[Webinar] Supercharge Your CEO Comms With ESG

Communicators: Supercharge Your CEO Comms With ESG

What’s become increasingly clear over the last couple of years is that corporate reputation is a substantial value driver for all types of organizations. A 2021 report by ReputationDividend showed that for listed companies the “Reputation Contribution”, which is the proportion of a company’s market capitalization due to its reputation, can be anything up to 56%.

But it’s not only about financial markets – the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer says that about 60% of consumers make buying decisions based on beliefs and values, therefore, directly connecting reputation with business performance.

That’s why many C-suites, boardrooms, and stakeholders choose a strategic approach to their reputation as well as its driving forces – and one of these driving forces is ESG. That’s why it comes as no surprise, that the use of ESG themes within communications has grown eightfold within just a few years.

Reputation Society: The Role of the CEO

A Weber Shandwick survey of 1,700 executives from 19 countries explored this issue and found that half of all executives believe that a CEO’s media presence directly influences a company’s reputation. The 2022 edition of pressrelations‘ CEO Barometer – the study examines the media performance of CEOs across all media channels – confirms that CEOs are indeed essential for brand reputation.

CEO media profiles account for 58% of corporate reputation and act as direct contributors to organizations’ market valuation. This is one of the reasons why 81% of executives feel it is important for CEOs to embrace their role as Communicators-in-Chief.

When it comes to top performers, in 2021, tech CEOs represented seven of the top 10 CEOs in terms of overall media visibility. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg accounted for more than 60% of the entire media presence of all analyzed CEOs.

Top CEOs in Terms of Media Visibility

Since 2018, the use of ESG – the acronym for Environmental, Social, and Governance – has grown and is now the dominant sustainability and ethics media theme.

During this time, media coverage of ESG grew by more than 800%, generating nearly 80,000 article mentions in 2021 in the United States alone.

According to Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of investment management corporation BlackRock, “a company’s ability to manage environmental, social, and governance matters demonstrates the leadership and good governance that is so essential to sustainable growth, which is why we are increasingly integrating these issues into our investment process”.

ESG – The Primary Driver of Media Reputation

When it comes to CEOs as Communicators-in-Chief, we need to introduce the concept of Voice Ownership – a metric used by media analysis companies to determine to what extent a CEO – or any other spokesperson – is steering the media discourse.

Voice Ownership measures the ratio of Active Voice and Passive Voice to show which CEOs actively engage with journalists and produce quotable content, as opposed to just being passively mentioned, for example, in articles, and on social media.

CEO Voice Ownership – Shares of Active Media Presence

Plotlights - CEO Voice Ownership

One of the key insights of the 2022 CEO Barometer is that corporate scale does not automatically translate into ESG leadership as the below chart demonstrates:

Organizational Scale Doesn’t Auto-Translate ESG Leadership

And here are the six key takeaways from our webinar:

  • Reputation = Valuation – Corporate reputation strongly impacts the organization’s market valuation
  • CEOs Are “Communicators-in-Chief” – A CEO is an essential reputation driver that must operate as a “Communicator-in-Chief”
  • ESG Is the New Normal – ESG is the new normal and is here to stay 
  • CEOs Must Engage on Societal Topics – CEOs are increasingly expected to take a stance on crucial social and ecological topics
  • Essential Tool – “CEO Voice Ownership” – CEOs should actively steer media discourse
  • Social Media Is a Missed Opportunity – Social media is a powerful vehicle for directly connecting with key stakeholders

[Webinar Key Findings] Supercharge Your CEO Comms With ESG


This is only an extract from the recent Plotlights webinar by Falk Rehkopf (CEO, Plotlights) and Eric Ziller (COO, pressrelations). You can download the full presentation and view the recording of the webinar here.

Plotlights wholeheartedly thanks our guest Eric Ziller for the interesting conversation. You can connect with Eric via LinkedIn or Twitter.

About pressrelations

pressrelations is a leading media intelligence firm delivering insightful solutions to storytelling experts. We deliver an effective value-add to professional communicators and measurement practitioners across the globe through our proprietary, AI-driven technology and the vast expertise of our team of media analysts. pressrelations operates out of offices in Austin, Dublin, Berlin, Zurich, Sofia, and other cities worldwide. You can engage with pressrelations either on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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