The other day, the top communicator at a massive holding company told us something startling about how her company’s former CEO viewed communications.
“He wanted us to be like a train that passes in the night,” she said. “No one needed to know we were there.”
We’ve seen them before: Reluctant CEOs who feel uncomfortable in the spotlight or worry that they are being egotistical if they conduct media interviews, speak at conferences, or otherwise work to tell the stories of their brands.
So, what’s a communications leader to do if their CEO is too humble to be the face of their brand?
We suggest they watch Ted Lasso together.
More specifically, they need to watch a scene from the series finale. It’s when Trent Crimm, a former football reporter who goes behind the scenes the entire season to chronicle the team, gets the note Ted left on a draft copy of, “The Lasso Way,” a behind-the-scenes book Crimm is writing about the AFC Richmond Football Club Lasso had managed for three seasons.
“One small suggestion,” Ted writes. “I’d change the title. It’s not about me. It never was.”
This is great advice for CEOs. When it comes to executive visibility, it’s not about them. It’s about the companies they lead and the brands they represent.
When CEOs (and other executives) communicate – when they tell stories about what’s going on at their companies, in their industries, or with their people – they shape their organization’s reputation.
And what they say, how and where they say it, and who they say it to deeply influences the reputation of their organizations. The USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations 2023 Global Communications Report makes this case in clear detail.
In the study, 62% of consumers, 74% of employees and a staggering 93% of investors said a company’s reputation is very important to them when considering whether to buy from, work for, or invest in that company.
Those are numbers even the most unassuming CEO can understand. Perhaps even the leader who wanted his company to be like a train passing in the night.
About Alpha Advisory Group: The Alpha Companies, including Alpha Advisory Group and Alpha IR Group, bring deep sector expertise and senior-driven programs focused on clients’ most critical stakeholders. The firm’s work includes strategic investor relations consulting, corporate reputation advisory, stakeholder communications research, as well as transactions and special situations counsel. Alpha is the right choice to manage clients’ reputations, credibility, and ultimately, their corporate brand. The Alpha Companies are headquartered in Chicago, with offices in New York, Boston, and Dallas. The Alpha Companies serve clients across all industries and through multiple inflection points in the business cycle. Additional information about Alpha IR and Alpha Advisory can be found at www.alphaadvgroup.com.
📸: courtesy of the Ted Lasso Community on Twitter (@tedcommunity). May be subject to copyright.