Why personal profiles are driving corporate value
1 July 2022
What shapes an organisation’s reputation? There are of course a hundred different factors, including the quality of its output, its social responsibility and workplace culture – but high amongst these is executive leadership.
What a leader says and how they act have a powerful impact on how their organisation is perceived. It’s why executive profiling has been a mainstay of corporate PR for decades. A great profile piece will demonstrate a leader’s knowledge and vision for their company, instilling trust and confidence in stakeholders and helping its share price ascend.
Today, profiling is no longer confined to earned media. Over the last two decades, social media has multiplied the platforms available to business leaders and their organisations – and the opportunities to have their voices heard. While a stellar piece on BBC or in the FT will always boost a business’ reputation – leaders’ personal social media profiles are now delivering real corporate value.
According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, when considering a job, 60% of employees want their CEO to speak out on the issues they care about. Over half (56%) of professionals say a business executive’s presence on social media positively influences their purchase decisions, while 66% say they would be more likely to recommend a company or brand if they followed a company executive on social media. Social media presence is clearly having an increasing influence on business success. Being visible is no longer just a requirement of the leaders of the world’s biggest companies, it’s becoming an imperative across the corporate world.
Why is getting personal so powerful?
Stakeholders have always been interested in leaders’ experience, but now they also want to know about their interests, ethics and opinions. It’s not about sharing lunch updates or weekend plans – or being a corporate mouthpiece – but demonstrating a level of transparency that builds understanding and trust among stakeholders, which in turn benefits the business. Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and founder of Ellevest, a company that deals with finance and investing for women, is a case in point. Sallie received LinkedIn’s Top Voices accolade in 2019. Earlier this year, Ellevest raised $53 million in Series B funding.
Social media – and Linkedin specifically – also provides leaders with a public platform to talk about the topics that matter most to their stakeholders. We’ve seen this repeatedly over the last week, with leaders sharing their responses to the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the United States. As a contentious issue, ‘taking sides’ won’t please everyone all the time. However, by sharing their views on their personal profiles, leaders are able to demonstrate their empathy and engagement with an important issue in a way that reflects positively on their organisations and generates huge amounts of corporate value.
Lauren Hobart, CEO of DICKS sporting goods, is a case in point. Lauren’s LinkedIn post on the organisation’s response to Roe vs Wade has been shared over 200,000 times. What’s more – it has generated a stream of highly emotive reactions from employees across social channels, which have amassed millions of views. This is a clear example of how leadership passion and transparency can inspire employee advocacy and add significant value to an organisation’s employer brand.
PRs providing social support
Most leaders get the value of social media – but developing thoughtful articles, posting on relevant topics and responding sensitively to others is a time consuming process. Many simply don’t have this time spare to engage with social media platforms, let alone unlock their full potential to target specific audiences. Some also worry about their ability to use LinkedIn properly, and that committing a faux-pas could open them up to ridicule.
This is a huge missed opportunity – and the reason so many organisations are turning to their PR teams to extend their executive profiling remit to their social channels. At With, we’re working with a number of leaders to help them use their personal profiles to drive corporate value. Often, this work will be the natural extension of Audience ID research and messaging work. This enables us to identify the right topics for specific leaders and their organisations to engage with. It also means that, when they arise, we can respond without ever needing to shoot from the hip.
Crucially, we don’t just ask leaders to hand over the reins to their accounts; we work closely with them to ensure that communications capture their tone of voice and personality. Reposting a cookie-cutter corporate announcement won’t drive value for organisations or their stakeholders. However, sharing a considered post or piece that includes their take on the news and what it means for their audience and industry will. Since starting work with one leader, the approach has generated a 26% increase in channel views, a 106% increase in reactions and a 343% increase in post shares.
If you’d like to hear more about how we can help your leadership team build their profiles to drive corporate value, please get in touch.