This poor standing of CEOs is not just amatter of bruised egos. Improving CEOreputation is inextricably linked to improvedcompany reputation. Thus, as CEO reputa-tions improve, so do the reputations of theircompanies. As
New York Times
columnistand renowned author Thomas Friedmanwrote, “In this kind of world, leadership atevery level of government and businessmatters more than ever.”Most CEOs are acutely aware that their of-ces provide unique platforms from which tocommunicate not just internally, butexternally as well.No other businessleader can soreliably provideinformationabout a compa-ny’s prospects orpromote corpo-rate citizenry in away that will solikely be listenedto and actedupon by investors,employees, customers, regulators, mediaand others. According to Alan Miller, chair-man and CEO of Universal Health Services,“Stakeholders want to hear from businessleaders— in particular CEOs— on a regularbasis. They want to know what we’re think-ing, and not just about our own company,but about the larger industry we represent,the communities we serve, and the worldwe live in. We have a unique vantage pointin that we represent the broadest setof constituencies.”CEOs are aware of their differentiated “nar-rator” role. But this doesn’t mean that theyare taking full advantage of that opportunityor quite realize how anxious stakehold-ers are to hear from them— for example,previous Weber Shandwick research foundthat during the nancial crisis, 71% of U.S.employees wanted more communicationsfrom the top. In a world of 24/7 media,hyperlinks and 12-hour news cycles, nobetter spokesperson exists than the CEO.With 500 million people around the worldon Facebook and many people being rstintroduced to CEOs on YouTube, CEOsmust become more comfortable with all themedia options now available if they wish tobe heard and share points of view. Now isthe time for CEOs to take greater responsi-bility for openly and effectively communicat-ing if they wanttheir companies tobe listened to.Weber Shandwickis well known forits thought leader-ship services onCEO and corpo-rate reputationand how CEOsbest communicateinternally and ex-ternally. Over thepast several years,our rm’s researchhas highlighted the increasing importanceof executive communications in determining
he reputation of theCEO is in trouble.
Amere 14% of Americanexecutives hold a positiveview of chief executives,according to a 2009 poll byWeber Shandwick with KRCResearch. Surely, the imageof CEOs among the generalpublic is even worse.
What CEOs say or don’t say hastaken on added signicance. CEOsmust more actively narrate theircompany stories with an “inline”approach that taps into both onlineand oine channels. Leaders mustpurposely manage their corporateand social reputations.