The days when CEOs and other business leaders would choose to keep a low profile are gone; and perhaps, forever. A new study by Weber Shandwick in conjunction with KRC Research reveals that CEO engagement is critical to corporate reputation and is facilitated by high demand for content to grow the business. What this means is that today’s CEOs are expected to be seen internally, externally and virtually.

The CEOs’ Mandate

The research report which is aptly titled, The CEO Reputation Premium, states that 81% of global executives believe external CEO engagement is now a mandate for building corporate reputation and that CEO’s reputation contributes nearly half of both their company’s reputation (45%) and market value (44%). And 50% of the executives believe that CEO reputation will matter even more in the coming years.

More Corporate Gains Than You Think

In addition to enhancing corporate reputation and market value, CEO’s reputation can do some more, according to the study. Take a look at the statistics below:


CEO Reputation Factors

The study which polled 1,700 executives worldwide to better understand what is expected of business leaders today reveals that highly regarded CEOs are those who have a clear vision for the company they lead, who are inspirational and motivational to others, who are honest and ethical and who communicate well internally as well as externally.

This is how the statistics for highly regarded CEOs and the poorly  regarded ones stand on external communication.


Can CEO Visibility Harm Corporate Reputation

Most people believe that CEO visibility can harm corporate reputation. The study reveals it is more likely to improve it. See the statistics below:


Visibility – Activities For CEOs

The study reveals what visibility-activities will pay good reputation dividends if the CEO engages in them as shown below:


What About Social Media Engagement?

CEO’s social media engagement comes with reputational rewards, according to the study. Highly regarded CEOs are more than three times as likely as CEOs with weak reputations to participate in social media.

What Lessons For PR Professionals?

The lessons are obvious:

  • CEOs that are not upfront in communication with internal and external stakeholders are a minus to corporate reputation. It is the duty of PR professionals to prepare them adequately and build their confidence to engage in visibility-activities.
  • The CEO needs multiple platforms to express himself and shine the spotlight on the company. PR executives are expected to identify which platforms are best suited to the industry they operate, the personality and competence of the CEO.

CEO social media engagement is not just an option. It is the way to go. Blogging is known to improve the CEO’s  profile. It demonstrates thought leadership. Having a Twitter Account and building followership with key stakeholders in advance can be a great resource in crisis communication.