The imperative to “engage” has taken over how we think about brands. What does that mean for CEOs?

The answer is in The CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Era, a research report by Weber Shandwick.

The report is full of insights and in-depth information, and in this post we’re going to take a look at some of the key takeaways.

How Much Does CEO Reputation Matter?

The answer to that question is: a lot. Our research shows that CEO reputation is actually one of a company’s most valuable and competitive assets.

On average, global executives in our survey attribute nearly half (45 percent) of their company’s reputation to their CEO’s reputation. And this link is not expected to fade. In fact, half of executives (50 percent) expect that CEO reputation will matter more to company reputation in the next few years.

CEO reputation matters to the bottom line, too. Executives estimate that 44 percent of their company’s market value is attributable to the reputation of their CEO.

Clearly, leadership is a resource worth cultivating.

How Does CEO Reputation Benefit Brands?

The benefits of cultivating a highly regarded CEO reputation, in addition to enhancing market value, are plenty. Many executives reported that CEO reputation attracts employees (77 percent) and retains them (70 percent). A number of other benefits were cited as well, including attracting investors (87 percent), positive media attention (83 percent) and crisis protection (83 percent).

What Drives a Strong CEO Reputation?

You’d expect there to be a correlation between a leader’s possession of certain attributes and how that leader is regarded by others. Our research makes that correlation crystal clear.

Compared to lesser regarded CEOs, highly regarded CEOs were much more likely to be seen by fellow executives as having a clear vision for the company, inspiring and motivating others, being honest and ethical, communicating well internally and externally, and caring that the company is a good place to work. Highly regarded CEOs were also described as having a global business outlook and being decisive and customer-focused.

CEO Reputation and Company Reputation

Company reputations are shaped by a variety of factors, with leadership reputation ranking among the top five, according to executives (49 percent). The most important factors? Quality of products and services (66 percent), followed by financial performance (57 percent).

The graphic below breaks down the importance of different factors in corporate reputation by industry.


Again, there’s a lot more in the full report. Check it out for deeper insights into how to manage and master CEO reputation in the engagement era.

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