NEW YORK, February 12—Building on its groundbreaking research into the role of the CEO in corporate reputation, Burson-Marsteller has introduced a new product called CEO Navigator, which provides a formal approach to building CEO reputation. The Navigator combines diagnostic and prescriptive techniques and methodologies to obtain the greatest return on time invested by the CEO in building his or her corporation’s reputation.
According to the firm’s Building CEO Capital study, conducted under the leadership of chief knowledge and research officer Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross, nearly half (48 percent) of a corporation’s reputation is dependent upon the reputation of its CEO. The survey also indicated that CEOs have little time to earn credibility or to have meaningful impact on stock price.
Given the compressed timetable for CEOs to succeed, the goal of CEO Navigator is to provide them with a compass pointing their communications activities toward those dimensions that will have the greatest immediate payoff.
“Creating a return on reputation should be a priority on every CEO’s agenda, yet it is often overshadowed by the daily pressures of running a company and answering to constituencies, putting CEOs in a defensive position,” says Judi Frost Mackey, chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. corporate and financial practice. “Through our research-based approach, we can assist corporate leaders in navigating their communications challenges and in prioritizing activities that target all critical stakeholders.”
CEO Navigator helps identify the ten critical communications dimensions that offer the greatest return on reputation. The process begins by determining where the CEO currently stands in the minds of stakeholders, according to proprietary research. The agency then identifies the areas that not only represent the greatest areas for improvement but also can be influenced in the timeframe required. The output is a set of priorities that guide the CEO to best leverage his or her time to generate the reputation capital that is essential to the corporation’s success.
“The CEO is under an unprecedented amount of pressure, with equally high expectations of transparency,” says Gaines-Ross. “By prioritizing what were once considered intangibles, such as ethical conduct and communicating a vision inside the company, CEOs can make a huge impact that satisfies the intensive scrutiny by all audiences, from Wall Street to customers to employees. These formerly considered intangibles have become the new tangibles that bring the best return on reputation.”