September 7 2023
In the world of public relations and communications, having a seat at the table is essential, but who occupies that seat is equally critical. The active involvement of executive leaders and their understanding of the role of communication can significantly impact an organization’s brand reputation and success. By embracing storytelling, empowering executives, and implementing consistent messaging, organizations can bridge the gap between leadership and communication, ultimately achieving a cocktail of results that drive success.
The face of the brand plays a significant role in gaining trust from consumers. Mostly, the face is that of the people at the top of the organization. A brand is the expectation of an experience. If you have an expectation and it is not fulfilled, you lose trust.
As a PR practitioner, I have noticed a challenge among executives. Many of them do not feel safe playing the role of carrying the brand or carrying the voice of the brand.
This is somewhat challenging on our part because we need the people to create a relationship with the executives. For this to be done, we need to ensure that the executives are not nervous and are comfortable speaking.
As I discussed on this week’s episode of PRGN Presents, executives need to understand that their involvement and their role in communication is crucial for the overall success and effectiveness of an organization. When executives actively engage in and comprehend the significance of effective communication, several important benefits can be realized such as alignment of objectives. This helps executives ensure that their communication aligns with the organization’s goals and strategic objectives.
Clear communication vision is another benefit realized.
Executives are responsible for setting the organization’s vision and mission. When they are involved in communication, they can clearly articulate these visions to employees, stakeholders and customers, fostering a sense of purpose and direction.
Executives who comprehend communication are able to ensure that their messages are consistent across all channels and departments. This consistency strengthens credibility and eliminates confusion among employees and other stakeholders.
Effective decision-making is another benefit of being involved and communicating to stakeholders. Executives rely on data to make informed choices. When individuals are involved in communication processes, they have access to accurate and timely information, allowing them to make more effective and strategic decisions.
And finally, employee engagement: Executives who communicate effectively can develop a deeper rapport with their employees. Engaged employees are more likely to be motivated, productive, and loyal, leading to greater levels of job satisfaction and reduced turnover rates.
It can be quite difficult to get in the room with executive leaders and get into their level of interest, but there’s always a solution for every situation.
Executives experience vulnerability and insecurity just like any other individual. Many of them avoid public interaction out of fear of being asked an inconvenient question or something about their personal lives. This is where we come in and reassure them that they have a safe outlet for expression. When working with executives, it is important to guide them to understand the role they play and how they represent the brand.
For the most part, we all expect the brands we interact with to deliver on its stated promise. The only distinction is that the context may vary greatly. Political context, economic context, and social context are all possible. All leaders have the same goal, which is to fully satisfy their stakeholders. This, however, is done differently around the world.
African leaders tend to be storytellers because, in the majority of African communities, we grew up hearing these fascinating tales, which were used to teach us certain life lessons.
African executives use a storytelling approach to leadership. They view the world from a point of view of storytelling but also from a point of empowerment, with the starting place being to build people and capabilities from the ground up. Leaders from other parts of the world are extremely focused on learning about what is going on around the new geographies they are going into, and bringing in perspective of results. The leadership focus of an African leader and a leader from other parts of the world is slightly different in terms of approach. One is empowered and focused with a lot of storytelling, and the other tends to have very specific targets in terms of their interaction. However, the combination of these different leadership styles can lead to remarkable achievements.
An organization should have a unified message, and the best way to do so is through a concept I like to call messaging architecture. This is a three-pillar framework that ensures a consistent message is delivered at every level. This approach tackles the challenge of having multiple versions of the organization’s mission and values:
Strong communication skills enable executives to interact with stakeholders such as customers, investors, partners, and regulators in a more productive manner. This improves the organization’s relationships and reputation. A business with communicative leaders can distinguish itself in the market. A customer’s decisions can be influenced by clear, persuasive communication, resulting in increased business.
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