Struggling to engage your CEO in comms? You’re not alone

Posted on: 2018-06-29 in Opinion

Laura Tallett, Director of Business & Corporate at Speed Communications explains why an engaged and visible CEO will drive credibility and respect for any business.  

We all know that for a communications programme to succeed, buy in needs to come from the top and in the B2B world, it is especially crucial to have an engaged senior leadership team. The harsh reality is that many businesses find that their CEOs are disconnected from their marketing programmes, failing to invest adequate time and attention in being the face of the organisation.
A perception gap
Our recent Leadership Marketing Gap report has revealed a clear perception gap between what CEOs and CMOs think that involvement in marketing actually means. CEOs often believe they are involved, but almost half of CMOs struggle to engage their CEO and there is a discrepancy surrounding the role of the senior leadership team in marketing processes.
The amount of time dedicated to communications is reflective of how highly you view its importance, and businesses face the challenge of convincing CEOs of the value of marketing and communications. CEOs often cite ‘lack of time’ as a main reason for not engaging and if this barrier to engagement is to be broken, senior leadership must be convinced that communications is worth their time. 
The CEO as a spokesperson
Many CEOs would prefer not to be the spokesperson for their business due to a lack of confidence and media experience although by embracing the role of chief storyteller for their company, CEOs can shape the brand’s identity and reputation. Senior leadership presence in communications gives the brand its personality and has a further importance in a B2B context by adding credibility to business messages.
Companies that embrace fully integrated marketing programmes like Uber and Amazon take a leading role on the global stage. These business giants are marketing-led, and their strategies dictate every move they make.  
A CEO can set the tone for the business and in many ways, is the essential member of the marketing team. They should be the leading voice of the business and at the centre of a business aligned marketing and communications strategy, making the need to engage them even greater.
Overcoming the barriers
Convincing CEOs that communications programmes are an investment and not an expense can be crucial in facilitating engagement. While CEOs are rightly focused on growth and financial return, if marketing teams can demonstrate the importance of the communications in driving brand value, they could find that their senior teams take more notice.
By discussing brand reputation and highlighting the value of communications to a wider business strategy, CMOs can demonstrate the importance of what they do to their leadership team and convince them to play a more active role.
An engaged and visible CEO will drive credibility and respect for any business. Companies with an integrated marketing programme require a CEO who understands the importance of communications and their role in elevating the brand. Engagement from the top can facilitate a strategy that strengthens brand identity that will ultimately lead to growth and success. 

Laura Tallett is Director of Business & Corporate at Speed Communications
UK Agency Awards Winner 2016

About this blog

The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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