ceo public relations
ceo public relations

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.

Leadership

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.

Strategy

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.

Launch

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.

Advocacy

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.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.