by: Matt Kelly, Managing Partner
If you’re familiar with the work we do at LEVEL5, you’ve no doubt heard us say that sustainable, brand-driven growth comes from understanding the value of a promise consistently kept™. While we maintain that this is the most meaningful driver of an organization’s growth, we recognize it’s not the only one.
Our brand experts spend a lot of time in primary research, quantifying the most powerful drivers of behaviour in order to help inform our clients’ growth strategies and transformation efforts. One driver we haven’t yet explored in this space is the CEO’s public profile.
When it comes to corporate leader profiles, less is no longer best
In a pre-digital era, flying under the radar was the norm. In fact, it was the preference. Only those associated with scandal tended to make headlines. In other words, no news was good news. These days, however, we expect to know what everyone is doing at every minute of every day – CEOs and top executives included. Indeed, those of us who don’t have some sort of social media presence actually risk being regarded with suspicion.
In a survey conducted by Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research, 81% of global executives expressed their belief that external CEO engagement plays an essential role when it comes to building a company’s reputation. Furthermore, they believe that the reputation of their own CEO accounts for nearly half of their company’s reputation (45%) and half of its market value (44%). And that applies regardless of whether their reputation be good or bad.
What also came out of this survey was the strong and positive correlation between a CEO’s reputation and his or her ability to attract investors, generate positive media, maximize crisis protection, and attract and retain talent.
Ask yourself this: what has your profile done for your company lately?
Have you, and do you give your stakeholders a clear picture of what the individual behind your organization stands for? Have you taken and are you taking steps to build a deeper connection with your public? How aligned and supportive is your messaging to your brand’s promise to the marketplace?
Keep in mind it no longer takes a press release or book deal to reach a mass audience. Simply look to the content marketing and social media capabilities within your own company. Therein lies the means with which to reach your customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders regularly and authentically.
For inspiration, you need only look to Elon Musk. With a following of 17 million or so, the co-founder, product architect and CEO at Tesla is a perfect example of how:
“leaders in the making can leverage social media to not just create impact but also encourage debate, generate conversations, and show what it takes to be a leader, through something as simple as a message on social media.2”
Most would agree that highly regarded CEOs have a clear vision for the future. They inspire and motivate others. They communicate well and are acutely focused on delighting customers. At LEVEL5, we’d add two points to this description of the esteemed CEO. First, brand-driven CEOs know what truly drives their marketplace. And second, they create, deliver and advocate for their organization, internally and externally, through their brand strategy and the stories they tell. The same goes for all senior executives in highly regarded branded organizations.
To stay on course, make time for an alignment check.
Ask yourself, is your brand’s growth strategy clear and broadly understood within your organization? And if so, does it align with your own reputation-building strategy? If you want to go the full distance, it’s not enough to be remarkable on the inside. You need to have a clear and compelling go-to market approach that stretches beyond the confines of your organization. Only then can you, personally, make a positive impact on your company’s reputation and its value.
Need a hand leveraging your personal profile to your ownable, competitive advantage? Get in touch. We’d be glad to help.