How to humanise a brand through its executives
The days when corporate executives were an inaccessible elite are long gone. In the age of the Internet and startup culture, corporate decision-makers not only have to be approachable, but they must also contribute to the creation and positioning of the brand. It’s a PR trend that we believe will gain traction this year. For this reason, here are some tips to humanise these profiles.
Create an "About Us" section on the website
The best way to let the different audiences of your company (customers, investors, suppliers, future employees, etc.) know who is behind the brand is to create an “About Us” section on the website. This should include, in addition to a description of the team, a list of the main executives with a summary of their careers. It is also advisable to include links to their professional social networks and a contact email.
Prepare biographical summaries
In addition to the information available on the web, it is a good idea to have “bios” or biographical summaries of key decision-makers. It is not a matter of putting their entire CV, but of summarising in a few paragraphs their career, main achievements and what they contribute to the company. These texts can form the basis of the “About Us” section of the website and will also be useful when introducing them to the media and at events.
Create corporate profiles for social media
As the case of Elon Musk demonstrates, it is wise to keep personal and professional accounts separate. Boundaries can be negotiated with each one of the executives or set by corporate policy. In any case, it is beneficial for top executives to have a full LinkedIn profile, which not only enhances their personal brand but also reinforces brand positioning, as we discuss in this post. In addition, they can collaborate in other areas such as the contents of the corporate profile.
Conduct media trainings for executives
Today’s leaders often have outstanding communication skills – but that doesn’t always mean they are prepared to deal with the media and social media! It is advisable to conduct regular media training with company executives. The aim is to help them convey brand messages in a consistent way, to adapt messages according to the communication channel, to take advantage of media opportunities and to prevent slips in their public appearances and communications.
Introduce new executives to the media
A best practice when a top executive joins the company is to communicate their appointment to the media through a press release. Apart from generating some media coverage, it conveys a message of dynamism and business growth. Another possibility is to organise a media tour, as in this example from Glassdoor. As well as putting into practice what was learned, it can generate additional opportunities, such as interviews or articles.
It is also important that the image of the executive is the same for both external and internal audiences. Because it is no longer enough to sell a false image, the message and the image must be aligned.
Seek out (and take advantage of) editorial opportunities
The best way to achieve a regular media presence for executives is to look for editorial opportunities and take advantage of them as they arise. For example, on the occasion of their appointment or a major announcement, you can offer media interviews with spokespersons or op-eds. It is also common to receive requests to participate in features on company or industry-related topics. If journalists see that the executives and the brand are responsive to their requests, they will be more likely to consider them.
Organise events to encourage direct contact
Despite the proximity and immediacy of the Internet and social media, face-to-face interactions are still the best way to establish connections. That is why it is advisable for company executives to regularly participate in their own or third-party events that allow them to interact directly with journalists, customers and other audiences. From press conferences to trade fairs and breakfast briefings, there are many occasions throughout the year to implement all of the above and bring executives closer to the people.
Do you think top executives know how to reach the public or are there still many barriers? Share and tell us what you think on social media, we are listening!
Milena Ivanovic is Senior Account Manager