What does this phrase mean and why do CEOs and speechwriters rank it as a more important reason for giving a speech than corporate reputation or marketing?
The e-mail read something like this: “Hi, Ron. The Chief is warming up to the idea of getting out more often, but he doesn’t want to come across as trying to be a celebrity. He has some things he wants to say, but he is still reluctant to take the next step. Can you help? We get the branding and reputation things, but do you know of some other reasons we could put in front of him so he could give us the go ahead on this thing?”
A fair question, especially in light of the dismal failure of trying to meld the CEO and the corporate brand into one. So I wasn’t surprised at the question. But I was surprised that I didn’t have an immediate answer.
I surveyed randomly selected Fortune 500 communications professionals and asked the question, “Not counting the financial community, which answer best describes the reason your speakers address external audiences?”
Their answers, in order of priority, were 1) thought leadership, 2) to enhance the corporate reputation, 3) executive visibility, and 4) marketing.