We often hear talk about this topic: many companies, particularly larger corporations, seem to have trouble connecting with their target audience. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, but one recurring theme remains. In many industries, there is a large disconnect and gap between the senior executives and the end consumer.

While this may not seem like the end of the world — after all, the company isn’t selling or promoting its executive team — this perception can still have a bearing effect on the reputation of the company among consumers.

Consider this. The CEO of a pharmaceutical company has been embroiled in controversy over recent litigation surrounding the promotion of opioids to doctors. The CEO repeatedly goes on public record to renounce the shady practices of alleged bribery by representatives that push doctors to prescribe medications and painkillers that can be highly addictive.

However, while the CEO is on the podium committing to stopping these practices, the pharmaceutical reps on the ground continue to act in the exact opposite manner. They do whatever it takes to make the sale, even at the risk of the health of thousands of patients.

This conflicting behavior, unfortunately, reflects the most on the executives of the company. The fact that the CEO either refuses to acknowledge or does not know about the alleged malpractice shows a distinct lack of touch and connection to the issue. In turn, this causes consumers to lose trust in the company — an uphill battle to begin with for big corporations in industries such as big pharma.

See also  Top Social Media Marketing Tools

So how could the executive team have handled the issue better?

First, taking proper ownership of an issue can go a long way to restoring damaged trust. Humility is a personality trait sadly lacking among the executive ranks. Rather, it seems to more often be focused on appearances, public relations, and avoidance of “trouble”.

In order to bridge this gap, an executive must exhibit genuine humility. Of course, in the landscape we exemplify here, there are many factors that play into how an executive team handles an issue. However, at its core, a display of humility and ownership of fault or wrongdoing is not outside of the realm of reason.

Using the example of the pharmaceutical corporation, of course, many other layers to the debate exist. However, the conduct of the executive team reflects on the overall image of the brand. This image is monitored by the public, who already have a sense of mistrust in large companies.

At any rate, executives or owners of any business of any size should make efforts to bridge that gap. Many consumers have a mistrust of those in higher positions due to previous experience with ingenuine interactions. A transparent, authentic leader will forge an easier connection with the end consumer, easing the tension and mistrust and leading to a more profitable relationship on both ends of the spectrum.


Previous articleMarketing Ideas: ‘New’ Product Marketing?
Next articleEncouraging Creativity Among Marketing Employees
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.