In this increasingly connected and competitive world, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your business is if nobody knows about it. The good news is that if you know your industry as well as you ought to, the perfect ambassadors for your brand are already well within reach: you and your team. Of course, the notion that executive visibility should be a priority for businesses has been around for a while, it’s simply become a hot topic recently – I even spoke about it at the OI conference back in March. But that doesn’t make you feel better when you know you could be doing better.

Don’t worry though, it’s not just you. The constantly shifting waters of this treacherous landscape make it a hard path to navigate. If you try to stick to tested methods and don’t roll with the times, you’re more likely to sink than swim. Here’s why you’re struggling with executive visibility and how you can steer yourself towards success.

You’re looking in the wrong places

Research by global PR firm Burson-Marsteller revealed that business leaders are struggling with executive visibility because they’re looking in the wrong places. In fact, one in four stated they only “kind of understand” the executive platforms available to them, and it’s not hard to see why. While events, awards and rankings, and digital platforms like LinkedIn are all considered to be essential to success, the sheer array of options is so dazzling, it’s blinding executives from making the right strategic decisions and choosing where to invest their time and money.

Look at LinkedIn, for example. The world’s largest professional network didn’t exist back in Y2K, but now has amassed 500 million members, spread across 200 countries, and it’s last annual Talent Connect event saw reps from over 14,000 brands in attendance.

The aforementioned research revealed that decision-makers and communicators understand the importance of gaining visibility on platforms like LinkedIn and recognise the opportunities they afford; however, at present they do not feel sufficiently informed to make those goals a reality.

Time to get strategic

If you’re one of those business leaders who doesn’t have much of a clue about which are the right platforms to focus on, you need to make a plan. Burson-Marsteller suggests conducting a thorough audit of the landscape to suss out the opportunities and challenges – whatever you do, don’t go charging in with no strategy to guide your way or simply rely on word-of-mouth recommendations (like 58% of executives do). Leaping in without a plan could leave you drowning out there. The savviest businesses align their thought leadership strategy with their business priorities – you need to customise your approach to suit your goals.

Priorities are changing

In order to win at executive visibility, you need to be constantly looking ahead – I may have mentioned this is a fast-paced world. The research revealed that the real MVPs (in this case, Most Valuable Platforms) of the future are shaping up to be different from those of today. While the present is concerned with CEO summits and councils, priorities are shifting towards technology, women’s and ideas-focused conferences. Additionally, opportunities related to diversity, innovation and sustainability are likely to move into the spotlight too, an area previously dominated by concerns such as CEO awards and rankings.

Don’t be shy

If you thought it was best to keep your social media profiles harder to get into than Fort Knox, or even worse, do away with them altogether, you’re in good (though very misguided) company. Nearly two-thirds of in-house marketing teams reported their CEO had no ‘functioning social media profile’, according to a 2017 survey by London PR firm Cognito.

While social media management can be daunting and time-consuming, business leaders that boost their online profile are not just establishing executive visibility and gaining recognition as a thought leader in their industry, they are boosting the visibility of their business on the way.

Our white paper, ‘How can business leaders build their personal online brand – and why should they bother?’ offers an indepth look at what’s holding leaders back from nailing that all-important online presence and, most importantly, offers actionable tips on how to do it.

Of course, if your precious time is fully booked up with running your business, why not just turn to us to help?

Ben Hollom

July 20, 2018