Times are changing in today’s business world. Gone are the days where the thought “any press is good press” holds true. It is now becoming more evident that creating and maintaining a positive reputation is a driving factor in the overall value for any company, and building that reputation starts at the top, with the company’s CEO.
A CEO is unfortunately always under the microscope. There is nothing they can do to avoid the attention of the public or the press. In today’s 24/7 media world, where anyone with the internet and social media page can report “the news”, it is imperative that all executives be mindful of their perception, how their actions or inactions can help shapes it.
The Importance of a CEO’s Reputation
According to executives surveyed by Weber Shandwick a “company leader’s reputation” is the fourth highest influencer on the overall view of the Company’s Reputation itself. As a matter of fact, it’s now becoming more evident that a CEO’s reputation is directly correlated to the overall reputation of their company.
A CEO’s Reputation Effect On Recruiting and Retention
A CEO’s struggling reputation can affect more than just the present viability of their business, however. It can also hinder their ability to hire top level candidates because of their poor reputation. Not being able to bring on high quality candidates is an issue that can haunt a company for years on end.
Bringing on the standard of employee you desire is the best and most important step in making sure that you are delivering the highest level services to your clients. Not to mention – a CEO’s, and subsequently their businesses’, poor reputation may make it more difficult to hold on to the employees that you already have.
In a survey done by CR Magazine it says that 72% of people find it important to work for a company that is led by a CEO who makes Corporate Responsibility and Environmental Issues a priority.
In other words, they not only want a business savvy CEO who is going to grow profits, and keep their jobs secure but also someone who is going to be viewed in a positive light by the public at large.
CEO’s Help Earn Consumer’s Trust
Remember when “word of mouth” was one of, if not the, main focus of advertising around the world? That was, and is, still true because people trusted the source in which they were acquiring their information from. Well, according to a survey done by BrightLocal, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Of course customers have some qualifications to their “yes” answer. Customers still have to not only feel comfortable with the authenticity of the reviews they read, but also with the leadership of the company they’re supporting. This isn’t unexpected, however. It is not coincidence that some of the more trusted brands in the world, are also some of the most successful.
On Forbes Top 25 Most Reputable Companies of 2016 List Rolex, Walt Disney, Google, and BMW round out the top four. It’s also not a coincidence that the CEO’s of these four corporations are among the world’s most trusted.
There can be no question that reputation and success go hand-in-hand. If you lose the consumer’s trust with poor reviews or with a negative corporate/CEO image, you may never get it back.
How A CEO Can Create A Positive Reputation
1. Be Social
Being active on social media is more than just a vanity exercise or a fun way to see what your clients are saying, it’s also a key way you as an individual and as a company can maintain and improve your online reputation.
In a 2015 article, by FirstPoint Marketing Communications, it discusses some of the core reasons why a CEO should have a social media profile, namely, a Twitter account.
- A social CEO is seen as modern
- A social CEO can react quickly
- A social CEO is a leader
- A social CEO strengthens their company’s communication strategy.
Twitter isn’t the only method for becoming a socially active CEO. There are many other avenues a CEO should explore to make sure they are getting the full benefit of being socially relevant, some of those are:
Making sure all of the outlets have a current picture, correct biographical information, and are regularly updated is key to maintaining a positive social media reputation.
Blogs such as this one from the CEO of St. Luke’s Health Systems in Boise, Idaho is a perfect example of how a current picture combined with a regularly update blog, and biographical information can lead to a positive public perception, leaving nothing to chance.
2. Be Transparent
Being transparent as a CEO can lead to some serious benefits both personally and professionally. Unfortunately however, many CEO’s only become transparent when trying to own up to a mistake. When in fact, being transparent from the beginning may have acquired them more good faith than an apology ever would.
3. Be a Good Communicator
What you say as a CEO can hold a lot of power, words have the ability to inform, persuade, guide, assure, and inspire, but no matter how important you message is, how you deliver your message is just as critical. If you come off as tone deaf, or callus your ability to connect with your company, the public, or the media will be strained. As Richard Branson has stated, ‘Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.
4. Be Humble
Creating a positive outlook as a CEO isn’t always about making yourself a household name. Staying humble, and out of the spotlight is actually a more effective pathway to a positive outlook according to a Weber Shandwick Media Search.
5. Avoid a ‘Blank Slate’
If you don’t tell your own story, someone else is going to. It is as simple as that. In today’s 24/7 media-market, anyone with a social media account can post anything they please about you, true or not, and it can be taken as fact. Especially if there is nothing else out there for people to know about you. Make sure you take actionable steps to protect yourself and company against future, and even your past mistakes.
- Create a PR Strategy
- Build and Monitor Your Executive Brand
- Understand The Importance of Being Authentic, Transparent, and Responsive
Have you registered your name as a domain? If not – you should. First off, this keeps someone else from obtaining this valuable piece of real estate from you, and possibly using it against you in the future. Secondly – you can use this domain as a powerful tool. It should be enhanced with pictures, blogs, lists of experience. Anything you’d want people to see if they were searching your name on the internet. Create what you want people to see.
Advantage Of Having a Positive CEO Reputation
Having a positive reputation as a CEO can lead to more than just increased market value for their company, it also comes with ancillary benefits such as:
- Attracting Investors
- Positive Media Attention
- Crisis Protection
While on the other hand, the place a poor CEO reputation is going to be felt the most is of course the bottom line. A CEO’s reputation can not only cost themselves but also their business massive profits. One study reports the value of unhappy customers at an astounding $537 Billion dollars. While adversely “satisfied customers” contribute 2.6 times more revenue than “somewhat satisfied” customers and 14 times more revenue than “somewhat dissatisfied customers”.
How Can Having a Negative Reputation Cost You?
Don’t believe a CEO’s reputation can have a tangible effect on a company’s bottom line? Then you need to read up on Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick got himself into some hot water over a couple incidents, one involving an argument with an UBER driver. Aside from the damages his PR misstep cost UBER, his eventual replacement Dara Khosrowshahi cost UBER around $200 million in compensation and stock options. This is one of the more tangible examples of how a poor CEO reputation can cost an individual, and a company large amounts of income.
This is not to mention the cost of trying to clean up a soiled reputation online. Trying to get damaging information off the internet can be a costly process. Information that can haunt CEO’s are things such as: private emails made public, social media posts, or past arrests and subsequent mugshots.
The monetary cost of these cleanup operations can range in price. As in all things, however, you get what you pay for. BrandYourself estimates that some campaigns cost between $5,000 and $15,000, depending on what you are trying to accomplish and the time frame in which you are trying to achieve it.
Unfortunately, that seems to be the lower-end of the price point for what is considered an effective reputation restoration campaign. Other outlets list the going price from anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 per month (!).
Has your reputation has been damaged online?
Hiring the right people to step in and help is critical. That is where Minc Law can step in. The Internet Attorneys at Minc Law have years of experience removing content from the internet and assisting clients with online crises. Minc Law offer 100% guaranteed results or your money back for many content removal services.
If you are lucky enough to still have a positive reputation online, and want to make sure that it stays that way, Minc Law can help there too. Minc Law works with online marketing experts to monitor and prevent intellectual property infringement and defamatory cyberattacks. Our team uses deep web search tools to help our clients monitor what is being said about them and discover unfair trade practice, counterfeiting, and infringement of intellectual property rights. We worry about all the things you don’t have time for. We are the first, and most effective, line of defense.