Most CEOs are acutely aware that their offices provide unique platforms from which to communicate. No other business leader can so reliably provide information about a company’s prospects or promote corporate citizenry in a way that will so likely be listened to and acted upon by investors, employees, customers, regulators, media and others. But this doesn’t mean that they are taking full advantage of that opportunity or quite realize how anxious stakeholders are to hear from them.
Weber Shandwick research has highlighted the increasing importance of executive communications in determining how companies and other institutions are perceived. The analysis revealed results that were good and not-so-good. Robust signs exist that CEOs are actively taking charge of their corporate reputations and demonstrating leadership through communications. But when it comes to digital engagement, CEOs are generally “unsocial.” As more CEOs take on the mantle of “chief narrator,” however, this will change and change fast.
Despite all the talk about the demise of traditional media outlets, it still remains the preferred outlet for CEO external communications. What is changing is how CEOs are slowly coupling their traditional media engagement with social networks and channels where they can reach more stakeholders and give their companies a much needed human face or connection.
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Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross is chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick