Corporate profiling is a classic PR technique to help elevate or build the reputation of the C-suite by raising their profile in owned, earned and social media. A company can use corporate profiling to build its own reputation, explain its competencies to stakeholders, set out its vision and demonstrate its performance to date.
Corporate profiling is a tried and tested component of corporate PR but has undergone an update for the digital age. There is an old truism that “people buy people” and, thanks to the internet, it has never been truer. Stakeholders in all their shapes and forms want to hear from people, not faceless corporate entities. People trust people and in building trust the true power of an organisation’s influence can be brought to bear.
Clients want to understand who’s behind the corporate logo and corporate profiling can help them to do just that. By highlighting the experience, expertise, achievements and aspirations of key C-suite personnel in an engaging and authoritative way corporate profiling elevates the corporate reputation. It reduces uncertainty, encourages engagement and shows stakeholders why they should choose your organization over the competition.
Involving the C-suite in corporate profiling has multiple advantages. It allows the corporate narrative to be endorsed and amplified, it gives the corporate story a human face and it provides an opportunity for stakeholders to connect with corporate leadership on a more personal level. Digital corporate profiling also ensures that your corporate story is seen, heard and shared in corporate, trade and consumer media outlets, in addition to across all social media channels.
When it comes to corporate profiling, engaging digital content is key. Visuals such as corporate portraits and interview videos help to bring the corporate story to life while infographics can be used to showcase the corporate vision or explain corporate capabilities. Corporate profiling needs to be managed properly to ensure that corporate objectives are met and corporate values upheld. It can also be used to raise the profiles of corporate spokespeople, helping them become known within their sector or among potential investors.
Why CEO profiling matters – connected leadership and corporate profiling
Connected leadership is important because in the modern age, business leaders need to be seen to be communicating from the very frontline, by tackling crises, outlining opportunities, connecting with the workforce, and helping articulate a company’s vision. This often has to happen in real time, via media relations or published on owned content such as blogs and company websites.
We live in an age of values-led communication, where purpose and ESG and are not just central to PR and communications but are driving bottom line performance and shareholder value. How companies treat their customers, employees, the environment, and their supply chain matter, and how these values and their purpose is communicated is integral to success and survival.
These messages need to be communicated at pace. Failure to communicate is not an option.
We’ve written a helpful blog post on the subject of connected leadership here.
Corporate profiling messaging and planning
Before undertaking a corporate profiling campaign, it is important to meticulously plan out the opportunities and risks of communicating. Research is needed, using search and social listening techniques. This needs to be coupled with the general news and industry awareness of professional communication professionals and the management team itself.
To be fully prepared to tackle often vast and dynamic subjects, messaging workshops can be used as one way to prepare a communications plan. Subjects can be tested internally before being taken public.
Media training is also an important part of preparing a corporate profiling campaign. CEOs are often expert communicators, but it is important to test even the best interviewees to see how they handle the toughest of media curveballs. No one want to be thrown into the lion’s den without preparation; even the hardest nosed CEO will benefit from media training.
Media training also a good opportunity to test and refine your messages for the market and also identify any possible curveballs that a well-trained journalist could throw back in your direction.
Corporate profiling and brilliant basics
There are also a number of brilliant basics that need to be put in place when undertaking corporate profiling. It’s important to build biography documents, great profile photography, and to identify niche media titles and journalists who would be the perfect target for any corporate profiling campaign. Communications professionals need to audit the spokesperson’s social media presence, help build up an audience on social media, and offer any social media training if needed. Social media assets need to be created such as graphic tiles and video content.
Once corporate profiling is underway, it’s important to create consistent messaging that reflects the corporate values and reputation. A corporate profile should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it remains up-to-date, relevant and engaging. Communications professionals need to remain mindful of any risks associated with corporate profiling and implement strategies for monitoring and responding to public sentiment.
To ensure corporate profiling is effective and successful, it’s important to have dedicated resources allocated to managing the corporate profile. This could involve putting together a team of professionals with expertise in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. Corporate profiling should be seen as an ongoing process that requires time, effort and investment for it to be successful. It requires constant maintenance in order to keep corporate reputation and presence growing. When done correctly, corporate profiling can be an incredibly powerful tool for companies to build their brand and influence.
CEO profiling and social media
It is now expected that a CEO will have a good profile on social media and will not just broadcast their messages but will engage and listen with stakeholders. The very best communicators online are not just posting their wisdom but are often prepared to get into the weeds of comment threads and respond and interact with other stakeholders. With this level of engagement comes risk, but a well-prepared communicator will be able to handle these challenges with aplomb.
It is also important to know when not to wade into a debate, and how to identify trolls and others with entrenched views. Sometimes, it is wise just not to engage. This nuance is a key skill that a good PR agency or corporate communications team can help nurture.
It is increasingly important for CEOs to develop corporate profiles on social media in order to engage with stakeholders and build relationships. However, it is not just about broadcasting messages – an effective CEO should also be prepared to get into the weeds of comment threads and respond to other stakeholders. This level of engagement comes with risks, but a well-prepared corporate communicator should be able to manage these challenges.
It is also important for corporate leaders to know when it is appropriate to weigh in on a debate, and how to identify trolls or other malicious actors online. The most effective corporate profiles will have an active presence on social media outlets such as LinkedIn. CEOs who are prepared to engage with stakeholders in a meaningful way will be more successful in creating and maintaining corporate relationships online.
Corporate leaders should make sure to develop an effective corporate profile on social media and be prepared to engage with stakeholders in a meaningful way. Careful consideration must also be taken when engaging online, as trolling or other malicious behaviour can have serious consequences for corporate relationships
Our five-step process for pitch perfect CEO profiling
PR Agency One’s corporate PR unit is a crack team of time served PR and communication professionals. In order to maintain our high standards, the organisation has created a five-stage process to allow us to train staff, onboard clients and deliver corporate profiling campaigns of the very highest calibre:
- Planning – planning out messaging, to be researched and tested in the market ahead of being presented to the C-suite, as a suggested strategy.
- Research – once the C-suite is onboard with our proposals, further research with search and social listening is needed to tap into the latest thinking and narratives on subjects. This is an ongoing process that must be performed daily.
- Training – once the planning and research stage is complete and a plan is in place for corporate profiling, media training and social media training is needed to allow the C-suite to engage in the lowest risk environment possible.
- Delivery – once all stakeholders are prepared and trained, the communications team and any agencies can kick into gear to secure earned media coverage. Social media posts can be developed for approval and any additional content can be published on blogs and other owned media.
- Measurement – the creation of a measurement dashboard is needed to track impact on reputation and the performance of the campaign in real time. We have a suite of products that are available here.
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