Brand awareness is the measure of how well people know your product or service, and anyone in marketing will tell that how you drive it and measure it has dramatically changed. In the digital age, it’s all about individuals and groups who influence by creating buzz through digital outlets like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.
As a leader, if you care about your own brand, rest assured that today, a similar dynamic is at work. Elevating your public profile is dramatically different today. (Note, I didn’t say easier – just different). You no longer need to rely solely on traditional media. Public relations firms used to count your “press clippings.” That term will soon fall out of the lexicon.
Now, if you care to, you can spread the news about you, by pushing out content through your own blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, digital press releases, and more. =Traditional media are still going to write about you; however, they are also going to pick up content from these self-publishing sources, which also show up in a Google search. The point is you can significantly influence what is written about you, participate in, and even drive a conversation.
Fast Company recently published an article on “digital footprint” as a way to measure awareness of the “brand” of an individual leader. To be sure, digital footprint includes, but is not limited to, the number of Google, You Tube and other digital “hits” that appear when someone looks you up on line.
In a July 1 article, Fast Company cites research by Peek You, a company that measures the virtual presence of a person. The research found that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has “huge digital feet.” PeekYou uses an algorithm that weighs public information to determine business leaders’ digital footprint. The more news stories about a person, the more Twitter followers they have and the more connections on LinkedIn, “the mightier their clout and the stronger their brand,” says PeekYou.
It isn’t surprising that a top female CEO in technology would be at or near the top of the list. In general technology leaders are more actively engaged in social media. Even if they don’t have time to write their own blogs or manage a Twitter account, they believe in the value of it, and know how to marshal the resources to get it done.
When writing my new book, Discover Your CEO Brand, I decided that I had to devote a chapter to social media and the CEO. The book comes out in October; I knew there was a risk that some of the information would be dated by the time of publication, so I tried to focus on principles around brand building in the “social” world.
A question that comes up all the time is should CEOs blog, or actively engage in social media. I think that question will someday be like asking our grandparents whether they should purchase a second TV. They didn’t see the need. Today our generation has one in every room in the house.
It’s only a matter of time. Baby boomer leaders haven’t focused on their virtual presence; I predict the next generation of leaders will. In spite of the risks of participating in social media, the reality is that there is a conversation going on out there about you anyway. You may not care about those algorithm measurements but eventually your competitors, employees, customers and (if you’re public shareholders) will.
If you’re interested, PeekYou published the digital footprint scores of the top women in technology: http://www.fastcompany.com/1764335/carol-bartz-is-a-digital-bigfoot
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