Corporate benefits of the digitally-engaged CEO - Business Works
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Corporate benefits of the digitally-engaged CEO

Shawn Cabral, Marketing Director, Sitecore UK Customer, employee and stakeholder interactions with an organisation’s leader are recognised as highly important in effective business management. For some organisations, these interactions are central to the role of their leaders and seen to impart a wide range of benefits. These benefits include increasing employees’ sense of ownership and commitment to their role, and setting out the goals/aims of the organisation towards providing high-quality service to customers.

FTSE 350 companies with CEOs who employ the ‘Personal Touch’, a digitally connected leadership style, generate better commercial performance overall according to a new study commissioned by Sitecore. The research reveals that just seven per cent of leaders are engaging with their stakeholders and consumers in a two-way dialogue using digital channels, dubbed as the ‘Personal Touch’, with the vast majority missing out on a wealth of tangible commercial gains.

The research indicates that ‘Personal Touch’ firms recorded a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27% between 2009-12, increasing to 30% between 2010-12. This compares to a rate of just 9% between 2009-12 and 13% between 2010-12 from the next best performing group.

Additionally, trends in the turnover and profit growth since 2009-10 of ‘Personal Touch’ firms indicate that they are more likely to continue on a positive trajectory and perform better than the wider market in the future. Firms employing the ‘Personal Touch’ also benefit from an increase in online traffic with half (50%) having around 150 authors writing about them on the internet, compared with 33% of corporate companies.

One-way, two-way or corporate?

The study also reveals that nearly a fifth (17.6%) of leaders employ a one-way leadership approach, meaning they focus on broadcasting information via digital channels but failing to engage consumers in a two-way dialogue. Almost two thirds (63%) of the businesses researched adopt a ‘corporate’ approach to their digital communications, with a particular department within the company delivering PR and / or marketing activities, but with the absence of their leader. Shockingly, more than one in ten (12.6%) of the companies researched have no digital interaction or engagement with the public whatsoever.

The top eight performing firms in terms of their two-way engagement with consumers are:

  1. Tesco
  2. Burberry Group
  3. Carnival Plc
  4. Barclays
  5. BP
  6. JD Wetherspoon
  7. Dixons Retail
  8. easyJet Airline Company

The CEOs of Tesco, Burberry Group and Carnival Plc are also highlighted as ‘Super Personal Touch’ leaders who are personally active on more than one digital communication channel.

"There are clearly some very important lessons to be learned from the ‘Personal Touch’ research and the growing adoption of this digitally connected leadership style," comments Shawn Cabral, Marketing Director Sitecore. "In the ever-changing digital landscape where the number of social media users is continuing to grow, the majority of CEOs are missing out on an opportunity to interact effectively with their consumers and boost the commercial growth of their firm as a result."

"The ability to make the interactions between an organisation and its customers more relevant and engaging shouldn’t be the bastion of the forward thinking CEOs. The delivery of a ‘Personal Touch’ through all available digital channels, such as the web, mobile, social and e-mail, is where the most significant gains can be made. Today, technology that enables CEOs, or organisations, to do this two-way interaction exists; what needs to change is the mind-set."

To view more details about the ‘Personal Touch’ research including a full whitepaper and video, please visit:

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