“CEO branding is the art of developing emotional connections with the stakeholders that matter the most to a business success through the power of story-telling and providing value that demonstrates marketplace differentiation.”
-Raoul Davis, CEO & Founder
Many firms fail to leverage one of the important points which is CEO’s brand. A car runs only when there is a driver, similarly, CEO is the driver of a company without whom a company drastically fails. CEO branding becomes successful when right message is passed to the target audience. Business is not just about business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business it has more to it. Building a CEO brand can help gain profit, launch new divisions and build a legacy.
We introduce you to the world leader in CEO branding, Ascendant Group. Ascendant Group was established in the year 2004 and since then it has associated with top CEOs and executives from fortune 500 companies, INC 5000 fastest growing businesses, world class organisations and bestselling authors.
The company proudly says, “We’ve had award winning recognition including being a Founding member of the Forbes Agency Council for top PR & Advertising firms in the world, CEO branding and Corporate branding firm of the year on multiple occasions, best web design recognition, top 25 small business cultures, and best PR campaigns.”
It is a pleasure to know Raoul Davis and his achievements
Raoul Davis is a Partner of Ascendant Group which helps CEOs, retired athletes, and executive leaders domestically increase their visibility in front of their target audience through CEO or personal branding. The company is located in Newark, Delaware, Cairo, Egypt, Lebanon, the Netherlands, and Nova Scotia, Canada and launched its global practices helping CEOs in China, Switzerland, Peru, and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region receive guaranteed global visibility.
Davis has been invited to CEO and small business forums in Egypt, India, The Caribbean, and at the White House and is considered one of the foremost experts on CEO and executive branding. Under Davis’ leadership, Ascendant has been named a founding member of the Forbes Agency Council, a leading invitation only group for top PR and advertising executives. Additionally, Ascendant has won awards for design, organizational culture, and public relations work.
Astrid Peters is the President of The European division of The Ascendant Group. Built on referrals and inspired by trust since its creation in 2004, Ascendant Group has worked with the world’s leading CEOs and executives ranging from fortune 500 companies, INC 5000 fastest growing businesses, and high performing individual brands ranging from those leading world class organizations to bestselling authors to elite athletes transitioning to the entrepreneurial world.
We had an interview with Raoul Davis, Founder and CEO who helps us understand the company in the following paragraphs.
What motivated you to establish Ascendant Group?
I was an agent for a speaker’s bureau based out of Los Angeles. Two of the client’s suggested I start my own company and they would be our first two clients. It was terrifying and exciting and I decided to roll the dice. Fifteen years later it is one of the best decisions I ever made. We expanded our offerings by taking a look at what our clients’ needs were and where the marketplace was. We started out managing public speakers, two years into it we realized it was their popularity or “brand” that determined how much they spoke so we became a personal branding agency. Then a few years later we took a hard look at the business and decide to expand globally.
How do you go that extra mile to achieve your goal?
We became the first global business to develop a fully integrated execution model for CEO branding. We develop brand strategy and execute through PR, social media, book deals, design, and strategic positioning. We’ve always been willing to push the envelope and go further. Our offering now includes congressional advisory and a high touch C- level career advisement service.
How do you target your audience?
We offered too many services and had to nail down what key areas we would focus and spend the time to enhance. This has narrowed our audience down to specific target that we have ample of experience to execute.
What are your business expansion strategies? How do you go about?
We listen to our clients and are constantly scanning the marketplace. You have to be very thoughtful in doing this. At one point we were offering too many services and had to go through a complexity reduction exercise to ensure we focused on the things we can be world class.
We also exposed a weakness within our industry. Most firms in the PR sphere are unwilling to commit to metrics. They just tell the customer they can buy time and they will get their “best efforts.” However, that is nebulous and often leads to dissatisfaction. We decided to build our service to have measurable results. This creates more trust from the beginning. Then, we are willing to go past the initial contract period if we haven’t hit all the metrics for the agreement. This signals to clients we are fully committed to their success.
What advice would you like to give to the budding entrepreneurs?
Thinking I was entitled to growth early on was a falsehood that created major challenges. It led to making irrational spending decisions. I would encourage every entrepreneur to be appreciative for any growth they have had and to continuously strive for more without assuming it.
What do you think are the important factors for a business to be successful?
Building Relationships, Partnerships, and Connections (Human to Human Connections)
– Many of our networks and successes have derived from building long lasting partnership. We go out of our way to connect and network with others. Hiring the brightest minds and people passionate at what they do – A company that is made up of people who enjoy what they do and are good at it brings natural success and innovation.
Diversity in the workplace – Diversity is key that gathers many backgrounds allowing us to reaching clients all over the world.
Client Commitment, Satisfaction, and Trust – Half of our business is word of mouth. We work on gaining the trust of our clients so they are safe in knowing we will execute what we planned to do.
Reputation – We have a reputation of integrity and value meeting our goals.
What is your everyday routine at work like?
We have daily team meetings to start the day and keep the flow of our company clear and efficient. Many of us are working side by side with clients tackling tasks that lead to an overall achievement. It’s important that everyone remains in the loop. The start and end of the day is not regulated by a supervisor or manager, but we give our team the freedom to accomplish tasks in their own time.
We have the freedom to work in office or from home providing a relax and enjoyable atmosphere.
Where do you envision your firm in the coming years?
I see us as being globally recognized as the most unique and complete solution for CEOs and C-level executives that understand the power of human2human (H2H) marketing.
“We are the most tenured integrated CEO brand strategy and execution firm in the world and have written extensively on CEO branding for nearly a decade before it became a more mainstream term.”
“Our corporate and CEO branding clients have ranged from executive corporate branding clients at Fortune 50 companies to multimillionaire CEO’s and founders of entrepreneurial ventures.”