Conceptual hand writing showing Brand Strategy

Kevin was already the successful owner of a mid-cap company when he called me. His business was thriving, and he had a solid reputation in his field and community. But he wanted something more. He knew he needed to expand his CEO brand marketing strategy, but how? My suggestion: Hire a fractional CMO to focus on handling his personal brand exclusively.

A fractional CMO (aka a part-time Chief Marketing Officer or interim CMO) is typically hired for a business at large but can also come in to take over the CEO brand specifically. From developing executive presence to media placement, here’re four ways an interim CMO can help you build your CEO brand marketing strategy.

  1. Put you on the path to book publication.

    The path from “I think I should write a book” to actual publication is much longer, harder, and more involved than anyone who has never written a book can imagine. A fractional CMO — especially one with book writing experience — can be invaluable in helping you shape, write and get your book to the right publisher.

  2. Bring you media attention.

    While the traditional path to media placement is hiring a PR firm, a fractional CMO can often produce the same or better results by bringing more laser-like focus and attention to your story. Having you as their core PR client allows them to put in the kind of time and follow-up not typically found in PR firms.

  3. Get you ready for media.

    When the media does come calling, you’re not ready to receive them. A seasoned fractional CMO will be invaluable at coaching you in developing executive presence. Everything from media coaching to presentation skills and speech development will be needed to firmly establish your CEO brand.

    One piece of advice: Be sure to inquire as to whether the person you are hiring has developing executive presence as a subset of what they offer. A fractional CMO who also has background in management consulting, organizational development, and leadership development will prove invaluable as a coach.

  4. Get you recognized in a broader context.

    Whether it’s a Wikipedia listing or an industry award, a fractional CMO can be essential in helping to get your CEO brand recognized. Locating and applying for awards and such is a time-consuming business, and one that tends to fall by the wayside when marketing staff are busy with other projects. Having a dedicated person who is focused on promoting your CEO brand can yield significant results.

The beauty of the fractional CMO is you hire them to develop your CEO brand marketing strategy as a consultant — not an employee. They require no management, and they take over activities that would otherwise require the time and energy of your businesses marketing team.

In addition, having one person whose sole job it is to oversee your CEO brand means you don’t have to engage (and manage) multiple vendors to get the job done. Instead you can hire once, sit back and watch your CEO brand blossom.

Karen Tiber Leland is the founder of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding & marketing strategy firm helping individuals and companies build stronger brands. She is the best-selling author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build, and Accelerate Your Brand. For more information, please contact