How to be a great brand leader at $1M a year

Now for the “Whole Entirely Unsexy” bit…

On top of that, without advertising and in spite of effort from the customers, the potential star is only worth roughly 20%.

So what are those stars willing to do for the value they can bring? You name it, they’ll do it. Just ask the head of Emirates. He gets up at 3:30 AM to press the flesh, but thinks little of a quarter of a million dollar apartment fee.

Thinking about what power is worth and the value of the public profile you built is, to me, priceless. Which is why I appreciate when my C.E.O. speaks publicly with integrity and humility. Because the truth about it is that, for my money, the consumer is as important as the CEOS.

On CNN, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chief executive of Emirates airline, is giving a master class in corporate communication. As CEO of one of the most valuable brands in the world, he’s using his bully pulpit to say the least.

“C.E.O.’s have to deliver extraordinary returns to their shareholders and we are the employer of choice for some the best and brightest people in the world,” he’s saying on CNN. “We have to produce those results… and at the same time, we’re looking for a good balance between having an impact on the community at large.”

If the number is pushing another corporate view of a “good balance” around social responsibility, he’s referring to his in-house aircraft carrier.

“Our philanthropic investment is a half billion dollars,” he tells interviewer Max Abelson, adding that the net after-tax return on that is “much higher than one would consider.” He then concludes with, “It’s a worthwhile endeavor, but it has to be done with a great deal of skepticism about the returns and how it fits into our overall enterprise.”

While some are cynical about the Saudi king’s reign and brand, the CEO on hand is clear and clear: the sky is the limit.

Like someone advising on this list might say, “Mr. Chairman, we think there’s a great deal of value out there. In fact, I think it’s really high.” With a more sophisticated customer engagement strategy, the same can be said about how we want to be known to people.

The C.E.O. Other C.E.O. who is implementing this approach and doing well indeed is Mark Mahaney, the venerable US-based C.E.O. at RBC Capital Markets. I didn’t know anything about RBC when I first read about Mark in the lead-up to the IPO, but from looking at what he’s done since, I’m impressed.

As Brand Union CEO Saad Mohseni told the Wall Street Journal, “Mark has been in our industry for over 25 years, and in that time, he’s become well-known and respected, and he is as effective as the best C.E.O.s and CMOs in the industry.”

Why did that happen? Why are there still seven RBC chairman titles around today?

Admittedly, it doesn’t take a Harvard MBA to tell a good leader the worth of who he is and what he represents. But, just because those C.E.O.s have “buried the hatchet” and started to believe the value of their value… they have to do it.

At the Brand Union, we look for stories, like this C.E.O. “We believe the best marketing strategy is an effective and disciplined marketing strategy, and it means having and then articulating an audience – but more importantly, having a resonant and engaging story about yourself and your company.”

That strategy is revealed in the words of the former C.E.O. Other C.E.O.’s turn to.

Hulton Archive Getty Images

This article originally appeared on brandunion.com. For more by Holly Wong, click here.

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