Jul 21, 2022 - Economy

Why every CEO needs to be a communicator

Illustration of a nameplate with quotation marks in place of the name

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sharp, persuasive communications has raced to the C-suite's inner sanctum as a vital ingredient in attracting and retaining investors, customers and employees.

Why it matters: CEOs now have to respond not only to their own fires but also societal, global and national crises — all in real time. Just ask leaders at Abbott, Disney and Delta Air Lines.

What's happening: As part of a generational change that has left many corporations on the defensive, CEOs are being pressured by younger workers and potential recruits — plus some shareholders and customers — to take stands on issues they normally would avoid, Axios has reported.

  • This includes such divisive issues as voting rights, abortion access, guns, climate and LGBTQ rights.

State of play: 73% of chief communication officers told Edelman in 2021 that social issues have changed their communications agenda.

Between the lines: Speaking out pays off.

  • 80% of investors in an FTI Consulting study said the crises and chaos of 2020 and 2021 brought out the best in CEOs.
  • "The actions business leaders took to address specific societal issues ... won them greater favor than less," the study said.

The bottom line: No one can hide or dodge in a world in which every customer, employee and investor — current and future — is constantly connected.

  • And Axios Communicators is here to help. Sign up.
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