By Allie MacPherson on January 30, 2024

Boosting CEO and leadership visibility & corporate reputation in the digital age

CEOs take note

Executive visibility impacts nearly every aspect of business, including employee retention and talent attraction, customer trust and loyalty, investor assurance and more. LinkedIn reports that roughly 56% of business professionals say their purchase choices are swayed by the social media presence of CEO. Furthermore, of those who follow a company's top executi​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ve online, 66% are more likely to give a brand endorsement. 

By strategically demonstrating their industry expertise and deep insights through earned, owned and social media activity, leaders build their visibility, influence and credibility. They move beyond being brand amplifiers to steering their company's strategic narrative and image.

Executive positioning in the digital age

Leveraging social media for executive positioning involves a nuanced understanding of different mediums. For instance, LinkedIn is ideal for sharing deeper industry insights, while X and Threads allow for more immediate, concise engagement on real-time topics. Instagram can be used to give a more personal touch to an executive's profile, sharing moments from conferences, key events or behind-the-scenes looks at company operations. 

This multi-platform approach ensures a comprehensive digital footprint, enhancing visibility and impact across diverse audience segments. However, it's important to note that not every social media channel needs to be utilized with executive visibility. Instead, focus on where the audience you’re trying to reach is most active and consider the action you want them to take. From there, build a content and channel strategy accordingly.

Fostering trust and transparency in leadership commun​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ication

The following are some key strategies for creating more transparent and trustworthy leadership visibility:

  1. Consistent and authentic communication: Consistency in messaging and authenticity in tone is vital. CEOs and other executive leaders should aim to regularly post content that reflects their genuine beliefs and the core values of their organization. This could range from sharing industry insights to commenting on relevant social issues.
  2. Leveraging multimedia content: Diversifyin​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​g the types of content — such as videos, photos, and podcasts — will help reach a broader audience. Multimedia content can be more engaging and is often more accessible to different segments of an audience.
  3. Personal stories and experiences: Sharing personal stories or experiences can make CEOs and other company leaders more relatable and approachable. These stories help forge personal connections with the audience, a crucial element in trust-building.
  4. Interactive and engaging platforms: Platforms that allow for interaction, such as LinkedIn and X, are excellent for engaging with diverse stakeholders. With 7 out of 10 journalists citing X as a primary tool used in their work, the C-suite team can leverage these platforms to connect with media and industry influencers.
  5. Monitoring and responding to feedback: Actively monitoring social media and other digital platforms for feedback and responding appropriately is crucial. This responsiveness shows that the company values its stakeholders' opinions and is committed to maintaining open lines of communication.
  6. Media training Investment: Provide CEOs and executive leadership with media training to enhance their communication skills to enable them to effectively convey messages in various formats and confidently handle interviews.
  7. Proactive crisis communication planning: Develop a comprehensive crisis communication plan with clear protocols for addressing different scenarios, ensuring CEOs and executive leadership are well-prepared to respond promptly to challenges.
  8. Thought leadership engagement: Encourage CEOs and other C-suite leaders to participate in thought leadership initiatives, such as speaking at industry conferences, publishing articles and engaging in relevant online discussions.
  9. Impact measurement and analysis: Utilize analytics and feedback mechanisms to gauge the impact of executive visibility efforts. Analyze data to assess audience engagement and adjust strategies as needed.

Success stories in executive positioning

The corporate landscape is dotted with compelling CEO narratives and executives who have expertly applied branding strategies to redefine themselves while simultaneously elevating their company's profile. The strategic rebranding of Splunk, under the visionary leadership of CEO Gary Steele and the guidance of Highwire, is a standout example. 

Navigating through a tumultuous period marked by executive reshuffles and a slump in stock performance, we embarked on a bold course to reposition Splunk. Pivoting from its established data-centric roots, Splunk underwent a remarkable transformation to emerge as a key player in the security industry. This strategic shift involved leveraging Gary's ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​extensive experience in the security sector, formalizing the company's security threat research team (SURGe) and weaving Splunk’s new security narrative into every piece of news, activity and initiative

Steele's intentional engagement in significant industry forums and his targeted media outreach were vital in reshaping Splunk's image as an innovator in the security domain. The results of this strategic redirection were outstanding: a surge in stock prices by 56% from October 2022 to March 2023, a 37% growth in annual revenue and a noteworthy enhancement of $20 million in free cash flow. Read our Splunk case study for the full story.

Integrating CEO and executive leaders visibility into corporate strategy

From Splunk's success, we see that executive branding goes well beyond mere personal image development. It's about aligning that image with the strategic goals and messaging of the company. It requires a comprehensive market analysis, identifying distinct strengths, and utilizing these to establish a commanding leadership presence.

Through strategic communication and promoting the company's initiatives, products and service, executives can positively impact brand perception, foster trust and boost credibility. Social media and digital platforms also provide powerful opportunities to build their personal brands, aligning them with their company's image. This holistic approach can drive revenue growth, foster organizational development, and create new avenues for business advancement.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​At Highwire, we excel in boosting executive visibility while enhancing corporate reputation. Our expert team crafts strategies that integrate an executive's personal brand with the broader objectives of your company. Reach out to discover how we can enhance your CEO and executive leadership’s profiles and amplify your company’s brand narrative.

Published by Allie MacPherson January 30, 2024