Public relations is likely not at the top of a CEO’s priority list, as they are more focused on successfully running and growing a company. However, executive visibility is an integral component of a successful public relations program. In many cases, it is unrealistic to expect we can call on the leaders of organizations on a weekly basis for media inquiries and opportunistic press interviews. When we do call on the C-suite, we strive to make the best use of their time and only serve up opportunities that will be the most valuable to the client. So while we fully understand a CEO’s time can be difficult to get hold of, it’s also really important to be able to collaborate to maximize the impact of the communication effort.
As a CEO, having a voice in the media on topical issues impacting your industry and business not only garners credible visibility for your company, but it also adds a humanizing element that gives a face to the corporate image. Whether it’s participating in a high level media interview or roundtable panel, or penning a thought provoking Op-Ed, the engaged CEO helps us create an image that goes beyond the title, and firmly positions him or her as an insightful leader with a compelling point of view.
Some CEOs at large and well-known companies organically generate press without much effort at all. This press coverage is sometimes unintentional, so it’s a smart move to create some balance and focus on a select few opportunities where the CEO will have a more active role in crafting the content that is produced, and speaks more directly to key ideas and themes that are most relevant to key audiences.
Again, frequent participation is not always necessary, unless that is something the executive desires. But if we are given even just a bit of access to the CEO and thus enabled to put forth a strategic and collaborative effort towards executive visibility, it increases the impact of the communication program and is well worth the time.