With the rise of social media and digitalisation, customers are increasingly reliant upon digital platforms to interact with organisations. According to a 2015 report by Sensis, almost 50% of consumers now access social media every day—including up to 79% of people in the 18-29 age group.

The growing popularity and complexity of the digital space means that leaders, as well as the companies they work for, need to implement robust and adaptable strategies to manage their own personal and company brand.

CEOs and senior executives must understand the impact of their personal brand and how to create and manage it effectively. Customers and employees want to connect with the ‘human’ side of a business—namely, the people and leaders behind the brand name.

That’s why CEOs and senior executives need to be active in their own branding and profiling. A strong personal brand is a mix of reputation, trust, attention and execution. Customers and employees alike become loyal brand advocates when they feel a personal affiliation with a company.

These personal connections don’t just happen on the frontline. Through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, CEOs and leaders can interact directly with their audience, building authenticity and trust.

In today’s rapidly-changing and interconnected global market, digital media provides a significant opportunity to promote brand awareness, both locally and internationally. By inventing a remarkable personal brand, CEOs and leaders can leverage their point of difference, identifying what makes them—and their company—stand out from the crowd.

Top 4 tips for creating an authentic personal brand:

1. Define your purpose and passion

If your purpose and passion are unclear to you, they will be unclear to your audience. Know the answers to these questions: What motivates and inspires me? What are my key objectives in work and in life? If you have genuine belief in who you are and what you do, you will strongly influence and bring value to others.

2. Be personal, genuine and authentic

It’s time to debunk the myth that CEOs hide away from the public. Customers and employees want to connect with you as a person and hear your distinct ‘voice’ in what you write or say. Even if you’re across social media, just being tech-savvy isn’t enough. You need to be word-savvy too, interacting with your audience in a friendly, approachable and genuine way, while still maintaining professionalism. A remarkable personal brand is built around your strengths, values and uniqueness. Draw upon these qualities to develop a strong positioning statement. Share your core message consistently across all platforms.

3. Define your expertise

To truly leverage your point of difference, it’s crucial to define your expertise. What are your strengths? What makes you unique as an individual? How is your company different? Having clearly-defined expertise, fuelled by passion and commitment, is a sure-fire way to drive deeper engagement with your business. Customers and employees will feel more emotionally invested in your company, leading them to become loyal brand advocates. This is crucial at a time when consumers are easily swayed by public opinion and are happy to switch to your competitors’ companies. Although this trend poses challenges, having a strong social media presence will work in your favour. For example, according to Sensis, 62% of people are open to changing their opinion of a business if it responds to negative feedback on social media.

4. Show social responsibility

With the rise of the non-profit sector, a multidimensional brand with a ‘human’ element is key. As a leader in your sector, it’s crucial to show social responsibility, demonstrating that you’re interested in causes outside of your business. It can be anything, from adding ‘Causes you care about’ to your LinkedIn profile, to forming a partnership with a non-profit.