CEOs More Concerned with Reputation Management Than Ever Before

Study from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.

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Yeah, we went there again.

Earlier today, a study from the New Jersey branch of PRSA told us that more business executives have begun to see the value of PR even if they don’t quite understand how it works.

A separate study released yesterday by Weber Shandwick reinforces that conclusion: CEOs in particular care more about managing their own reputations than ever before.

The CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Eracreated by Weber and KRC Research, started with a basic premise: the public’s perception of both individual chief executives and “CEOs” in general has declined in recent years following a major recession and countless examples of execs behaving badly.

The public’s general perception of a given company depends, in large part, on what its most visible representative says and does…and given the current media equation, The Lloyd Blankfeins and Howard Schultzes have more power to drive related “stories” than in years past.

Weber/KRC surveyed more than 1,700 executives up to and including the C-suite in 19 countries to reach these conclusions:

  • 45 percent of execs tie the company’s reputation directly to the CEO’s reputation
  • Half think this connection will grow stronger in coming years

The main reasons they think reputation management is important:

  • Attracting investors
  • Earning positive media coverage
  • More effectively dealing with crises

It also helps attract talent: at least 50 percent of respondents said that the reputation of their company’s CEO played a large role in inspiring them to take the job and convincing them to stay.

Perhaps most encouraging was the fact that these findings do not vary by gender.

Here’s an interesting graph tracking the factors that determine reputation (according to participants):

weber graph

The conclusion? In order to maintain a great reputation, CEOs must be both humble and engaged, or public-facing…but NOT overtly political. That stuff needs to happen behind closed doors via anonymous PAC donations.

The answer? More PR and media training, of course!

Here’s the infographic:

ceo-reputation-premium-infographic