Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 5
       

The Branding of a CEO

A recent report from the Malaysia Star describes how CEOs are reaching out to PR firms to polish their public images.  This is a trend that we are seeing around the globe.

The issue has been brought to a head by the many corporate scandals of the past year.  CEOs are beginning to realize that a communications program is essential to dealing with crisis situations.  How these situations are handled by those in charge makes a large impact on company stakeholders.

With information instantly available, the old adage “deny, deny, deny” doesn’t work anymore.  Stonewalling is virtually impossible, and in most cases will have a deleterious effect on a company’s image.  It was precisely this type of executive behavior that exacerbated several of this year’s scandals.

The general consensus in the PR industry is that most of these situations could have been handled much better.  Apparently executives believe the same, as the Star reports that many are taking an active approach to contacting PR firms about polishing their communication ability.

More and more, CEOs are realizing that they are a brand extension of their company.  Just as marketing executives strive to improve brand positioning, top executives are working on improving the quality and appeal of their “brand”.

Looking at some of the most successful executives, we can see how well this strategy pays off in the real world.  In the ‘80s when we thought of Chrysler (and in many cases still today), we thought of Lee Iacocca.  Say the words “Wal-Mart” and Sam Walton immediately comes to mind.  When someone mentions “Wendy’s” you think about Dave, not his daughter.  People don’t buy Berkshire Hathaway stock; they buy Warren Buffett.

How does this affect your company?  Consider how you have positioned your chief executives.  Are they considered leaders in their field?  If not, it may be time to do a little branding of your own.