Why you should consider putting your CEO in the spotlight
Expert positioning increases company visibility and builds clout for your brand
When the C-Suite thinks of marketing, the focus is often on the visible efforts that convert directly to sales. This includes visual brand strategy, social media presence, traditional and digital advertising, SEO and media relations. Each of these are an important piece of the marketing puzzle to build awareness and drive revenue. But often left off the list, or perhaps included as a secondary measure, is a strategy that public relations professionals call “expert positioning.”
Expert positioning is a facet of an overall PR strategy that builds visibility, credibility and recognition for the leadership of a company or organization. In other words, putting the CEO in the spotlight not only adds a voice to the company, but it gives a voice to the industry and earns them an authority position as a go-to expert in their field.
As a company or organization grows, it becomes increasingly important, if not expected, for the CEO or executive director to be visible as the face of the brand. Expert positioning gives an organization’s executives the microphone (literally and figuratively) to provide commentary, perspective and thought leadership on national trends and to seek recognition for their accomplishments as a leader at their company and in their industry.
To provide a current real-world example, Robin Hayes, the CEO of JetBlue, recently appeared on CBS This Morning to share insights on how the airline is reacting to COVID-19. Additionally, he provided commentary on the safety of flying and on the preparedness of the airline industry to handle passenger health and wellness. His presence and voice on national television served to restore confidence in JetBlue and encourage people to continue to fly despite health concerns. During the interview, his speaking points were geared towards sharing vision and expertise, as opposed to directly encouraging sales.
Beyond the circumstance of an international health crisis, expert positioning is a valuable tool in the marketing arsenal. In addition to spokesperson appearances, there are several other tactics that can be used as part of an overall expert positioning strategy for a CEO or an organization’s subject matter experts. For CEOs and executive leadership who are interested in building an strategy to share their knowledge and position themselves as thought leaders, here are just three tactics we recommend.
An organization’s CEO is an expert in their field. Writing and publishing articles is a fantastic way to build recognition for their leadership and to share their voice and vision. Byline articles can cover a wide range of topics, be specific to an industry and be written for both trade publications and more mainstream media publications.
Contributed articles typically include a short bio of the author and a link to their corporate website which creates great backlinks, searchability and builds clout for corporate leadership.
Award opportunities exist in every industry, on both local and national levels. Create a list of each opportunity that applies, as well as those that might be a stretch, and submit for any and all awards, year after year, until you take home the coveted hardware. It often takes several submissions to garner a win, so this strategy is certainly a long game but serves to build clout and recognition where deserved.
Grab the Mic
Speaking opportunities are another great way to get C-level executives and directors into the spotlight. Along with awards, the potential to garner speaking gigs are endless but require diligent, ongoing outreach over the course of months and years to secure. Once secured, speaking opportunities are a fantastic way to share the expertise of leadership, position them as leaders in their fields and, again, build cloud and increase searchability.
As a combined effort, these strategies work to showcase the expertise and thought leadership of executives. Expert positioning builds clout for brands, creates media opportunities and helps increase visibility for organizations on a holistic level. Further, expert positioning helps to humanize brands by sharing the voice of the leader behind the company, which in turn helps build alignment and brand loyalty. Or in the case of JetBlue, it serves to keep a few more passengers in their seats.
Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations, which supports purpose-driven organizations and leaders by sharing their stories and expertise to increase visibility, build trust and help them become a sought-after, celebrated and respected authority in their field.