Their faces have jumped to the fore and have elevated them as true celebrities of their brands. They are executives, businessmen and entrepreneurs who conquer the media and go viral on social networks starring in advertising campaigns for their companies. A risky strategy that seeks not only to build a story of credibility about their products and services but also to humanize the company they lead. But the path of the media leader requires not only a continuous exercise of professional and personal coherence, but also enduring a high exposure that often tests his waistline.
"Consumers want to know who is behind the product they consume and the companies they interact with. Its leaders have become a valuable resource for creating strategies of closeness and trust that are always aligned with the brand's values," says Paco Lorente, professor at ESIC University. This is confirmed by Nielsen's Trust in Advertising study, according to which 81% of consumers trust user-generated content and word-of-mouth more than traditional advertising. Something that is very clear to the entrepreneur and image of his brand Alain Afflelou, with more than 1,400 opticians and audiology centers distributed in twenty countries.
Jesús Mª Arriaga, of Arriaga Asociados, in a still from his announcement.
A meteoric rise in which his Tchin Tchin campaign has had a lot to do. "My agency, CDP, felt that putting me in the ads would give credibility to the message and guarantees to the consumer. He generated a real impact that was at the same time protagonist, optician, hearing care professional, bearer of the brand, owner and inventor of all the concepts," he highlights. And he warns that this is not about becoming famous. "The presence of the manager should highlight the message and the company. I've always said, 'My name is Alain Afflelou and I'm an optician or hearing care professional.' That's what makes it believable. I didn't say, 'Hey, I'm here to show off.' There's a risk in thinking that you can afford to say it or do it all," he says.
For Afflelou, the key to making this advertising work lies in being backed by a track record. "As a professional, he was well aware of the problems of spectacle wearers and people with hearing impairments. So it was believable, and that's why the French followed me." A credibility linked to the exploitation of its image that Jesús María de Arriaga, founder and CEO of Arriaga Asociados, has gained 300,000 customers and 400 employees. Its 'Let's Make It Easy', which seeks to "democratize access to justice," has made it an omnichannel leader. "I represented myself in a trial and saw the trust you build when your case is true," he says.
Becoming the scourge of large companies and banks, his image travels from televisions to newspapers and radios, the internet, buses and social networks, where he has invested 20 million euros in a year. "I use my image to change that of a sector like the legal profession, which is cold, distant and charges in advance." And to this end, it allocates 2 million euros out of a turnover of around 42 million. He admits to an overexposure of himself "that doesn't scare me at all because I have based my business model on this strategy". His counterpart in the real estate sector, Eduardo Molet, speaks of closeness and trust, but also of transparency, who has made his effigy his mark for years.
Eduardo Molet, right, in a still from his home sale ad.
His popular 'Vendido' has elevated him in a sector that he knows like the back of his hand. "On a trip to the U.S., I saw that consumers knew who was behind each company and that transparency built trust, which is key for homeowners to give you their homes to sell." The economist speaks of coherence in media exposure. "If you use your image for your business you have to be very aware of everything you do and say, manage your company well, take care of your employees, your personal life and above all, ignore criticism because it usually goes against you and not against your company, which is what really matters." A whole roadmap that the ESIC professor describes as "dangerous" because "it puts a person as a guarantee of the brand, who must also be impeccable".
Among social networks, Linkedin (830 million members and 58 million companies, according to Kinsta) is consolidated as a macro business showcase where top executives seek to connect through their videos and publications. This is what the president of McDonald's Spain, Luis Quintiliano, has done with the campaign 'The Last Order' to "give voice to our commitment to the primary sector and make visible the work of Spanish livestock breeders and farmers". A proximity that Ikea is also looking for, because "at this time it is essential to be close and accessible", according to its CEO in Spain, Nurettin Acar. "Social networks allow me direct and unfiltered contact, as well as being an essential channel for active listening. They are a perfect place to humanize the brand," he says. The firm has extended this closeness to 125 professionals with whom it has created a hub of spokespersons "so that they can show the day-to-day life of the company in a different way".
From LG Electronics, Francisco Ramírez, general manager of B2B, becomes the image of its brand, giving visibility to "projects such as the worldwide digitalization of cinemas or the modernization of 80% of football stadiums to turn them into multifunctional spaces," he points out. "Exposing yourself in a technology company means giving credibility and humanizing projects, because some can last up to 25 years." And he concludes: "Launching into publishing is an exercise in sincerity that exposes you to a potential rejection that you have to know how to assume."
As the entrepreneur of a technological project, Manolo Villalón, founder and CEO of the Open Salud platform, with 100,000 users, recognizes that "being in charge of communications means humanizing and putting a face to a technology that is scary and that has many doctors terrified." Being the image of the brand "allows me to give doctors confidence in digital health and its benefits, something that will save them unnecessary face-to-face consultations, because that model is no longer sustainable."
But being on social media is no guarantee of success. Being entertaining and original adds up, although nothing like trying it out on the go. "I realized that when I went out myself or my team, instead of a product, the 'Likes' on Instagram multiplied," says Aida Casanovas, founder of the candy company Gramola Lab. And he swept the 'Prince Charming' campaign: "The key is for followers to identify with your story. As a single mother, I invite you to stop looking for Prince Charming in bars, clubs or dating apps and I offer him to you in the form of a chocolate."
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