We may not think about it that way—we’re simply drafting a memo to employees or writing the “president’s message” for an annual report—but few executives reach the corner office because of their writing skills. They get there for other reasons: great ideas, an appetite for risk, a deep understanding of customers or technical prowess, among other attributes.
As PR professionals, it’s our job to help executives communicate their ideas, plans and priorities in their own voices. Some executives are eloquent writers and inspiring speakers, comfortable with employees and investors alike.
Still, even the most gifted communicators can’t possibly create all the content demanded today. Customers want to know more about the people who lead the companies they patronize. Executives seek to amplify their own voices through “thought leadership.”
It’s up to PR professionals to make sure our CEO’s voice, and not our own, shines through in these messages. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, CEO credibility fell 12 points from the previous year, to 37 percent. In this low-trust environment, communication from the top must be authentic. (Find the 2018 Trust Barometer here.)