Many PR teams and agencies tend to urge high-ranking members of a company to build their own social media profiles and share content on those platforms, however, there are certain times during a company’s lifetime when the CEO should actually become the spokesperson for the public.
However, plenty of CEOs don’t really prioritize contributing to public conversations that don’t have an impact on the company’s business goals. One of the main communications goals for these companies is to sell their products or services.
This means that plenty of CEOs avoid discussions about social issues, and when they actually talk about them, the topics tend to center around diversity, inclusion, healthcare, or data privacy.
Although the progress has been slow, an increasing number of CEOs understand how valuable original content and social media have become in the marketing and PR landscape. On the other hand, there are some CEOs that have mastered PR, such as Elon Musk, who is often seen as the main spokesperson for his company and its reputation.
Additionally, plenty of executives don’t really embrace the spokesperson role because they don’t have the time or the interest to engage with the media – whether that’s because they are wary of the risks, or don’t trust the press.
Nevertheless, there are certain situations where the CEO best serves as the brand’s spokesperson, as it’s a great way to support the company’s goals or lead through difficult times.
Whenever a company is going through a PR crisis, the executive should become the brand’s spokesperson, especially if they are knowledgeable about PR.
This person doesn’t have to talk directly to the media or the press and stick to using social media platforms. It’s still a lot better when an executive issues a quick response and takes control of a situation.
Fortunately, PR is not all about crisis management, and whenever a company decides to take a new direction or change its corporate strategy, that announcement is best made by the CEO.
The CEO can generate a lot more attention from the media outlets and demonstrate a lot more authority to the public compared to anyone else in the company.
Another key moment when the CEO should be in the spotlight is whenever the brand decides to launch a major new product or service – which tends to happen during events that are geared towards the public.
Whenever a CEO gets involved in these situations, it shows that the company is serious about its priorities and that the company will be sticking around in the eyes of the public.
Certainly, there are some risks that come with advocacy, however, this is an area where a company’s goals and social values can be closely aligned. During times when legislation or regulators are threatening an industry, the CEO is the best advocate for their company and the industry at large.
Taking a clear position on a certain issue, and clearly articulating the key messages really helps advance a brand’s point of view, and offers a lot of support to employees, customers, and other allies during those times.