noticed is to contribute an article online or in a printed publication. To get the hang of it, you may want to start a professional blog or submit a post. LinkedIn now gives you the option to self-publish an article or share it in your network and community. Once you have this content, you can forward it to the editor of a newspaper or magazine where you’d like to be featured. When you reach out to them, have your photos, bios and PowerPoint ready to go. Practice your elevator pitch. You’ll have 60 seconds or less to get their attention. Getting published requires multiple attempts, so do not be discouraged if you’re turned down. Ask the editor what’s topical for the publication. Re-strategize how you can customize your content to support it.
Connect with the community
Go out and network. Talk about the problems you’re solving or the pain points you are addressing. The focus should be about the customers who you are helping. Connect with event organizers, share your content (articles, PowerPoint, etc.), and ask if you can be of help. You could offer to be an MC or give a talk at future events.